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Courtney Sloane

Interior designer Courtney Sloane was born on June 1, 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey to John Sloane and Ruth A. Sloane. She graduated from St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1980 and earned her B.S. degree in marketing from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey in 1984. Sloane also took postgraduate classes in metal working at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and in interior design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, New York.

Sloane began her professional career as a retail merchandiser for J.C. Penny. In 1986, she began working as a specification specialist and specification representative at Formica Corporation/Fabricator Supply. She remained at Formica until 1994, during which time she founded Alternative Design in 1991. She served as the company’s creative director, and handled special requests and customized projects. From 1996 to 1999, Sloane served as a contributing editor for Essence magazine and wrote the “By Design” column. During the 2003 season of America’s Next Top Model, she served as a production designer. In 2005, Sloane established Project INSPIRE, a philanthropic program that created internships for high school and college students in the design industry. Sloane then founded Riley Stone, a design import company, in 2011. The following year, she began serving as a marketing manager for RS Furnishings. In addition to her interior design career in the United States, Sloane joined local artists in Costa Rica in 2013 and designed a collection of pottery. In 2015, Sloane opened her own lifestyle retail showroom boutique store, Sloane Square, in Jersey City.

Sloane became known for her design style, and her work for Queen Latifah, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Mary J. Blige, Sony Music Studio, Black Entertainment Television, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Sloane’s work was also featured on the cover of New York Magazine. Sloane was named by New York Magazine as one of its “99 New Yorkers” and “100 Best Architects and Designers.” House Beautiful also named her as one of the country’s “Top 101 Designers” multiple times.

Courtney Sloane was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 14, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.084

Sex

Female

Interview Date

04/14/2017

04/14/2017 |and| 4/9/2019

Last Name

Sloane

Maker Category
Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Rutgers University

Fashion Institute of Technology

Pratt Institute

First Name

Courtney

Birth City, State, Country

Jersey City

HM ID

SLO01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New Jersey

Favorite Vacation Destination

Costa Rica

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New Jersey

Birth Date

6/1/1962

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Newark

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Thai

Short Description

Interior designer Courtney Sloane (1962 - ) was a production designer for America’s Next Top Model and founded Riley Stone and opened Sloan Square, a lifestyle retail showroom in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Employment

Courtney Sloane Design

Sloane Square

Alternative Design

Favorite Color

Blue

Robin Wilson

Robin Wilson is an interior designer acclaimed for creating eco-friendly designs for homes and commercial spaces. Wilson was born September 26, 1969 in Austin, Texas. She is a fourth-generation member of a Texas real-estate family beginning with her great-grandfather who owned several rental properties. As a child she was “pan-allergic” and diagnosed with asthma. To accommodate her allergies, her parents made changes to their lifestyle including switching to organic foods and replacing carpet in the house with hardwood and tile. These steps later influenced her desire to work with eco-friendly materials. In 1987, Wilson graduated from S.F. Austin High School and received her B.A. degree in history and economics from the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, she worked through college as a runway model and her first internship was with the Lower Colorado River Authority focused on energy efficiency.

In 1991, Wilson moved to Boston to work for Mercer Management Consulting in the energy division. In 1993, she changed careers and joined Isaacson Miller as an executive recruiter and a year later was hired at Houghton Mifflin Company as a national recruiter. By 1996, she joined Heidrick & Struggles in their Boston office, and a year later was transferred to their New York office to work for the lead partner in the financial services area, where she worked on CEO and Board level projects. In 1999, the privately-held company conducted an IPO and Wilson received a windfall. She used the money to purchase an apartment, become an entrepreneur and enroll in New York University to earn her M.S. degree in real estate finance. Before receiving her degree, Wilson founded the WSG Consulting firm and began her entrepreneurial role as a project manager for clients in New York – earning the moniker “the busy homeowner’s best friend.” In 2006, she rebranded the firm to the eponymous Robin Wilson Home and the business grew exponentially after being profiled on television and in magazines. Robin Wilson Home is distinguished for its focus on eco-friendly lifestyle, with a combination of design and healthy living. It has expanded to include an online retail store, The Nest Store which sells to consumers. She is the first woman to license her name to eco-friendly kitchen cabinetry, sold by over 500 kitchen dealers nationwide.

