Sam sold the property to Jimmy and Barbara Ireland whose family had owned and operated “Gray Tools” out of Houston. They both fell in love with the property and started out by first restoring and expanding on the original cabin, and then building three more units, one of which would serve as Jimmy’s office. They had sold their company to a larger conglomerate, and spent much of their time traveling throughout Europe. The grounds of the “Upper Gardens” reminded them of the English countryside which they loved, and they made the decision to move from their Houston River Oaks home to build their new home in Wimberley. Jimmy was an engineer, and Barbara kept him busy with new ideas as he designed the new home to incorporate the four independent units into the larger main structure.
Adjacent to the home, a greenhouse was built for Barbara to raise orchids. Jimmy took great care in using the natural stone and cedar found in the Wimberley Valley to blend into the hillside along the creek in English Tudor style architecture. The greenhouse was designed after the one at Queen Victoria’s “KewesGardens” using oil industry steel pipes for its frame. The house was built on top of what was the old mill race, but an open section of the race was converted into one of the property’s koi ponds just below the greenhouse.An old mill wheel was located in Geronimo,TX in an attempt to represent the Wimberley mill on the property. When that failed a small stone waterfall was created in its place. The Wimberley stained glass shop was commissioned to do various pieces throughout the home representing different stories of the family history. Jimmy suffered a stroke and died shortly before the house was completed.