Award winning interior designer, Cecil Hayes was born April 25, 1945 in Malone, Florida. Graduating from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1963, Hayes received a 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, Incorporated. 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 a manufacturing division that allows her to realize her visions by creating her own furniture as art.
Hayes keen appreciation for African art and uses this are to influence her work. Her clientele includes a veritable who's who in entertainment and business, including Wesley Snipes, Samuel L. Jackson, Derek Brown. Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway, Anthony Watson, Jacoby Dickens and Harold Toppel. Her works have been featured in Ebony Magazine, Florida Design, and the Miami Herald. Hayes garnered the African American Achievement Award in 2002; the Distinguished Designer of the Year Award from the Designers and Decorators Guild; and in 1996, she was chosen as one of the Top Female Interior Designers in South Florida. Hayes is recognized by Who's Who in Interior Design.