Wilson has designed showhouse projects including the Esquire “Ultimate Bachelor Apartment” terrace (2007), the Good Housekeeping “Greenest House in New York” LEED-certified Harlem brownstone (2008) and since 2004, she has worked on renovation projects in the Harlem office of former President Bill Clinton. In 2008, she was selected to become part of a “green dream team” who worked on the private residence of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. In 2010, she completed her first book, Kennedy Green House which details the project.

Robin Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 26, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.005

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

4/26/2010

Last Name

Wilson

Maker Category
Marital Status

Single

Occupation
Schools

Pease Elementary School

O. Henry Middle School

Austin High School

University of Texas at Austin

New York University

St. Martin's Lutheran School

Speakers Bureau

Yes

Archival Photo 2
Speakers Bureau Availability

Depends on Schedule

First Name

Robin

Birth City, State, Country

Austin

HM ID

WIL50

Speakers Bureau Preferred Audience

Youth, Teens, Business, Adults

Speakers Bureau Honorarium

Yes - $3,000-$5,000

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Australia

Favorite Quote

What Would You Attempt To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

9/26/1969

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Calamari

Short Description

Interior designer Robin Wilson (1969 - ) was the founder of Robin Wilson Home, the author of, "Kennedy Green House," and a noted designer of eco-friendly residences.

Employment

Robin Wilson Home

Heidrick & Struggles

Houghton Mifflin Co.

Isaacson Miller

Mercer Management Consulting

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:9070,189:11140,241:12310,281:12760,287:14470,318:15820,335:16450,344:17170,353:18250,367:19690,391:21850,425:22300,431:31396,498:35608,578:36232,587:38104,643:43642,729:44110,736:44734,746:48166,804:49180,822:50116,832:50662,841:52144,878:58540,896:59044,906:59548,915:60052,928:60484,937:61060,946:61996,959:62572,970:63220,980:63724,1000:66962,1017:67742,1092:81548,1372:81938,1378:83810,1422:84512,1432:90151,1443:91156,1459:93501,1530:94841,1563:95176,1569:100469,1693:101474,1714:101742,1719:103216,1747:104556,1773:109400,1804:114496,1910:115679,1934:118070,1943:120215,1991:120540,1997:120930,2006:121970,2027:122230,2032:122490,2039:122750,2044:124505,2099:125545,2148:128200,2161$0,0:240,4:560,9:880,14:2720,47:4000,71:5600,107:6800,169:9200,214:12720,275:13200,282:16510,293:20443,383:20857,390:24928,479:25342,486:27067,530:35268,680:35856,688:36444,697:41064,785:41400,790:41736,795:42072,800:46104,881:46608,891:48708,917:49044,922:49968,953:51144,969:51564,975:55764,1055:56184,1068:56772,1076:64555,1129:64855,1134:67780,1202:70705,1271:72805,1328:73330,1337:73705,1344:78294,1391:79446,1413:85062,1508:85494,1515:85926,1523:86286,1529:86718,1537:92838,1692:93270,1701:96942,1774:97374,1781:98022,1791:106064,1879:115904,2053:121234,2143:123284,2181:123694,2187:134269,2332:134664,2338:135217,2346:136244,2363:137271,2380:137982,2396:138614,2406:139641,2420:142169,2486:142564,2492:145961,2560:146672,2574:147304,2583:150227,2691:150701,2702:161450,2865
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Robin Wilson's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson describes her mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson remembers her paternal great-grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson talks about her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson describes her mother's upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson talks about her maternal great-grandmother's abduction by the Ku Klux Klan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson talks about the diversity of skin color within her family

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Robin Wilson talks about her mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Robin Wilson describes the community of Angleton, Texas

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Robin Wilson talks about her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Robin Wilson describes her maternal uncles' careers

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson talks about her father's upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson describes her father's career

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson talks about her paternal uncle's struggles after World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson describes her parents' relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson talks about her parents' perspective on education

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson remembers her mother's career

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson talks about her father's mentor

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Robin Wilson talks about her parents' financial struggles

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Robin Wilson describes her childhood allergies

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson talks about her elementary school experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson recalls her early struggles with her disability

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson remembers her early understanding of race

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson describes the culture of her youth

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson recalls her early of experiences religion

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson remembers her early influences

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson remembers the gifted program at Pease Elementary School in Austin, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson recalls her aspiration to become a writer

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Robin Wilson describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson talks about the alumni of Stephen F. Austin High School

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson recalls her experiences as a fashion model

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson remembers her position at the Lower Colorado River Authority

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson talks about dating at University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson remembers her first black history class

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson talks about her career as a designer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson remembers helping her maternal grandfather paint fences

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson describes her mentor at the University of Texas at Austin

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Robin Wilson remembers her summer internship at a consulting firm

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Robin Wilson describes her family's relationship with Barbara Jordan

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson talks about the female role models in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson talks about politics in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson remembers her brother's death, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson describes her involvement with the layoffs at AT&T Inc.

