We Have No Problems— Only Solutions
by Melissa LaScaleia
Eric Richards has always been passionate about being creative. He attended college interested in learning the craft of furniture building, but where he really excelled was in the realm of interior design.
“My teachers were blown away by my proficiency and I was too,” he says. “It just came naturally. How I got this gift, I don’t know, but I’m grateful I have it and I don’t take it for granted.”
He also obtained his general contracting license and became certified in green construction and green building practices— skills essential for his creation process. Eric sees architecture— including plumbing, hardware, electrical fixtures, and flooring— as integral components of interior design. When he began his own business, ER Home LLC, he decided to combine both the services of interior design and general contracting.
“Interior design is not as much about decorating as people believe,” he explains. “It’s about form and function— configuring a space and utilizing a space. But to get to that point, a lot of work has to be done in terms of architectural construction— the installation of things. I love doing those things.”
Eric has a vision for the home, and ER Home implements that vision from beginning to end working as an all-inclusive, multi-talented contractor. He and his team complete painting, wallpapering, flooring, tile work, custom furniture design and building, refurbishment, carpentry, kitchen remodeling, electrical, plumbing work, and decorating. If there’s something they don’t feel comfortable doing, they’ll pull from their library of qualified professionals to accomplish the job.
“People don’t have time to wait around for multiple contractors to get things done in a home,” Eric says. “So we pride ourselves on being able to give an expedited face-lift, if you will. Most of our clients are completed in a week to three weeks maximum, beginning to end.”
Additionally, Eric spent six months in San Francisco studying with a feng shui master.
“I was already implementing many of the feng shui practices in my designs for ER Home without being able to define them as such,” he explains. “Then, in the 90s, when feng shui became popular, I realized what I was doing and wanted to learn from a master. My studies gave me a confident understanding of the choices I was making. They allowed me to elaborate my visions and give my clients things they didn’t even know they wanted. It’s nothing I question now, it’s just second nature in how I design a space.
“We as humans think we see with our direct eye, but we actually see more with our peripheral vision. When we’re in nature, there’s a natural flow to it— that’s why you feel soothed. This same peripheral flow that exists in nature, I try to replicate in the home. Coming from the outside to inside and seeing a drastic change will confuse the eye.”
ER Home approaches interior design as a process that unfolds.
“The longer you’re personally in the home and around the clients,” he says, “the more they all speak to you. So the different layers will change throughout the process. Because of this, I don’t provide drafts or even sketches. There’s a psychology about working with clients and with design— you have to be able to use psychology to marry many different styles together— of husbands and wives, or partners.”
“My job is to take a client’s vision if they have one, improve it, expand it, and excel with it beyond what they can see in their minds,” he says in speaking more about the ER Home approach. “Most of my clients though, will come in and see something I’ve done, and say, ‘This is what I like, this is my budget, have at it.’
A lot of people have the idea that interior design is extremely costly. But Eric is a firm believer that in today’s market, beautiful things are readily available at a low cost. He and his clients create a budget and stick to it as closely as possible.
“If somebody has a budget of $200, I will give them the maximum they can get for $200,” he says. “If they have a budget of $200,000, they’ll be treated the same exact way. It’s really not about the amount of money as much as it is about what the client wants and needs. My favorite phrase for life and work is: ‘we have no problems, we only have solutions.’
“That is my daily quote for work and life. And I love it when my clients adopt it for themselves and I begin to hear them utilizing it in their daily lives.”
His financial accessibility and varied skills make ER Home a popular choice for those in Myrtle Beach and beyond. In the Market Common alone, over the past 6-7 years, his company has redesigned 72 homes. Many people hire him to consult with them about design as they are building their home.
Eric has also spent more than half of his career traveling— executing projects in Maine, NY, Boston, California, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Virginia. He completed the redesign for a Pulmonary Institute in Philadelphia last year, and just took on another medical facility in the same area.
For several years, he was the head designer for Lowes Motor Speedway, a multi-billion dollar racetrack venue in Charlotte, NC. Eric was responsible for designing their 5 star restaurant, glassed-in penthouse sweets, ballrooms, meeting rooms, boardrooms and harmonizing all the spaces together.
Fifteen years ago, Luxury Living, a high-end magazine, caught wind of ER Home and Eric’s talents and wanted to feature him in their Christmas edition.
“I had to decorate my house from top to bottom completely for Christmas in August,” he tells me. “It was a very large seventeen room house. And I had nine Christmas trees. Every room had a different theme. I loved it so much it stayed up until February. It was absolutely beautiful, I will never forget. I was pulling pieces from thrift stores, department stores, from clients, friends, and family; these were the days before the internet. And it was really so much fun. I love decorating for Christmas.”