It’s a common story for creatives the world over: go to school, get a job and use your art as a hobby or side job. For Anthony Ritter, it was exactly what he was brought up to do.
“I was raised to be left brained,” he said from his Fondren showroom and design studio, GLO. “But I always wanted to be a right. I was told to go to college and get a job.” His creative passion was not an option. “But, I’ve always been able to turn nothing into something.”
The 48 year-old Jackson native has made something of a creative career, a place he certainly didn’t start from.
“When I first got into the interior business, I worked as a full-time registered nurse for several years,” he explained. “I worked ‘seven on and seven off’ and had a design client waiting list.”
Ritter said the switch came as he began to pile too much on his proverbial plate and had to decide. “Friends would say, ‘Of course, we’ve been waiting for you to do this,’ but my family was saying, ‘Wait, you’ve been to college and worked in administrative nursing.’ One day, I decided I could do design full-time and have never ever had one moment of regret.”
Ritter has been a design consultant for 22 years, 18 of those full time. His first job was with Tommy Goodman and Max Furniture in the mid 90’s, at one time on Pear Orchard Road and later, in Fondren Corner. “I was compensated well for the risk I was taking because I was already producing so much,” Ritter said.
And it was Goodman who always encouraged his talent. “I always thought of going back to school for design but Tommy used to ask why I would do that when I was the most successful of anybody that worked there,” he laughed.
When Goodman and Ritter parted ways in 2007, he made the decision to open GLO, a full service design studio, working with homeowners and contractors. The first location, under the hill in Woodland Hills Shopping Center, is still used as storage and receiving. GLO’s current studio opened in June 2012.
From design services to high-profile event planning, Ritter has settled into his nichÃ© as a respected talent. His staff includes nine, with four being design consultants or interior designers. Each comes with their own aesthetic. “I have a look and people consider me modern,” he says. “We have some who have more classic tastes or more colorful tastes.” Some would call GLO’s in-between style ‘transitional.’ Ritter sees it as the perfect connection between old and new.
Step inside GLO and find modern furnishings, an extensive custom fabric and wall covering library and pieces inspired by Ritter’s own personal style. “Anything in nature,” he responds when asked what he finds beautiful. “Plants, flowers, anything alive and colorful.”
Ritter will buck a trend if that look doesn’t work for a client. He says highly stylized magazines often give a false sense of what’s “in,” citing his two rules of design. “Functional and comfortable are always in style,” he explains. “You see something beautiful, but then you think, ‘Can I maintain that?’”
For someone with two dogs and two children, for example, Ritter said an all white living room will never work. “My clients want beauty but don’t want to worry all the time,” he said. “That is most important. If a rug gets a horrible stain, there’s no joy for anyone.”
For 2014, Ritter says navy blue is big. But don’t let that dictate your own space. “I try to find out what the client likes. If you love a color, you’ll always love that color. That’s, for me, what’s always in style.”
GLO is located in the Woodland Hills Shopping Center on Duling Avenue.