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson remembers her brother's death, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson describes her career as an executive recruiter

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson remembers recruiting African American executives

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson recalls her transition to the real estate industry

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Robin Wilson remembers the growth of her real estate business

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Robin Wilson remembers rebranding her firm as Robin Wilson Home

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Robin Wilson talks about her home rehabilitation projects

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Robin Wilson remembers her interview with Oprah Winfrey

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Robin Wilson recalls lessons from her business coach

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Robin Wilson talks about ecofriendly home design

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Robin Wilson talks about the prevalence of toxic materials in homes

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Robin Wilson describes the need for ecofriendly home education

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Robin Wilson talks about her book, 'Kennedy Green House'

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Robin Wilson recalls lessons from her family

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Robin Wilson describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Robin Wilson reflects upon her legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$5

DAStory

1$9

DATitle
Robin Wilson describes her childhood allergies
Robin Wilson recalls her transition to the real estate industry
Transcript
From what I've read you were hyper-allergenic as a--or you were, you were allergic (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Pan--$$Pan-allergic.$$They call it pan-allergic, yep.$$Okay.$$I was--who knows why I, you know my dad [Rubin Wilson] had hay fever. My mom [JoAnn Scott Wilson] had other allergies and I think they all came into me and became a dominant force. But I literally, I was in the hospital for a great amount of my early months of life. I was allergic to milk. I was allergic to almost anything, dust, pollen, as they say, wheezing and sneezing outside wheezing and sneezing inside. And when you're a baby and all you're doing is screaming and, you know, crying, nobody knows. As I got older I--it was dairy. Now people think I'm saying I'm lactose intolerant. No, it's--I was literally allergic. If you gave me a piece of cheese, I would have an anaphylactic reaction. If you gave me a glass of milk I would puff up, couldn't breathe, you know, like literally having to go to the hospital and ice cream, same thing.$$Right.$$So--$$So--$$It was, it was a very bland diet.$$That cuts out a lot of things in people--$$That's right.$$--people are used to consuming.$$That's right, that's right.$$Then you're allergic to wheat too right (unclear)?$$I was, I was not really allergic to wheat but I couldn't have a lot of bread, who knows why. So it was all these things that--So I had a diet--by the way, a wonderful doctor who wasn't the type that said, "Pump her full of medicine." He was like, "Let's eliminate everything from the diet. Let's start with oatmeal. Okay, once she get--we know she can have oatmeal. Now we'll try green beans. Okay, now she can have greens beans, we'll try the next thing," and so literally we learned or my parents, my mother and dad learned through multiple test and, you know, I would have, let's say a hamburger and if it was too greasy, I would have a reaction, it's just all sorts of things and who knows, and often you grow out of these things. Today kids stay away from them. Back then it was give you a little a little bit, build your tolerance up. Give you a little bit, build your tolerance up.$But they went public in '99 [1999] and I got a windfall. And it was a choice of do I wanna keep the money with the firm [Heidrick and Struggles International Inc.] and keep gaining shares? Or do I wanna take the money and do what I wanna do? And I literally said I can do search every day, some elements I like. But being on the phone smiling and dialing for the right candidate wasn't fulfilling to me. I like real estate. I would read the real estate pages like it was a sports section for a guy. It was like "What's the price? Oh, what are the comparables?" You know. And I ended up getting enrolled at NYU [New York University, New York, New York] while I was still working there at night, and I started getting my master's in real estate finance from NYU at night. And when they went public, I was like, "Give me my money." And I got a lot--like six figures and I bought an apartment. This--So, the next year 9/11 [September 11, 2001] happened or two years later 9/11 happened. I had this money saved now. I bought apartments, flipped them, bought another apartment and started building a nest egg and at the same time was doing project management on the side. So I managed my own project when we did renovations at places. When you think about New York [New York], there are so many old places here. And when you have a buyer who can walk in and its turnkey. That's unusual in New York. Typically you have to renovate. Hasn't been touched since 1970 or 1950. And I was doing these places where I would make it perfect so you could just walk in and buy it. And so I made a lot of money.$$What make it perfect? You--what do you mean?$$It might mean refinishing the floors. Taking those old appliances out that are energy inefficient. Putting in energy efficient appliances. Sometimes old claw foot tubs that are just, you know, sides or the paint's peeling. Putting in another new tub or refinishing that old tub. Taking out the old Flush-o-matics toilets and putting in a new toilet. And making it pretty, you know, so that the lights. There might not be any lights in the living room. So putting in recess lights or, you know, putting in phone lines that aren't--they're hidden behind the baseboards. So you have like--a modern house you have the switch. You have the thing but you don't have wires running everywhere. The wires are in the wall. And just making it aesthetically pretty. But if you walk into many old apartments, you'll see the wires running along the baseboard or along the molding and you've painted over it fifty thousand times. It just doesn't look pretty anymore.$$Right, right.$$So that's what I do.$$I know lots of people in cities all over the country, Detroit [Michigan], San Francisco [California] and Chicago [Illinois] are--start rehabbing$$Yeah.$$--buildings around--in the '80s [1980s].$$Yes.

