LOOKING BACK B
ORN IN THE 1930s in the middle of the Great Depression,
Randolph Holand Trull — “always Randy” — began
designing as a child growing up in the Hayes Barton dis-trict
“I am old North Carolina,” he says.
It all began with dollhouse furniture.
“I’d go to the dime store, to Woolworth’s, and buy the
plastic furniture — sofas and chairs and lamps — and I was
building little rooms before I was 10 years old,” Trull says,
adding he would use aluminum foil to turn buttons into
silver plates and golf tees into candlesticks.
Trull credits his mother, Mabel Trull, who collected antiques, for being a creative
After graduating from Broughton High School and Campbell Junior College
(now Campbell University), Trull attended the Parsons School of Design in New
York and then in Europe. Even then, he was driven to be the best.
“At Parsons, I thought, ‘How do I get ahead of the rest of my class?’” he says.
After serving in the U.S. Navy, to gain experience, Trull began his career answering the
phones part time in the adjustment department of a store that belonged to Lord and Taylor
in New York.
“New York was the place to be, back then,” he says.
Lord and Taylor offered him a job as a designer for $35. He turned them down and took
a position as a fabric converter and sample boy at $60 per week for Kandell Fabrics in New
He rose from working on the floor as a samples boy to designing showroom displays. He
would work for the next 35 years in curtain, drapery, linen and domestic linens.
Soon after Trull decorated a duplex apartment for Jerome Kandell and his second wife,
“Mr. Jerome” began asking his opinion of collections. He liked Trull’s answers and his
“At Kandell, one of the fabrics I did for him sold over 3 million yards,” he says.
This was in the 1954-1960s era. It launched his career in textiles.
Top: Randy Trull on right, with his mother, Mabel, and brother, Jimmy, in the 1930s. Middle: A
1937 photo of Trull and his new bike was used for the cover of his 2010 autobiography, “My
Life on the Fringe,” edited by Susan Taylor Block. Bottom: Mabel Trull kept the dollhouse
furniture and other items Trull made to build rooms as a child.
WBM september 2017