Julee Ireland estimates that she has worked on more than 1,000 homes in her career. But her first new build in Houston is where she’ll tell you she’s been able to truly let her creativity shine.
The California-based designer, who’s been investing in Houston for years, listed her project at 1030 Voight St. earlier this month for $1.59 million with Julia Wang at NextGen Real Estate. At six beds, five-and-a-half baths, and more than 4,200 square feet all within walking distance to White Oak Bayou, the home checks off all the boxes for those high-end Heights buyers in the market for new construction. But, it’s the attention to detail, splashes of color, and playful use of patterns here that make the modern farmhouse one of a kind.
The large kitchen, which opens up to a living room with 22-foot-tall reclaimed wood cathedral ceilings, is home to a show-stopping black and white marbled waterfall island that stands out against natural cabinets and hand-picked white oak flooring in a dreamy herringbone pattern. “I always build my islands with a wow factor,” Ireland says. “It changes the whole design, really, of the kitchen.”
Lofted above the main living space is a game room—“Also I’m a mom, so I always look from that perspective too,” she says—with a sleek glass wine cellar below the staircase for the adults.
The transitional white oak floors and black accents continue into the main bedroom, with a dark paneled accent wall and metal-framed European-style closet. The main bathroom is lined with black hex tile floors and a geometric backsplash that create a luxe hotel-like vibe.
Ireland even added unexpected touches to more utilitarian spaces in the home: In the pantry, evergreen cabinets against industrial chic metal and wood shelves; for the laundry room, dusty blue storage and mosaic-inspired tile floors.
“You don’t have to do everything white shaker with white quartz countertops,” she says. “I always try to think about how do I want to feel in this space.”
A third-floor main bedroom with a full bath and walk-in closet adds more comfortable sleeping space for in-laws or guests, as does the separate garage apartment in its slightly airier style. Plus, the balcony upstairs provides views of the downtown skyline beyond the nearby White Oak Bayou Greenway Trail.
A shiplap-lined outdoor kitchen with multiple television hookups offers plenty of space for entertaining. “I know in Texas, it’s a must. You have to have an outdoor barbecue,” Ireland says.
The home, with all it’s high-end finishings and stylish selections (currently staged by LuxeDesign Group Staging), has a special meaning for Ireland too. The designer was first introduced to the city by her late husband and native Houstonian, Michael Baker, who passed away last November.
He saw the property on Voight Street as a space for Ireland to show off her distinct creative vision—without client expectations, demands, or limitations. “There were times during Covid, having the weight of this project on my shoulders, it was just hard,” Ireland says. “[Michael] would say, 'There’s going to be a lot of good that’s going to come from it.’ And he was 100-percent right. I was able to be so free with my creativity and take everything that I envisioned and just put it out there.”