Linda Marie Allen

Interior designer Linda Marie Allen was born on May 3, 1961 in Los Angeles, California. Her formative years were a combination of competitive figure skating and private academic tutelage. Allen placed in all state and national competitions that she entered. In her late teens, she became one of the few blacks ever to be a feature in the Ice Capades touring troupe. After touring for awhile, Allen attended California State University in Long Beach, earning her B.S. degree in interior and environmental design. Allen’s passion for design originated in her early experiences as a professional ice skater, learning about the importance of color from the spotlights that would flash during the Ice Capades.

Allen’s career began while working for lighting design firms that focused on hotels and in Las Vegas, but soon decided that lighting was only one piece of the puzzle. She began designing offices for such clients as American Golf, and in 1996, worked as a consultant for Earvin “Magic” Johnson when he was customizing Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Beverly Hills offices. With Johnson’s encouragement, Allen ultimately began her own interior design company. Soon, Allen was selected by Walt Disney Imagineering to work in their set design department as lead designer, focusing on custom light fixtures in Disney’s theme parks, a job that would lead to further work for Disney, including the Tokyo Disney Seas theme park in Japan, and Disneyland’s California Adventure. Allen was soon designing for both office and residential clients, including a variety of high-profile entertainers. With her design experience, Allen was hired to make television appearances, including a stint on HGTV’s Designing for the Sexes and You’re Home, plus Area, the Style Network’s design program.

In 2004, Allen’s housing design tips appeared in the pages of Essence magazine, a feat she would repeat the following year. Her work has appeared in a variety of additional publications, including The Chicago Tribune, Interiors Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times, Luxe Interiors Design, Better Homes & Gardens, Interiors, the Robb Report, California Homes and Designs, and Traditional Home Magazine. In 2015, Allen was named one of the top 20 African American Designers in the United States. She also invented the Live. Anywhere. Collection, a collection of wireless table and floor lamps, for which she owns a patent.

Allen was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on November 5, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.322

Sex

Female

Interview Date

11/5/2007

Last Name

Allen

Maker Category
Middle Name

Marie

Occupation
Schools

Transfiguration School

Sixth Avenue Elementary School

Culver City Middle School

University High School

Crenshaw Senior High School

Santa Monica College

California State University, Long Beach

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Linda

Birth City, State, Country

Los Angeles

HM ID

ALL05

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

Sponsor

Carol H. Williams Advertising

State

California

Favorite Vacation Destination

Islands

Favorite Quote

Got It.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Nevada

Birth Date

5/3/1961

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Las Vegas

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Indian Food

Short Description

Interior designer Linda Marie Allen (1961 - ) was an interior and lighting designer. She invented and patented a line of luxury outdoor wireless table and floor lamps, her signature Live. Anywhere. Collection. She also designed offices and lighting for Magic Johnson and Disney's Japanese theme park, respectively.

Employment

Ice Capades

Knotts Berry Farm

Lite Source, Inc.

ISD

Murray Alcorn

Interprise

Linda Allen Designs, Inc.

Live. Anywhere, Inc.

