The history of Keller begins, as so many things often do, with the dream of one person. The year is 1935. Parquet flooring isn’t necessarily something one thinks of straight away when kitchen design comes to mind. But, back then, kitchens required wood and lots of it. And nobody knew their way around wood like Gerard Keller.
This was no mere coincidence; the son of a Rotterdam carpenter, Gerard grew up watching his father create the most beautiful and most functional pieces of furniture around. For the Kellers, woodworking was just a fact of life.
Gerard, partnered with his brother Henk, kicked things off by importing parquet floors for their new wood trading business. It wasn’t long before they decided to take things further by starting to manufacture the boards themselves. This allowed the Keller brothers to create flooring that matched their own high standards, setting the trend for exceptional quality and close customer collaboration that the Keller brothers would continue to honour for as long as their business thrived.
Then came the Second World War.
Lumber was scarce, along with pretty much everything else. Times were hard, and it became virtually impossible to produce parquet floors. This is where Keller’s adaptability and penchant for innovation really took root. Gerard and Henk started to manufacture and sell furniture made from railway sleepers – certainly an unorthodox solution, but one that made their product sturdy and affordable.
Such creativity would not go unnoticed. With the war over, the Keller brothers were approached by Bredero’s Construction Company, a highly successful and forward-thinking building firm. Bredero’s had done business with the Kellers in the past and recognised them as reliable partners with a real eye for excellence. Not to mention, the Kellers’ wartime inventiveness had impressed them.
Now, riding the wave of a post-war boom, Bredero’s was busy rebuilding. New homes needed new kitchens, and who better to approach than the Keller brothers?
The commission was simple, yet daunting: supply 1,000 kitchens. The Kellers had never built a kitchen before, but their past success with parquet floors gave Bredero’s complete confidence in their success; and the brothers utilised this trust to tackle the challenge head-on. Working closely with Bredero’s staff, the Kellers went on to produce a masterpiece – the first ever Keller kitchen.
And from there, the only direction was up.
The newly-established Keller Kitchens had their competition but were quick to make a name for themselves. Luxury kitchens became the focus of the company, with displays at trade exhibitions in Toronto and Brussels successfully spreading word of Keller’s competence and merit.
Keller went from strength-to-strength, experiencing wild success and rapid growth in the 1960s. They were becoming so successful, in fact, that they found themselves frequently and repeatedly upgrading to larger and larger manufacturing facilities just to meet demand. Eventually, production moved to a small city named Roosendaal, where it remained for over 40 years.
As the 1970s came along, kitchens began to get more luxurious. Keller now led the way by offering boundless options in styles, colours, finishes, and materials for consumers. The 1980s saw another round of expansion, with Keller exporting kitchens to locations further afield, such as the Middle East and United Kingdom.
Now, Keller thrives as one of Europe’s premier kitchen manufacturers. In their state-of-the-art facility in the city of Bergen op Zoom (of course they had to upgrade again), 2,500 kitchens are produced every week. Shipping to satisfied customers worldwide, Keller continues to uphold their passion for making beautiful kitchens attainable.
Quite the feat for the son of a Rotterdam carpenter.
Keller is now well known for offering the widest range of colours (1950 NCS) and finishes in the kitchen furniture market and is proud to have been a carbon neutral kitchen manufacturer since 2017 and has taken the next step to becoming carbon negative.
For further information, please visit www.kellerkitchens.com.