Soon after he was awarded Big50 in 1989, Anthony John Bellomo says he realized, “that as far as remodeling goes, we'd arrived at where we wanted to be. I had accomplished a goal and felt it was time to move on.” Bellomo's Black Forest Building Co., Mt. Clemens, Mich., had been doing design/build high-end remodeling projects that were “artsy and unusual,” he says, as well as landscaping, gazebos, and parks for municipalities. He had focused on relationship-building with clients, listening intently to who they were and trying to do something that would elevate their quality of life.

The deeply spiritual Bellomo, a sculptor and painter who taught art for 12 years before becoming involved in remodeling, always wanted to build churches. His desire to find a way to Christianize his work moved him to open A.J. Bellomo Studios (, an arm of Black Forest that focuses on religious designs. He recently finished an extensive church renovation that includes a central altarpiece — a 9-foot bronze sculpture with etched glass. He has a stable of fine artists and hires them just as he would hire trade subcontractors on a remodeling job.

Black Forest still does remodeling, and Bellomo is happy to have successfully melded his construction skills with his spiritual desires.