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

Peacock Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:747,14:1577,25:2573,48:13046,278:18072,319:18480,324:18990,331:26000,382:26900,392:28000,407:31300,438:32100,449:32600,455:34500,499:41100,587:43000,608:43600,623:44900,642:47900,683:56120,713:56420,718:59570,768:66170,956:68645,1008:79445,1218:119798,1646:120218,1652:120722,1659:121058,1664:135105,1805:135477,1810:144498,1948:148683,2018:166930,2335$0,0:3534,92:4185,100:5115,114:7254,162:7905,170:9765,184:13392,231:13950,238:14415,244:15438,257:34178,497:34906,505:35738,510:46996,644:51646,705:52111,711:61039,818:78644,1025:80392,1058:81036,1066:83612,1111:84072,1117:85452,1136:87016,1154:91892,1244:93548,1269:96492,1428:109537,1555:109972,1561:122672,1856:125426,1926:128909,1985:129233,1990:137819,2169:151395,2342:151920,2348:165272,2566:165616,2571:166648,2585:171120,2659:171894,2669:174990,2707:176194,2722:176538,2727:183090,2784:183426,2789:183762,2794:188214,2887:192078,2945:192666,2954:200280,3013
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Linda Marie Allen's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes her maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her early education

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen describes her introduction to ice skating

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her aunts and uncles

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her early ice skating career

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen describes her ice skating training schedule

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her fellow black figure skaters

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes the expenses related to figure skating

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her experiences of racial discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen remembers her first ice skating competition

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her high school education

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen describes her social life

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Linda Marie Allen talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Linda Marie Allen recalls her aspiration to become a professional ice skater

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Linda Marie Allen describes her competitive figure skating career

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen remembers the end of her Olympic aspirations

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen describes her career with the Ice Capades

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen recalls racial discrimination in the Ice Capades company

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen remembers touring with the Ice Capades

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes her college experiences

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen remembers California State University, Long Beach

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen describes her assistantship at Lite Source, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her work with interior design firms

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen remembers designing for Magic Johnson

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Linda Marie Allen talks about Linda Allen Designs, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Linda Marie Allen recalls designing for Walt Disney Imagineering Research and Development, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Linda Marie Allen talks about her ex-husband

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Linda Marie Allen describes her work on the Pasadena Showcase House of Design

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Linda Marie Allen describes achievements as an interior designer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Linda Marie Allen describes her friendship with Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Linda Marie Allen describes her hopes for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her values

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Linda Marie Allen reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Linda Marie Allen narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$3

