Dr. John Martin-Rutherford

John Rutherford

Department Chair, Interior Design Program

John Martin-Rutherford is Harrington College of Design’s Interior Design Chairperson. John comes to Harrington with an extensive educational and design background.

John began his design journey as a young child. He started painting and turned his innate interest in art into a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Art from The Centre College of Kentucky. From there, he continued his educational journey with a second bachelor’s degree in architecture and a Master’s of Interior Design from University of Kentucky in Louisville, where he also taught and worked at an architecture firm for several years.

He traveled to Austin, Texas, to work with Dr. Charles Moore at the University of Texas, where he also attained a master’s degree in architecture. After working with Dr. Moore on several projects, John moved to San Francisco, where he worked as the Director of Interior Design and architectural project manager for Leo A. Daly Co. He also pursued a Ph.D. from Berkeley in architecture, but he ended up moving back to his home state of Kentucky to attend University of Louisville and obtain the last of his six degrees, a Ph.D. in Urban Design.

He also directed the activities of the Urban Design Studio, a think tank co-sponsored by two universities and the Metro Louisville Department of Planning and Design. He accomplished all of this while running his own design practice, The JM-R Studio. He has taught interior design for four programs, most recently prior to Harrington as Director of Graduate and Undergraduate Programs in Interior Architecture.

John is a huge promoter of the arts in all arenas of his life. He renovated a mansion in Louisville, Ky., into a center for the arts where art exhibits, musical soirees, theater companies, and writers are all welcome. John is also an oil painter and sculptor and has been president of the Kentucky Opera Guild, was president of the theater group in college, and served on the board of Pandora Productions (a theatre company), among other activities.

Travel is another of John’s passions. He has lived and studied in Italy and France and traveled around Asia, and was a United States representative to the International Laboratory of Architecture and Urban Design in Urbino, Italy. He believes strongly in the benefits of studying design in diverse regions and countries and has a personal love of Japanese art, architecture, and landscapes.