Talent and vision are some of the qualities that it takes to be a good and successful interior designer. When Robin Wilson began her interior design business in 2000, she had both of these, but she set herself aside from other designers with her passion for a more eco-friendly environment.

Growing up in Austin, Texas, Wilson suffered from allergies and asthma. While being eco-friendly is still relatively new to many people, it is something that Wilson and her family always had to be aware of. “Everything that my mom did in the home, and my grandma did in the home, had to be sensitive to my allergies.”

Like Wilson, many African-Americans suffer from allergies and asthma. According to Wilson, one in six Black children suffer from allergies, and one in four suffers from asthma. With these alarming statistics, she entered the eco-friendly design industry 11 years ago, branding her interior design firm Robin Wilson Home in 2006. Wilson is based in New York City, her office is in Manhattan, and her designs can be found in homes and offices throughout the city.

Though she is not the first African-American woman to make a mark in the home and design industry, Wilson has certainly created her own lane in the business. She has become the first woman to license her name to eco-custom cabinetry and bath. In addition, Bed, Bath & Beyond’s website will carry the Robin Wilson Home line of licensed bedding & bath products beginning in January.

Wilson also worked on President Bill Clinton’s Harlem office. “[Designer] Sheila Bridges did his office, and we have worked on other spaces in that office since 2004,” she said.

Wilson is also an author and detailed her work on Robert Kennedy Jr.’s home in her book, “Kennedy Green House.” This fall, Wilson appeared on a segment of the No. 1-rated HGTV show, “Selling New York.”

While breaking her own professional barriers, Wilson is also breaking barriers in the African-American community, showing that while designing beautiful things, you can still help save lives.

Because she is in New York, Wilson knows that it is hard to avoid the daily pollution problems of this city, but she offered some tips to AmNews readers to stay healthy.

“The first thing you need to do is wash your hands on a regular basis,” Wilson said. “I believe daily sunlight is very important. Drink tons of water. Eat fresh fruit.”

Wilson gave more guidelines for staying healthy that cost little to nothing, including taking off your shoes before entering your home, closing the toilet lid before flushing, dusting under the bed once a month, changing and replacing your pillow and changing your shower curtain. She also suggests washing drapes or curtains once a year.

If you have the money, Wilson suggests buying and replacing the cabinetry and other products that you have in your home with products such as those from Robin Wilson Home that have formaldehyde-free adhesives and low to no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Another plus: Her products are American-made.

Some may argue that they are used to doing things a certain way and they are attached to their products. However, Wilson said, “Certain things are heavily fragranced such as your detergents and bath cleansers; that does not necessarily mean clean, and it can be a trigger for asthma and allergies.”

And when it comes to spending money, Wilson said it is better to spend money on preventative and permanent measures rather than a hospital bill for an asthma attack. “You should not be in the emergency room.”

An overall inspiration to African-Americans and women, Wilson continues to break barriers. She is just another shining example that history, color, and gender do not have to dictate your future. “My grandmother was a housekeeper and she worked in the kitchen,” she said. “Now my name is on the kitchen.”

For more information, visit Wilson’s website, www.robinwilsonhome.com.

You can also find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Robin-Wilson-Home and on Twitter@rwhome.