For students aspiring for a career in interior design, and for Seattle’s design community at large, there’s a reason to rejoice. Heritage School of Interior Design brings its unique approach to higher education into the Seattle design center.
President & CEO of Heritage School of Interior Design, Stephanie Plymale, purchased the Portland-based school from its original founder in 2014. Now, Plymale has officially launched the inaugural class of Seattle-branch students— her third branch of the school located within the Seattle Design Center— with a fourth branch in Los Angeles slated for a 2020 official opening.
For students and professionals who are drawn to the world of interior design, the cost and time requirements of a traditional Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree program are often prohibitive and lack the focus and post-graduate resources to jump-start specific industry careers. Heritage School of Interior Design is specifically engineered to avoid these roadblocks. In each of its branches, Heritage offers a range of courses spanning interior design fundamentals, practical entrepreneurship-focused instruction, and a full suite of technical courses that provide the same core requirements as traditional programs for a fraction of the cost.
Plymale, herself a student of the original Heritage School, knows firsthand what it’s like to feel stymied in a career void of personal passion and far-removed from practical options to pursue a creative and successful alternative. After an early career in banking, Plymale leveraged her new design education from Heritage into an eighteen-year career as an independent designer before working in corporate design and eventually purchasing Heritage School of Design from its founder, Jan Springer.
We spoke to Stephanie, to know more about the school and her journey so far….
Seattleite: Could you tell us a little about your background?
Stephanie: I’m the owner and CEO of Heritage School Of Interior Design. Locations in Portland, Seattle, and Denver and our next location, coming soon- Las Vegas!! I bought Heritage a little over four years ago. The school had been in existence for 20 years, At the point of which I purchased it, the school had closed and was in the garage of the previous owner Jan Springer.
With my 18 years of experience as an Interior designer/Stager and my Masters in Business coaching, I knew I could make the school successful. As much as I loved Interior Design with a PASSION I knew it was time for a change. I was being called to something bigger in my life. I felt that education in our country was changing and students could not afford 4 to 5 years and 120k for education in Design. The numbers just did not make sense. With the Art Institutes and Universities in our country going to close or struggling. I wanted to create an educational experience that incorporated an accelerated, affordable, hands-on and community-based design school that was affordable to all.
I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been married for 33 years this June! (I feel old!) I have three kids, 2 biological sons, and an adopted daughter. I was a competitive tennis player and traveled around locally playing for almost 20 years. I just launched the Heritage Home Foundation- a non-profit organization serving families transitioning from homelessness. Heritage Home will be providing resources, furnishing, and design to families in need. I have my first book coming out in November – AMERICAN DAUGHTER a memoir
Seattleite: How did you decide to purchase the Portland-based school?
Stephanie: I was at a crossroads with my career. I loved my 18 years as an Interior Designer/ Stager, I felt that I had done and achieved everything I could and it was time for a change. A colleague of mine informed me that the school was closing and thought I would be perfect. I met with the owner Jan Springer that week. After some negotiations, I purchased the school and drove off with the school in the back of my truck. No real plan just a vision. A vision of the changes I wanted to see in education. Affordable, Accessible, Hands-on and Quality. For anyone who wants this career.
Seattleite: What are the different courses you offer?
Stephanie: The bread-and-butter program at Heritage is its Interior Design Masters Program, which equips graduating students with a Certificate in Interior Custom Design, skills in each of the required technical areas, a professional portfolio, and a comprehensive post-graduate business plan.
Fielding its instructors from a pool of cutting edge, top-producing industry designers, Heritage sets up its programs to be laser-focused on the practical skills that will lead to tangible post-graduate success in any aspect of the design industry that students want to pursue. Attracting many students looking to start a second, more fulfilling career, the collaborative, hands-on environment central to the Heritage experience connects students to the local design industry through field-trips and internships that help establish concrete next-steps for each student’s personal careers. Nearly 100% of Heritage graduates leave with an industry job in hand.
Here are our offerings :
Our Master’s Certification courses:
Fundamentals Of Interior Design: Students learn about the elements and principles of design. Furniture history, floor planning, elevation, design styles, furnishings, fabrics, sustainable design, color theory, 3D models LOTS of presentation and communication skills. This course incorporates regular field visits, We call it learning from the MASTERS. This is the core of our offerings
Our other offerings include : Auto Cad; an industry must, SketchUp, Kitchen and Bath design, photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign, Business & Entrepreneurship Fundamentals, Intro to Commercial Design, Staging Design: fundamentals of building a staging business
Seattleite: How would you describe the interior design industry in Seattle?
Stephanie: Seattle is the top city in the country for Interior Design. The housing market is hot in all the surrounding cities in Seattle. Seattle is ranked among the top 10 cities to live in the country- which makes it ideal for interior designers. Seattle is flush with this growing Industry.
Seattleite: What is the USP of the Heritage School of Interior Design?
Stephanie: Everything you need and nothing you don’t. Rooted in the design community and a legacy of successful graduates. Gets you a career in 6 months without debt.
Seattleite: Does someone need a mandatory design background to enroll here?
Stephanie: No, they do not need a design background to be enrolled in the school. They do need a passion for design.
Seattleite: How does the new address (SDC in Georgetown) for the Heritage School of Interior Design help the students on a practical level?
Stephanie: SDC is the perfect place for students to attend design school for so many reasons: being surrounded by successful designers, access to showrooms full of furnishing for the students to learn product knowledge, networking with industry leaders, access to industry events and so much more. Internship opportunities are plentiful as well.
Heritage School of Interior Design | 5701 6th Ave S., Seattle | (503) 292 – 3343