Although she now has 31 years of experience behind her, Cecil Hayes still clearly remembers the one project that spurred the growth of her firm early on. “In 1975,” Hayes recalls, “I finished a 4,500- square-foot home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the interior décor of which was featured in a two-page full-color spread in the local newspaper. The master bath had a six-foot-diameter shower made of Lucite with stainless-steel tracks. Unattached to the room’s walls, it was viewed in the round.” Since then, Hayes’s Coconut Creek, Florida-based firm of 10, Cecil’s Designers Unlimited, has created interiors in a wide range of styles for homes of similarly varying sizes, from 1,200—“You can be just as creative in a small home as a large one,” she says—to 15,000 square feet.
“It really isn’t aligned with any particular style,” Hayes says of her approach, “although I do a lot of custom built-in units for my interiors. I work within my client’s desired style/architecture. As such, I have completed designs ranging from traditional to contemporary and just about everything in between.” Recently back from research trips to Ghana, Paris and locations throughout the American South, Hayes is currently focusing on an array of residential projects and the completion of the follow-up to her 2006 interior design self-help book, Cecil Hayes: 9 Steps to Beautiful Living . “My next goal is to have a design show on television,” she says.