Our History

A Legacy of Quality Design

Stephen Rust Design Studio is part of a multi-generational legacy of fine furniture and interior design. In 1933, Stephen’s grandfather opened a small re-upholstery shop in Cape Girardeau, MO called Rust & Martin. As the years passed, Stephen’s father eventually took over in 1955. As the third generation of Rust men entered adulthood, Rust & Martin grew to three locations: the original store in Cape Girardeau, MO, plus one in Columbia, MO and one in Paducah, KY.

In 1977, Stephen and his wife, Deshay, moved to Columbia to help manage Rust & Martin. After nearly 20 wonderful years of running the business on a daily basis, they purchased the Rust & Martin store in Columbia from Stephen’s father and formed a new corporation. Most customers were unaware of the change of ownership within the Rust family.


Another change came in 2001, following the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that shook many Americans to their core.  In the aftermath, Stephen and Deshay took an introspective look at their lives and decided to make a change in how they wanted to do business. Stephen decided to move away from managing employees and running a store and return to his love of interior design and art. The transition from big to small was both challenging and innovative.   


In 2004, Stephen and Deshay took a big leap and opened an independent interior design studio: Stephen Rust Design Studio. Stephen says he’s always known he was going to be an interior designer in the family business, and is grateful to see his dreams fulfilled.

Stephen Rust Design Studio: A Columbia Stand-Out

Almost 15 years later, Stephen Rust has grown to be one of Columbia’s most sought-after residential interior designers, with many repeat clients in mid-Missouri. Stephen Rust is a registered interior designer with a diverse portfolio of both residential and commercial projects.


With Deshay running the administrative end of the business, Stephen is free to focus on great design that blends the best aspects of personality and beauty with practicality and utility. We believe in being part of a community, and in the power of small businesses. As a husband and wife team, we work to tackle design projects with care, creativity and detail to ensure your satisfaction and delight in the final product.

Our Experience in Interior Design

Stephen Rust Design Studio specializes in interior and exterior design; both commercial and residential. Stephen has worked on many different types of projects, and in many different stages. From breaking ground on your new home to adding the finishing touches to a room, Stephen Rust can do it all. He is experienced working with new construction and optimizing floor plans for greater functionality. With a background in fine furniture and accessories, Stephen is adept at selecting quality pieces and arrangements for different types of living spaces. He can also select finalizing touches like lighting, artwork, flooring or window treatments.


Stephen’s greatest joy in interior design work is solving problems for his clients. He delights in turning unsatisfying spaces into a client’s new favorite room; or reworking a business or restaurant to be a hit with customers.

I'm ready to work with you.

Ready to begin your interior design journey?  Let us create something special for you. Give Stephen Rust a call today.