Kevin Ritter, from a very early age, developed an appreciation for great patina and vibrant colors. During his formative years, the home in which he was raised was filled with painted furniture – country furniture finished with real milk paint. Pieces that had great patination and real wear.
Building country furniture with reclaimed wood and a distressed painted finish was the family business, so when Kevin got a bit older and could handle a hammer and saw, he was shown the ropes. He learned a great deal from his dad, including an eye for design.
As it is with most family businesses, the next generation learns the trade by working from the bottom up. As a result, Kevin wasn’t sold on building furniture as a livelihood – he needed more, so off to college he went to study biology. He earned his degree, but quickly figured out – three years and one rather interesting and tough job later – that biology was not where he wanted to be. The job, however, was on a fishing boat in Alaska; the words “Deadliest Catch” says it all.
In His Blood
At the time of his awakening, the desire for country furniture was nearing its peak. The family business was ready for Kevin’s return. Furniture was going out the door on a regular basis, and they had the opportunity to take on a couple of kitchens built with designs and finishes similar to the furniture they created. (Fig. 1)
Kevin was experienced, and ambitious, but he was hesitant about moving into kitchen work. He was concerned that tooling up to build complete kitchens would differ from how they built furniture, and that the shop size would be a constraint. The company, however, moved forward.
After a couple of kitchens were out to customers, kitchen-cabinet inquiries rolled in, so they rolled on. Kevin developed a passion for designing and building kitchens as furniture sales continued to grow. After five years, the time had come for the two divisions to separate. It was agreed that Kevin would move out on his own with the kitchen business while his dad kept the furniture business going. (Fig. 2)
Timeless Kitchen Cabinetry (TKC) began in Malvern, Penn. There Kevin built the business into a growing concern. Plus, his design ideas flourished as well. TKC built kitchens for homes from New England to Virginia to the Mid-West. It has kitchens featured in Old House Interiors, Early Homes and House Beautiful to name a few. Things were good, but …