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Meet Marshall Erb of Marshall Erb Design

Today we’d like to introduce you to Marshall Erb.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Marshall. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I have always been interested in buildings and interiors. I would sketch up floor plans for future homes and review them with my grandmother and aunt- both very stylish women with keen eyes for antiques and furniture. My aunt is an interior designer and we would discuss the various layouts and features of the homes I created. They fostered my interest in all forms of design and answered my never-ending questions about “how” and “why” things were constructed or why they were designed in a certain way. No visit to our childhood home was ever complete without a tour of Marshall’s room- at 12 years of age- to see what I had just added or redone. My mom would let me stay home from church if I would rearrange all the furniture in the living room while they were gone. I loved doing that!

Architecture was the obvious choice for a college major and I was lucky to attend Illinois Institute of Technology here in Chicago. The Miesian roots run deep in the curriculum with the technical aspects of construction fully considered yet finessed with an astute attention to detail and purity of form. This principle guides me today when working with clients. We consider how a space is to be used, how will it function, how is it constructed and what will it look like from the structure in.

Friends and family have always asked for my opinion on their home renovations and decor, and paid me for it. I can’t exactly pinpoint my first project. I worked on various decorating projects while in college and painted murals and did decorative finishes. I worked with several developers in the freshly minted “west loop” designing and running their design centers and outfitting model apartments. It was from this network that I met my first client, truly a patron, that hired me to completely design a penthouse in a new building in the west loop that was delivered as a raw space. This was 1998. Accounts were opened at the showrooms in the Merchandise Mart, and I was in business. It is amazing to realize that I have been doing what I love for nineteen years, but as the saying goes, “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am lucky to say that it has been a smooth road for me and my business.

I have learned to work with those that bring happiness to your day, whether vendor or client, because the end result always is better than when you have a difficult relationship.

I tell new clients that I really believe that “There is no such thing as a design emergency.” A good designer should be able to problem solve an issue and come up with several solutions. That is what we do best.

I tell clients to enjoy the process and don’t get too caught up on the schedule, the hiccups and the minutiae. The design process should be fun, we are creating “dream homes” for our clients, after all.

I think that our success has definitely come from our positive relationships with our clients over the years and much of our business is referral and now is becoming generational within the same families!

Please tell us about Marshall Erb Design Inc.
We specialize in high-end residential projects that involve new construction or major renovation. Our team works in concert with the architect, general contractor, landscape architect and other specialists to ensure that the design program is integrated throughout the project. I love integrating specialized lighting design, audio visual components and architectural details at an early stage so that the final result is seamless when furniture is finally delivered. While some interior design firms focus on paint, pillows and wallpaper- we specialize in complete, refined interior environments that incorporate all of our client’s needs and comforts.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I had a truly wonderful up bringing on our family’s farm in Naperville. I grew up the 6th generation in our 1847 farmhouse, studying the old hinges, door knobs, wavy glass windows with old iron weights in the frame. Friends would congregate at our farm, playing with the animals, driving around the roads and swimming in the pool. To pinpoint one moment of this 19 year period would be difficult as there were so many fond memories created there. We were lucky to have our grandparents nearby so I am especially fond of all the memories I have with them there.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Werner Straube
Nick Johnson

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6 Comments

  1. DEE SCHLAGEL

    October 18, 2017 at 12:27 am

    Am very proud of all that my nephew…Marshall Erb…has accomplished. He excels at design and brings joy and beauty to everything that he touches!!!!

  2. Catherine DiMauro

    October 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    No words to describe such beauty. Outstanding job. Just so inviting and magical. Xoxo

  3. Peggy & Pete

    October 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Marshall’s designs are stunning! Enjoy seeing his before and after projects on-line and in print!

  4. Kathy (Keroson) Henzler

    October 20, 2017 at 3:20 am

    Such sophistication, elegance. Marshall you’ve come a long way from living down on the farm in Naperville, even if I do miss the Erb cart-pulling ponies in local parades! Congratulations on your success.

  5. Jan Callahan

    October 20, 2017 at 12:11 pm

    Marshall takes my breath away!! What a talented, fun person I am proud to call friend…never doubted where his gifts would take him. I fondly remember the awesomeness of his room on the farm, commenting to his Mom, “He did NOT do this by himself!!!”

  6. Denise Erb

    November 3, 2017 at 2:39 am

    Always knew from a very young age that Marshall was going
    to do great things . He is certainly doing what he loves and thrives
    on his never ending creativity ..So proud to say “that’s my son” !

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