"LUXURY IS THE PRODUCT OF A JOB WELL DONE."
At Marshall Erb Design, we pride ourselves on our ability to create personalized environments unique as our clients.
Principal & Lead Interior Designer
From an early age, Marshall Erb displayed a remarkable gift for creating spaces with heart and intention. After graduating from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, he hung out his shingle tout de suite, launching his eponymous firm in 1998. Today, from his finely appointed studio on Grand Avenue in West Town, Erb continues to translate his passion for design into a thriving business that boasts a diverse mix of local, national and international clients (many of whom are repeat clients). Singled out for his attention to detail and easygoing nature—and a knack for eliminating the stress often associated with construction and design projects—Erb brings an architect’s eye to all of his projects, working from the ground up to realize his clients’ distinctive visions.
From new construction to whole house renovation and remodeling, Erb has a flair for honing in on a client’s aesthetic and taking it to the next level—all the while leveraging the best in technology, techniques, and vendor platforms to ensure deadlines are met and the finishes are flawless. The result? Timeless designs that balance both scale and proportion with function and comfort. Plus, Erb is an expert at sourcing art, antiques, and textiles, making him a master at creating carefully curated rooms that are a reflection of an owner’s taste and lifestyle. And because custom architecture, design, and fabrication is all in a day’s work, Erb always goes the extra mile to deliver furniture and millwork to match any space or period.
Marshall’s work has been featured in Traditional Home, Luxe, Chicago Tribune, CS Interiors, Décor, Renovation Style, and Sophisticated Living Magazine, among others. He has been lauded as one of the Top 10 Interior Designers in Chicago by Decorilla and a Top Influencer by Fixr.com. Additionally, he earned a spot on Traditional Home’s 20 Young Designers to Watch list, the Merchandise Mart’s Ones to Watch list, and the LUXE Gold List. And most recently, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) bestowed its ASID Illinois award for Contract by Small Firm to Marshall Erb Design for its contemporary-yet-timeless take on the offices of Sweeney Scharkey & Blanchard.
Bachelor of Architecture (BArch); Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
American Society of Interior Decorators (ASID)
LUXE, Décor, Renovation
Office Manager & Executive Assistant
From small town Indiana to DePaul University, Vincent Baer was always seeking out creative outlets and opportunities to impact the communities he cares about. As early as high school, he was diving headfirst into community service, donating his time to Key Club (a student-led organization committed to making the world a better place through service) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. At DePaul, while tackling a double major (Public Relations/Advertising and Art Design), Baer cut his teeth on Chicago’s real estate scene working for Private Holding Group—a property management company with clients across Chicagoland—advocating for owners’ needs, upholding the association’s rules and regulations, and vetting vendors to address structural and internal demands.
In 2016, a freelance graphic design gig led Baer to an executive assistant post for a high-profile interior designer. “I was managing her privately owned luxury properties along with her business and personal needs,” says Baer. “It entailed biding out brokers for buying and selling properties in New York, California, Florida and Chicago, assisting in managing her house staff at the properties’ locations, and making sure her busy life remained as stress-free as possible.” But after four years, Baer was craving a more creative path, and threw his hat in the ring for the office manager position at Marshall Erb Design. And, ultimately, it was his big heart and management chops that prompted Erb to bring him on board in 2020. “I’m excited to be at a boutique firm, immersed in a creative environment where there’s the potential for me to take on more design responsibilities down the road,” says Baer, who is currently managing MED’s invoicing, financials, client proposals and team scheduling. Off the clock, Baer lives in Lakeview with his beloved rescue pup, Taz, and mentors families through Refugee One.
Assistant Designer & Project Manager
Sometimes interior design finds you. Growing up in Akron, Ohio, a young Casey Contes was tasked with designing her childhood bedroom. Unlike her brother and two sisters, who took the project less seriously, Casey jumped at the charge—and began obsessively assembling a three-ring binder with paint swatches and carpet samples. Fast forward 25 years, with a BFA in Interior Architecture from Kent State University under her belt, and Contes is bringing that same brand of gusto to Marshall Erb Design as the team’s newest member. And with more than eight years of experience working in high-end residential, and a feature in Architectural Digest worthy of a shoutout, she’s proving to be a powerhouse asset and rising star.
A passionate furniture refurbisher, Contes has an eye for antiques, a skill she honed while interning as a furniture designer for Dock 6 collective and RX Made at the ReBuilding Exchange. “I love Mid-Century pieces. I love finding pieces that people have overlooked or thrown out—and then stripping the wood, refinishing it, and bringing it back to life,” says Contes. “And I’m not afraid to put in 10 hours of elbow grease if that’s what it takes.” She’s also an avid painter who frequents classes at Lillstreet Art Center to better her craft. In her role at MED as Interior Designer/Project Manager, that marriage of intense work ethic and raw creativity is already serving her well as she dives in on client presentations, furniture selection, and schematics.
“I’ve had my eye on Marshall’s work for a while, and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team,” adds Contes. “His work has this way of being timeless but still modern. You can look back on his projects from 10 years ago and they’re still beautiful and current.” And in case you were wondering, she’s still known to have a three-ring binder tucked under her arm, filled with sketches and inspirational tears. “I have no idea what I would be doing if I wasn’t doing interior design. It’s my passion and makes up a huge part of who I am.”
Assistant Designer & Project Manager
Porter has been passionate about design since childhood. As a young girl growing up in Libertyville, when her friends wanted to play Barbies—brushing their hair and changing their outfits—she was busy making custom curtains and duvet covers for her Barbie Dream Home. Fast forward 15 years, and those formative flashes were informing her higher education. In 2014, Porter graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in interior design. “In school, I focused mostly on commercial and larger hospitality design,” says Porter, “But somehow I always knew that residential was where I would land. I like the personal aspect of it—forming personal connections with the clients and having an impact on their day-to-day lives.”
To that end, Porter interned at Fredman Design Group followed by four years at JP Interiors, where she worked firsthand on residential projects in Chicago and its suburbs, as well as in Philadelphia, Nantucket and Palm Springs. Then, in 2018, ready for professional growth, Porter jumped on a job opportunity at Marshall Erb Design. “I had been following Marshall’s work closely for years, and was always floored by his attention to detail,” says Porter. “Here, I’ve been able to flex my muscles, managing projects and working one-on-one with clients—and translating their personalities into personalized design.” And now, with more than seven years of high-end residential interiors experience under her belt, Porter supports Erb with vendor relations, design drawing, sourcing, project tracking and final installs. Porter lives in Downers Grove with her fiancé, Jonathan, but loves coming downtown every day for work. “It’s pretty incredible to be at the epicenter of design in the birthplace of modernism,” adds Porter, “and to witness how our city’s history is influencing the future of its design.”
AREAS OF SPECIALTY
Residential & Commercial Design