After Ralph “Raphael” DeVito completed his service as a Marine in the South Pacific he
worked in the Mill Yard at Danersk Furniture. With his skills he quickly worked his way up to foreman. Working side by side with over 80 European craftsmen. The owners closed the business after 40 years when they and there craftsmen were getting older. Leaving Danersk Furniture, Ralph was able to acquire many of the original Danersk furniture blue prints and finishing information.
In 1952, Ralph and a partner opened Stamford Craftsmen, restoring antique furniture and constructing high quality antique furniture reproductions.
In 1959 Ralph went on his own and opened up “Raphael’s Furniture”, the same year his son Mark was born. Ralph always had shown Mark the ways with tools and working with projects. After school starting when Mark was in 7th grade, Ralph would send Mark to work with the hand-full of Danersk craftsmen who at that time worked out of there basements for experience in repairing, wood turning, inlay, veneer, finishing, upholstery, cabinetry and reproduction.
Mark DeVito, joined the firm in 1975, which had by then expanded to
Raphael’s Furniture Restoration. In 1980, Mark worked one week end with bill Keck, a Master gilder and restorer for the Philadelphia Museum Combining his skills with gilding Mark started to take on restoration of gold leaf frames and art work. Since Ralph’s retirement in 1984, Mark has continued the tradition of these craftsmen, as the owner of Raphael’s Furniture Restoration that has now been caring for antique furniture for 57 years.
Mark’s work has been recognized by the media, such as in The Westport News 1981 newspaper article entitled, “Restorers: An Endangered Species.” In the summer of 1992, Channel 12 television news interviewed Ralph and Mark about their restoration business. In 1998, an article in The Advocate detailed the history of Raphael’s.
In 2001, the Bishop Lori thanked Mark’s voluntary restoration work of the Stations of the Cross at St. Mary’s Church in Stamford, CT, where he dedicated over 900 hours of his free time restoring 4 Stations that had been watered damaged back to the original condition. (The work to the Stations of the Cross had since been painted over).
In 2005, the City of Stamford thanked Mark for his restoration of a horse-drawn carriage that belonged to John Hoyt, one of Stamford’s earliest residents. The horse-drawn carriage has since disappeared. “I restored that stage-coach thinking what an amazing historic piece this is for the City of Stamford. John Hoyt funded the railroad that ran from NYC to New Haven.”
Today you can catch Mark the “Furniture Guru” on the set of Flea Market Flip on HGTV and Great American Country.