DAStory

2$9

DATitle
Linda Marie Allen remembers her early ice skating career
Linda Marie Allen remembers designing for Magic Johnson
Transcript
So, you're in elementary school, you know these different influences going on, you're learning the art of etiquette because from what we hear your grandparents, your aunts, they're very much into that, all the ladies are, and you're getting into ice skating. Tell us about your first experiences with that.$$I remember that once I started skating, I really liked that sport. It was something that I can get involved in emotionally. Being that I was still young and that I was shy and that I had not reached out yet, personality-wise, I could reach out in a physical way that I found out that, you know, with music, I loved music and the fact that I just loved the art and thrill and challenge of ice skating.$$So your first time meeting Mabel?$$Mabel Fairbanks.$$Your first time, you're going to Culver City [Culver City Ice Arena, Culver City, California], you're in the skates, you're learning the sport in its rawest form. Did you take to it instantly? Were you deemed a natural?$$I was not a natural, my sister [Lisa Allen] was a natural.$$Talk to us about that a little bit.$$My sister was quite talented in almost anything she did. You know, she was just very witty and she picked up things, and she still does, very much. She's very intuitive. And she would just be very--she was--she was very coordinated. So--a little more coordinated than I. I kind of had a growth spurt there and she just was proportioned growing up, so when you're doing the jumps and, and you're getting into that type of sport, it was much more of a natural inclination for her. But, I had the passion for it, and that passion sustained me and she had passions for other things that most kids her age do and she ended up getting out of skating and I continued.$$So, you're skating and for the viewer, this is not just a--at this point, it's not just a pastime. It's becoming, quite a bit of your time is spent in this particular sport. Is it fair to say that?$$It is very fair to say that the time became very intense as a child even. I remember at Transfiguration [Transfiguration Elementary School, Los Angeles, California], by the time I had gotten into ninth grade my parents [Eleanor Allen and Edgar Allen] had switched me out of Catholic school and had placed me into schools that would allow me to transfer PE [physical education] for ice skating.$So, in 1996 you're working for--who are you working for in '96 [1996]?$$So, then in 1996, I started working for a company called Interprise. By that time I was a project manager and I actually project managed it--I project managed office space planning and design.$$And it's at that point in '96 [1996], if my research serves correctly, you ran into Earvin Magic Johnson?$$That was great.$$Tell us about that.$$Uh, it's serendipitous because back in--actually in '95 [1995] I was working for this company that decided to close its L.A. [Los Angeles, California] arm. It was--I think it was from Texas, this company, Interprise is a Texas-based company, well-known. And I was project managing a office for Magic Johnson and the company went to fold and they were gonna--since the project was kind of small for Earvin's office, they were gonna let go of it, and I fought to keep the project. And so I actually talked to Earvin Johnson--Magic Johnson--and let me back up for a minute.$$Okay.$$I actually got the project for the company. Okay, because I was the project manager and I would actually go in and I was being marketed to Earvin Magic Johnson and when he talked to me the same as he talked to you, we were about the same age and we just started having like this great camaraderie and so he hired me. I just happened to work for the company. So when the company closed, I went back to him and they hired me back as my own company [Linda Allen Designs, Inc.].$$So, so did he tell you basically, maybe you should just start your own company and don't worry about it? What did he tell you?$$He said, "Yeah, get your insurances (laughter)."$$(Laughter).$$His business manager said, "Get your insurances and we will support you."$$So now you have--you have your--out of the clear blue sky now, you have (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I have a celebrity project.$$You have your own, first--well, not--we won't say it's your first project. But it, it basically is now on your own and your first project is working for one of the greatest names in sports.$$Yes.$$Who's, who's now converted to a businessman.$$Yes.$$So what exactly did you--did you do for him?$$Well, I helped give him an image for his new businesses. He was developing Magic Johnson's Development [Magic Johnson Development Corporation] at the time and under the umbrella of Magic Johnson Enterprises [Magic Johnson Enterprises, Inc.], which is still going on right now. And I had an opportunity to work with, with him and Ken Lombard [Kenneth T. Lombard] and I had another opportunity to work with some wonderful art consultants, Allie Toscavetti [ph.] is a good friend of mine. And I had a wonderful opportunity to work on a full-service design project that when I was at Interprise was only tenant improvement. So when they hired me, they hired me full-service.$$So basically you did his whole offices and his things over?$$Yeah, I mean basically I got to develop a high-end project, which otherwise was thought of as a low-end budget project.

Cecil Hayes

Interior designer Cecil Hayes was born on April 25, 1945, in Malone, Florida. Graduating from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in 1963, Hayes received her B.A. degree in art education from Florida A&M University in 1967. She went on to attend the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and graduated in 1973 at the top of her class. Hayes taught art at Alma High School in Alma, Georgia, from 1967 to 1971.

From 1973 to 1975, she worked for Santa Stevens Interior Design. In 1975, Hayes opened her own shop called Cecil’s Designs Unlimited. This family-owned and operated firm features design concepts that combine both art and interior design. Since 1983, she and her husband, Arzell Powell, have operated their own manufacturing division.

Hayes’ clientele include a Who’s Who in entertainment, sports and business, including actor/producer-Wesley Snipes, actors/producers-Mr. & Mrs. Samuel L. Jackson, Music mogul-Tim “Timbaland” Mosley, NBA’s Phoenix Sun’s All Star guard-Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, NFL’s New England Patriots Pro Bowl MVP-Ty Law, Retired NBA’s Miami Heat-Jamal Mashburn and PJ Brown, Retired-NFL’s Miami Dolphin-Louis Oliver, H.I.P. Insurance CEO Anthony Watson, Seaway National Bank of Chicago’s CEO-Jacoby Dickens, Renowned Philanthropist-George and Cynthia Marks and the historic African-American Research Library and Cultural Center of Broward County.

Hayes’ design works have been photographed for lead articles in Architectural Digest, Who’s Who in Interior Design, Ebony, Southern Living, Florida Design, Boca Raton Magazine, South Florida and Haut Décor Magazines, The Sun Sentinel, The Miami Herald, Boston Globe and USA Today News Papers; just to name a few. In 1999, she was honored with the prestigious Presidents Award of Excellence from the Florida A & M University National Alumni Association. In 1998, she won the notable African American Achievement Award; and for several years, she has received the distinguished Designer of the Year Award from the Designers and Decorators Guild, as well as Service Firm of the Year Award in 1985-1986-1993 from the C.B.E.D. Cecil was chosen as one of the Top Ten Female Interior Designers in South Florida.

