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Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D.

Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D.

Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D.

Professor | Undergraduate Studies Chair


124A Hayes Hall
108 North Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210

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Professional Website

Office Hours

By appointment.

Areas of Expertise

  • Interior Design
  • Historic Preservation
  • Design History and Criticism
  • Academic Editing


  • Ph.D., American Studies, University of Iowa, 2003
  • M.A., American Studies, University of Iowa, 1998
  • M.A., Interior Design, Iowa State University, 1988
  • B.A., Interior Design, Iowa State University, 1986

Select Recognition

  • Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Interior Design

Current CV [pdf] Google Scholar

Mary Anne Beecher, Ph.D. has extensive experience as a scholar, a design educator and an administrator in both the United States and Canada. Dr. Beecher's educational background includes a B.A. (1986) and M.A. (1988) in Interior Design from Iowa State University and an M.A. (1998) and a Ph.D. (2003) in American Studies from the University of Iowa. She has taught at Iowa State, the University of Oregon, and the University of Manitoba, where she also served as the Department Head of the Interior Design Department from 2008-2013 and the Associate Dean-Research in the Faculty of Architecture from 2011-2013. Dr. Beecher served as Chair of Ohio State's Department of Design from 2013-2022. 

Dr. Beecher’s research interests have included an examination of a diverse array of American vernacular interior spaces, including early twentieth century farmhouses, mid-century roadside motels, as well as the kitchens, basements, attics, garages, sheds, and perhaps most importantly, the closets that make up the repertoire of storage spaces in evolving twentieth-century modern American living environments. She has written critical essays on such wide-ranging topics as the shifting ethical terrain of today’s interior design practice; the political nature of interior space; the significance of naming practices in interior design education; and Martha Stewart’s contribution to the shaping of attitudes toward craft and quality in popular American culture. 

As an educator, Dr. Beecher has taught in both undergraduate and graduate programs. She has taught design studios at all levels, has an extensive background teaching the history of design, design research methods, and design criticism, and has advised several graduate theses. She has published a number of articles on teaching design history, design criticism and methods of interpreting the cultural attributes of design spaces. 

Dr. Beecher’s most recent work at Ohio State includes examining the role of the basement bar in twentieth century suburban house design; offering critical considerations of how design education could benefit from adopting the model of a circular economy; collaborating with Professor Maria Palazzi, Dr. Matt Lewis and others to investigate how technology can be used to make the ways in which interior environments have been altered over time more apparent. She also has an ongoing project developing a series of furniture-based creative projects that re-interpret historic furniture forms; that blend analog and digital methods for incorporating customizable details into material culture; and that explore the notion to data-inspired furniture. 

Active Community and University Service and Leadership

  • College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum Sub-committee Member
  • University Senate (Alternate)

Selected Publications

  • Gumus Ciftci, H., Beecher, M.A., Proulx, S., Nickley, W. (2022) If it’s broken, don’t just fix it: Exploring repair as design through a two-week design charrette. Cumulus Conference 2022. Design for Adaptation Proceedings. Detroit. 
  • “Decolonize It,” editorial letter, IDEC Exchange, Issue 2 (2021): 6. 
  • “The Happy Department,” Innovation (Academia 360°), invited essay (2021) 
  • “Perspective”, Journal of Interior Design, 40:2(2015): ix-xiii. 
  • “The Political Interior,” Jo Ann Asher Thompson and Nancy Blossom, ed. The Blackwell Handbook of Interior Design, (New York: Wiley Blackwell, 2012). 
  • “The Thin Edge of the Wedge: Shifting Ethical Terrains and Interior Design in the Twenty-First Century,” Graeme Brooker and Lois Weinthal, ed. The Handbook of Interior Design, (London: Berg Publishers, 2012). 
  • “Fashioning Thrift: Finding the Modern in Everyday Environments,” Fiona Fisher and Patricia Lara Betancourt, ed. Performance, Fashion, and the Modern Interior, (London: Berg Publishers, 2011): 123-133. 
  • “Interiors: Between Art and Practicality,” Joan Ockman, ed. Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012): 347-50. 
  • “The Problem is Not the Name,” Caren Martin and Denise Guerin, ed. The State of the Interior Design Profession, (New York: Fairchild Books, 2010). 
  • “Remodeled Modernities: Lessons in Thrift,” Dead on Arrival, Faculty of Architecture, University of Manitoba, Journal, 2009.

Interview with Mary Anne Beecher from OSU Urban Arts Space on Vimeo.

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