OA Design + Build Remodeler

Michael Anschel, Beth Hendrickson, Scott Barsness, & Michelle Little

Art Meets Science

What mindset does one wish in a remodeler—left-brain or right-brain thinking? Well, the lucky clients of Michael Anschel get a two-fer. He studied ceramics “for fun” and botany with equal fascination. Marry art and science and you come up with the unique design-build capabilities offered by Otogawa-Anschel.

Fascinated by restoration, Michael launched his remodeling business 20 years ago, attracting clients to his start-up via intriguing ads. That cleverness soon translated into a reputation for “very detailed, intricate, colorful work”—primarily on the area’s Victorian belles. But his reputation for highly original creations has also attracted homeowners of everything from modest pre-war dwellings to country farmhouses.

Ask about his niche, and he makes clear, like every aspect of the firm, it’s unique—mostly high-end renovations, but not exclusively: “I’ve a strong feeling that it’s important to maintain relationships with the entire community and be supportive of it”—so, lots of $800,000 projects but also a share of $70,000 kitchens and $35,000 baths.

And—unique again—they’re green. Michael led the development of the Minnesota Green Star program, which spans from process and materials to health, land and energy use. It’s not only what he believes in, he says, it’s also the trend, spreading from Whole Foods to the whole house. Plus, he declares, “going green doesn’t pre-empt good design and creative approaches.”

His approach to a project is, once again, unique. “Sure, every homeowner comes in with ideas, but our team also looks at how they dress, their car, the art in their house they surround themselves with, to draw inspiration. And”—here comes the ceramics input—“we marry the form with the functionality of the space.