Hayes is the author of two Interior Design books, “9 Steps to Beautiful Living” and “The Art of Decorative Details” published by Watson-Guptil Random House.

Hayes is one of the first African American designers to manufacture furniture, case goods and upholstery; and the first African American designer to grace the pages of Architectural Digest. She is the first and only African American as well as the only designer from the South to be named to Architectural Digest’s Top 100 list of influential designers in the world.

Cecil Hayes was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 18, 2002.

Accession Number

A2002.066

Sex

Female

Interview Date

4/18/2002

Last Name

Hayes

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Dillard High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

First Name

Cecil

Birth City, State, Country

Malone

HM ID

HAY01

Favorite Season

Spring

Sponsor

Knight Foundation

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

I Can Do All Things Through Christ That Strengthens Me.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Florida

Birth Date

4/25/1945

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Fort Lauderdale

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pork Chops

Short Description

Interior designer Cecil Hayes (1945 - ) opened Cecil's Designs Unlimited, a family-owned and -operated firm that features design concepts that combine both art and interior design. An interior design expert, Hayes possesses a keen appreciation for African art and uses this to influence her work.

Employment

Santa Stevens Interior Design

Cecil's Designs Unlimited

Main Sponsor
Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Cecil Hayes' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes talks about her maternal family legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes shares memories of her paternal grandmother, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Cecil Hayes shares memories of her paternal grandmother, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes describes her paternal family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes describes her mother's upbringing in Malone, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes describes learning of the struggles her parents faced growing up in Malone, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes describes her mother's role as a family breadwinner during her youth in Malone, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes talks about her parents' sacrifices

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Cecil Hayes describes her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Cecil Hayes talks about her maternal family's recording of their history

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Cecil Hayes talks about the significance of her maternal family reunions

Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Cecil Hayes describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes describes her father's upbringing and personality

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes talks about the significance of being raised by both parents

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes describes how her father's upbringing shaped his personal characteristics

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes describes how her family relocated to Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes describes her relationship with her mother as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Cecil Hayes talks about the tensions she and her mother faced

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes describes her relationship with her father as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes talks about the lessons she learned from her parents

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes describes how her parents divided their household responsibilities

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes describes her and her siblings' childhood chores

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes describes how her parents sheltered her from discrimination

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Cecil Hayes describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Cecil Hayes talks about the growth of Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Cecil Hayes talks about segregation in South Florida during the 1950s and 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes talks about her childhood neighbors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes describes her childhood neighborhood in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes describes a childhood game she and her siblings played

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes talks about her aspiration to become an artist

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes describes her first job working as an art teacher in Alma, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Cecil talks about attending The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes describes her experiences in school

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes describes what type of student she was

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes describes how she perceived the world as a youth

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes talks about enjoying her time alone and her art

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes describes the sights, sounds, and smells of her childhood

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Cecil Hayes talks about why she attended Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Cecil Hayes describes why she chose to major in art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 14 - Cecil Hayes describes studying art at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes talks about knowing athlete Bob Hayes in college

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes describes attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes describes how she was hired as an art teacher after graduating from college

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes describes living and working in Alma, Georgia, during the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes tells how someone of the white race perceived her as different from her race in Alma, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Cecil Hayes describes her experiences teaching high school art in Alma, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes talks about quitting her job as a high school art teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes talks about discovering interior design

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes describes her experiences attending The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes talks about working for Santa Stevens Interior Designs

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes talks about starting Cecil's Designs Unlimited, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Cecil Hayes talks about starting Cecil's Designs Unlimited, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Cecil Hayes describes the early months of Cecil's Designs Unlimited

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes talks about the early years of Cecil's Design's Unlimited

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes remembers her first client

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes talks about the significance of her first publication in the "Miami Herald"

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes reflects upon the significance of breaking into interior design in the 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes considers why Jewish clients supported Cecil's Designs Unlimited

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Cecil Hayes talks about the significance of being published in "Architectural Digest"

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes describes why she refrained from building African American clientele during the 1970s and early 1980s

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes talks about increasing the footprint of Cecil's Designs Unlimited

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes describes being hired by Wesley Snipes

