Finding a passion of growth in two careers


Julie Martin, real estate agent and business owner of Julie Martin Designs.

What do we want to be when we grow up? Are we really expected to know what our passion for work will be at this early of an age? It is usually by trial and error do we find the work which truly fulfills our heart. Small town Monroe County native, Julie Martin, is doing just that by connecting her passion with the housing market. Julie states, “I believe everything happens for a reason, I would not be where I am now without the trials I have experienced.”

Julie Martin is a graduate of Madison C-3 High School, of Madison, who owns and operates Julie Martin Designs, along with working as a real estate agent and broker. Julie has found a way to connect her business with the housing market, using her gift of transformation for buyers to see a vision and sellers to prepare their home for viewing. “I plan to continue to paint and transform clients’ homes,” as she shared her passion to help others in her business.

“I started painting for one of my mentors. I was hired to paint one of his rental properties,” Julie shared of her experience learning from mentor Dennis Jordan, of Columbia. She stated, “Our professional relationship grew into constant referrals.”


Julie Martin paints a beam during a project; Julie’s business grew from constant referrals.

In 2013, Julie retired her full-time job as a Medical Specialist at the Missouri Heart Center to pursue her dream of business ownership. She soon obtained her Real Estate license, working under Jordan, to build her skills as a real estate agent. Today, Julie and her oldest son, Christion Hulen, work together as “The Complete Team”, selling and transforming homes. “This approach brings a fresh experience to the home selling and buying market,” Julie stated.

Currently, Julie Martin Designs provides interior, exterior and custom painting, staining, cabinetry refinishing, floor and tile installation, counter tops, lighting and everything in between. Julie shared, “Hands down my favorite part of this job is seeing the transformation.” The business currently employs four employees, along with numerous sub-contractors.


Julie is not shy when it comes to hard work. Whether seen in a business suit to show a home or dressed to construct and paint a client’s property, she shares her passion and dedication to give her best. Besides, obtaining her real estate license, Julie has also educated herself by taking classes for painting through Schluter Systems and admits her best learning experience, stating, “I learned to paint only by trial and error. I learned the flooring skills from a few of my favorite contractors in Columbia. The detail I have ensures each of the areas of my clients’ needs are getting the best.”

Julie has had to work for what she has, stating, “I have never been afraid of work.” As a single mother, she has learned to balance a schedule, admitting, “Each job has its own individual needs. The hardest part of owning the business is scheduling.”

Julie has a great vision for her business, stating, “I would like to see my business grow enough to be able to spend less time as a hands-on owner. This would give more time off the site to generate jobs for Julie Martin Designs and to grow as a real estate agent.” Julie explained the goal of wanting to establish a consistent income stream to give her employees a solid foundation to depend on. “Growing both businesses are very important to me in the years to come,” she stated.

Julie enjoys all the transformations, but mentions one in particular, which was close to her heart, stating, “I was asked to remodel a client’s kitchen. Her request was to bring the beach to her. It was an honor to transform the room and make this happen. Unfortunately, a few months later she lost her battle to breast cancer.” Another job recently completed by Julie Martin Designs was a new build finishing 20 walnut doors, book shelves, a staircase, a waterfall desk, drop zone tops and a kitchen table with all in a beautiful walnut finish with a lacquer top coat.


Although Julie spends most of her time in the Columbia area, her roots will always be planted in the Monroe County. She has no problem traveling for her business, stating, “I am not afraid to branch out and meet new clients.” Her furthest jobs have included Shreveport, LA, Warrensburg, Lake of the Ozarks, Fulton, Moberly and Williamsburg.

Julie is a mother of three. She has two sons, Christion Hulen, age 26, who is a fire fighter and real estate agent and Nicholas Pudney, age 20, who works as an insurance collision estimator. Her daughter, Hailey Martin, age 8, attends Christian Fellowship School and loves gymnastics. When not working, Julie loves to be at home spending time with her family.


Julie Martin with her children, Christion, Nicholas and Hailey.

Julie does not take credit for her success on her own, sharing, “Hard work and dedication comes with a price. I truly believe my success has only been because of the army of friends and family I have surrounded myself with. I work every day, through the good days and the bad. It has taken heart ache along with celebration to get to where I am today. It has been worth every second. My journey has allowed me to help others on more levels than I ever imagined. That is what it’s all about.”