When Kate Marker was a child she remembers the first stirrings of the Interior Decorator she would become.
“I would rearrange my bed room when I was a kid,” she said. “I was into the details.”
Her office and retail space, which is tucked into a small complex on Cook Street, demonstrates her ability to take austere surroundings and transform them into the kind of place where books are read, coffee is sipped and conversations savored.
The artful atmosphere reflects her education and experience in a concrete way.
“I’ve been in the design business for a little over ten years,” she said.
Two years into a Fine Arts degree path, Marker switched from that major to Interior Design at The Harrington College of Design School in Chicago, graduating in 2002. Her career began in sales at The Merchandise Mart and evolved as she worked with a firm specializing in high-end residential and kitchen design. When her children were younger, she worked part time and freelanced to create a flexible schedule.
In June she opened Kate Marker Interiors on Cook Street in Barrington.
“We design residential homes and some office and commercial spaces,” she said. “It’s really taken off. We’re really busy.”
A village of Barrington edict necessitated a new direction for Marker.
“The village says, if we’re going to take over first floor space, we needed to be retail. So, everything on the floor is for sale. I think that’s what makes us really unique in regards to Interior Design service."
“Someone can not work with us as a design service, but they can just come in here and purchase home decor and accessories,” she added. “We have catalogues and fabric samples; anything you can think of as far as design.”
There are drawers which contain the samples of color, fabric and texture being utilized in current projects, which customers can pull out for ideas. “People find it fun to come in and look through those drawers to see what kind of trends are happening,” Marker said.
The available merchandise is displayed in a home-like setting, as if a customer were choosing from a friend’s well-designed living room. “We set up the space so that it feels like a homey, comfortable space and everything’s for sale and we use it,” Marker said.
Marker's earlier aspirations as an artist also come into play when a one-of-a kind touch is needed to complete a décor. She has been known to roll up her sleeves and pull out her paint and brushes to create a finishing touch for clients.
Marker prides herself on her firm's ability to offer a wide range of services.
“We are very flexible and versatile and work with what the homeowner needs,” she said. Our firm can do anything from small paint colors to working with the builder doing new construction.”
“We do anything from really modern to traditional,” she continued. “We have really traditional farmhouse to southern traditional to really sleek and modern bachelor pads in the city. We use modern elements mixed with class lines and we throw some vintage pieces.
“We pull our clients style and, with our style, and come up with a great design,” she said.
Marker appreciates the intimacy of entering the client's most personal spaces to improve the surroundings and finds that aspect to be the most satisfying part of her job.
“My favorite part is the connection I get with the home owners because you’re going into their home and you’re meeting the family and figuring out the way they live,” March said. “You’re changing their lives-the way they function and the way that they live in their space. they way the enjoy time with their family and loved ones.”
Kate Marker Interiors
220 South Cook Street
312 . 493 . 7178