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes describes her experiences working for Wesley Snipes

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes talks about incorporating African art and artifacts into designs for her white clients

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Cecil Hayes describes how she met LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes talks about a luncheon LaTanya Richardson Jackson held in her honor

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes describes becoming the interior designer of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes shares her design strategy for the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes talks about raising funds for the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Cecil Hayes talks about raising funds for the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Cecil Hayes describes the interior design process, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Cecil Hayes describes the interior design process, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Cecil Hayes talks about being a mentor

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Cecil Hayes talks about the current state of African Americans in the field of interior design

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Cecil Hayes comments on interior design as an art form

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Cecil Hayes shares her hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Cecil Hayes describes her management style

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Cecil Hayes describes the signature of her work

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Cecil Hayes talks about her legacy and how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Cecil Hayes narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$12

DATitle
Cecil Hayes describes her first job working as an art teacher in Alma, Georgia
Cecil Hayes talks about starting Cecil's Designs Unlimited, pt. 2
Transcript
So I went to A and M [Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tallahassee, Florida], completed four years of an art education, and I taught school in Waycross--Alma, Georgia, working for the federal government. The job was offered for "undesirable situation, and we will pay you more if you're willing to do it"--it was to integrate the school system of Alma, Georgia, "and it would nice if you were an art teacher because we don't have an art program." So I did both. I went to this remote place--that I'd never been to Georgia in my life--and I didn't get a chance to view it, because I had just went for an interview and caught the bus and went back to Tallahassee [Florida], see, and took the job, for the money, didn't realize about the experience. So I--there was no place to rent there. My mother [Edna Hayes] had made me all these two suitcases of clothes. And I had to room at this lady's house, and when I got to the rooming--to the room I was to stay in, I said: Where is the closet? And she pointed to this huge penny nail on the back of the door (laughter). So after I stayed there four years teaching, I did move to Waycross [Georgia] after a year of living in her house in, in Waycross--in Alma. I finally moved to Waycross 36 miles away and commuted. The experience was great. I mean my first year there was, it was awesome because everyone barked at me like a dog coming down the hallway. No one threw anything at me, but I had to deal with the situation. And then I started programs there that they had never had, and this as an all-white school. They had never had art. They had never put on plays. I wrote plays, taught the kids how to respond to plays. The principal the first--and this was just on my own; it had nothing to do with my pay--had to actually instruct the students and the audience how to react when they go to a play. Then I decided, after four years, enough; find out what you wanna do. And I discovered the Art Institute [The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Florida] and interior designing.$And finally, now here's what happened: I thought about it, and I said I don't want to get back out there through that embarrassing route of interviews and no job. And here these guys, white guys, that things were made for them to, to be successful, but yet they fail, yet the fail. And, and they probably are gonna bounce back. So you know what? It couldn't be as painful as I heard it is, to try to get a, a company and fail. It couldn't be as painful. They're, they're doing it. So I, I, I started from that thought that I would start my own company, first out of embarrassment, not wanting to go through the pain of interviewing; and second, because I've seen--actually, failure of other people is what gave me the positive thought that I could be successful (laughter). I, I--and did that. I, I, I started the company from a small loan from SBA [Small Business Administration], went down, wrote out this little two-page thing that they kept sending me back and saying: nope, you didn't do your paperwork right, nope. And I didn't know what paperwork. I figured, give me the forms and I would go back. And after doing this, it was--I asked for the least that I--that they--I felt they would give me. And this lady that worked at the bank called me with a very secret call. She was a black lady, Patricia, Patricia Williams. And she says I've seen you keep coming back with that paperwork. She says keep coming back. She says they're giving all the money to cu--to Cubans. Blacks get so frustrated after one visit they don't come back 'cause they don't intend to give it to you. But you've been coming back more than anybody that I've seen. Keep coming back. And I said well, can I talk to you? She says no, they--you've been assigned to this guy. And, and I did, and I made--got some of my cards printed, see, and had an address put on it. So my last visit, and although I didn't have a space 'cause I didn't have the money, I said I got my card (laughter). And they said well, I see you're determined, so they, they gave me the kiss of death money, $6,000 was to fail. And I, I could have very easily, because within two weeks the money was gone. I put it all into a little storefront so I would have a sense of presence to get clients. And it was, it was rough, because I, I, I started off with not the right amount of money. But I started off with the right attitude, and 28 years later I'm still here.