courtesy John DeCiantis

When DeCiantis Construction’s phone stopped ringing in January, owner John DeCiantis ( Big50 2001) decided to return to what he loved. “I set out 35 years ago working with my hands. I was more of an artist than a people manager,” he says. His Stonington, Conn., company had grown from just DeCiantis himself to 12 employees with a $2.5 million volume.

“The recession pushed me over the edge,” he says. Due to the economy, DeCiantis could not sell the company as he had planned.

Inspired by Jersey Devil Design/Build, a group of craftsmen that design and build unique projects around the country, DeCiantis decided to focus on three- to nine-month projects. Living in different areas of the country while working on these jobs will also fulfill his love of travel.

Under JSD Consulting, DeCiantis will design, manage, and fabricate projects for remodelers. He is currently working on a guest house/art garden structure in northern New England.

During the rest of the year, he will visit his two grown children and expand on a furniture-making hobby at his house in Merida, Mexico. “I don’t want to work that much, and without that overhead, I don’t have to. It’s an immensely freeing feeling. Every day is an adventure.”

—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.