Success isn’t always easy, and Madam CJ Walker had many forces working against her to make it harder. She was born a slave and raised her daughter on her own after the death of her husband. Through her efforts and ingenuity, she created a brand of products tailored for hair commonly associated with Black women.
Over time, she used the popularity of her products and her business acumen to create a large market footprint while making millions of dollars per year – in today’s money. You can still buy the namesake of her products today, as it was picked up in 2013 for sale in Sephora stores.
All photos are used with permission from TopTenRealEstateDeals.com
Her magnificent home came after her rise to wealth, and the ostentatious grandeur of it is as imposing as her perseverance was. The sprawling 28,000 square feet estate is settled just 20 miles north of Manhattan in Irvington, New York. The designer, Vertner Tandy, imparted a powerful presence to the structure.
From the front, a rounded entryway is set with two-story columns that guard the entry. Each wing of the house stands proudly at the flanks of the entryway as they guide you back to the magnificent sight of the balconies at the back. Multiple landings flare to either side as you descend down three flights of stone stairs to a rectangular reflecting pool at the bottom.
Once you get there, you can turn to see just how expansive the house truly is.
Within the interior, the large framework is reflected in the wide-open spaces for both the common and private spaces. There is a clear display of prestige in the Neoclassical design of rooms like the gold-lined music salon and the marble floors used for the side entrance, but it is still somehow understated enough that you can feel both comfortable and pampered while you’re inside of it. Inside and out, the beauty of the home is classical and timeless, just like Madam C.J. Walker’s story.
Despite being commissioned explicitly for her by her daughter, she was only able to live in it for a short period before she died. The home has been maintained well throughout the years after it passed down through her daughter to the NAACP, the Companions of the Forests of America, and then as a home to the notable U.S. Ambassador and investment banker Harold Doley.
Before he sold the home to the New Voices Foundation in 2018, Doley upgraded much of the interior electrical and mechanical workings of the home to modern standards. He also created a fund to help protect the home’s alluring exterior, rear terrace, and landscaping for the foreseeable future. The sale price of the home wasn’t given, but it is likely far under the true value of the home given Doley’s penchant for philanthropy.