The Offerings of Creative Design Genius Eric Richards
by Melissa LaScaleia
Eric Richards is a man with a vision and a passion for making that vision happen. When I caught up with him last, he was at home preparing a taco salad.
“Do you mind if I cook while we talk?” he asked. Then proceeded to expound enthusiastically on the ingredients he had selected for his dish— avocado, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and the dressing he was whipping up to accompany it all— as well as accompanying Martini.
For Eric, in life and in his work as owner of his interior design company, ER Home, there are no problems, only solutions. And all is approached with passion, drive, and full engagement. This is not a philosophy that is difficult for him to achieve, as he has always had a true gift for interior design, and a true penchant for positivity.
“In college, my teachers were blown away by my proficiency in design 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. I meet the most amazing people and I’m able to help them and most of the time, change their lives.”
To Eric, interior design is not as much about decorating as it is about form and function.
“It’s about configuring a space and best utilizing a space to suit people’s lifestyle needs,” he says. “But to get to that point, a lot of work has to be done in terms of architectural construction and the installation of things. That’s work that I love doing.”
To help him do it, Eric acquired every skill set involved in design, including: painting, wallpapering, flooring, tile work, custom furniture design and building, refurbishment, carpentry, kitchen remodeling, electrical, plumbing, and decorating. Today, ER Home is a one-stop-shop for all your home refurbishment needs. Eric even draws upon his studies with feng shui.
“We as humans think we see with our direct eye, but we actually see more with our peripheral vision,” he explains. “When we’re in nature, there’s a natural flow to it— that’s why you feel soothed. I try to replicate that flow in the home. My studies in feng shui 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.”
For more than half of his thirty-year career, Eric has been traveling the country executing design projects small and large. He completed the redesign for two medical facilities in Philadelphia; and for several years he was the designer for Lowes Motor Speedway, a multi-billion dollar racetrack venue in Charlotte in which he designed their five-star restaurant, glassed-in penthouse sweets, ballrooms, meeting rooms, and boardrooms. Luxury Living magazine featured him in their Christmas-design edition, for which Eric decorated his sprawling seventeen-room house from top to bottom in August.
Since last year, Eric’s most requested design projects are bathrooms and kitchens.
“It’s so much fun for me,” he says. “I really love doing those types of projects.”
Eric’s success isn’t just due to his inherent talent and skills, it’s also thanks to the thoughtful way he works with his clients. He takes a lot of time to understand their needs, to make the design make sense for their lifestyle.
“The longer you’re personally in the home and around the clients, the more they all speak to you. So the different layers will change throughout the process,” he says.
“There’s a psychology about working with clients and with design— you have to be able to marry many different styles together— of husbands and wives, or partners, and make the space work for them.
“Many people move here with their treasures and don’t know what to do with them, how to incorporate furniture or mementos that have meaning to them into their new lifestyle and home’s style.
“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 mind.”
Despite how much time, thoughtfulness, and energy ER Home invests in each project, and often the extensiveness of what they undertake, they still complete most projects in 1-3 weeks maximum, and for a budget that works for their clients.
Eric is a firm believer that in today’s market, beautiful things are readily available at a low cost.
“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.”
And now, one lucky person along the Grand Strand will get to experience Eric’s talents for free, firsthand in their own home.
From now until July 15, ER Home, in partnership with the Coastal Insider and Real Living Home Realty Group, is running a contest and giving away a $5000 room makeover for any one room in your house. All contestants in Horry County are eligible, and no room is off-limits.
To compete for the prize, submit a wishlist of what you want to happen for that one room and why. The winner will be announced in August, followed by a consultation with Eric. Work will commence in September.
“My vendors have all been notified and are all ready and prepared to see what the winner’s needs are— everything from flooring to paint and accessories,” Eric says.
“There’s no specific criteria to be met for the contest,” he adds. “But we’re taking everything into consideration. The most moving entry, the one who wants it the most, the one who needs it the most. Everything is relevant. We’ll have a panel of three judges representing each organization of sponsors, that will go over the submissions and decide together who the winner will be.”
Eric found a quote he posted on his Instagram page that he feels adequately sums up his job description. It reads as such:
Interior designer: someone who solves a problem you didn’t know you had in a way you don’t understand. See also, wizard, magician.
“I’ve been referred to several times on Next Door as the Wizard of Market Common,” Eric says with a laugh.
We’ve seen his magic at play, and couldn’t agree more.
ER Home LLC and The $5000 Room Makeover Giveaway.