Houston Matters

Turning An Oil Tank Into A Home: Galveston’s Kettle House Gets A Facelift For New TV Show

The unusual island landmark is one of several homes overhauled on Ashley and Michael Cordray’s new home renovation show, Big Texas Fix.

Kettle House - Before And After
Galveston’s kettle house before and after its renovation.

A familiar landmark for many Galveston beach goers has gotten a major facelift.

If you’ve ever driven down Galveston Island near Jamaica Beach, you might’ve seen the kettle house — an all-metal structure that looks like, well, a big kettle. It’s round on the bottom with a pointed roof and rusted at every seam.

It was originally built to be a tank for an oil and gas company in the 1960s, but it was never used. So, the welder who made it purchased it and placed it on that spot where he planned to turn it into a convenience store. But that never happened.

Galveston Kettle House Before Renovation
Galveston’s so-called “kettle house” before it was renovated. Originally a tank for the oil and gas industry, the owner had intended to turn in into a convenience store.

Still, it’s unusual nature made it a well-known landmark in the area. In fact, when a Galveston-themed version of Monopoly was made, the kettle house was one of the properties players could buy.

But its days as a rusted-out curiosity are over. It’s being turned into a home by house flippers Michael and Ashley Cordray.

Ashley and Michael Cordray
Galveston home renovators Ashley and Michael Cordray have a new DIY Network series, Big Texas Fix.

They own a real estate company called Save 1900, a reference to the Galveston hurricane and their mission to rehabilitate many of the interesting and historic properties on the island.

And this month they debuted as the stars of a new home makeover show on the DIY Network called Big Texas Fix.

Big Texas Fix - Banner
Michael and Ashley Cordray in a promotional image from their TV series Big Texas Fix.

One of the eight episodes of the show focuses on their makeover of the kettle house, which they’ve adorned with mid-century modern decor and furnishings as an homage to the era from which it came.

Michael grew up on the island and says purchasing the house was a “no-brainer.”

“It’s so island famous there’s no way we couldn’t own it,” he said.

Ashley says people are ardently curious about what’s happening with the property, craning their necks as they drive by — or sometimes walking right in if the door is open. So, they’ve covered the windows to keep people from peering in at all hours.

Kettle House Exterior
The so-called “kettle house” has been a Galveston landmark for years. Originally a tank designed for the oil and gas industry, it sat vacant for many years until local renovators Ashley and Michael Cordray overhauled it for their new TV series, Big Texas Fix. They say they plan to turn it into a unique rental property for beach goers.

The public will get a good look at the interior when the episode featuring the kettle house premieres May 18 (and we can’t publish our photos of the interiors until then).

Instead of flipping the house for a profit, The Cordrays say they plan to turn it into a rental property.

“It’s too cool for one person to enjoy,” Ashley said. “So, we’re going to bring them through.”

The kettle house is certainly the most unique example of the eight structures the pair renovated simultaneously during production of the show.

In the audio above, Houston Matters producer Michael Hagerty meets up with the Cordrays at the kettle house to learn about the renovation and the television series.

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Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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