Category: History

Throwback Thursday…Our History!

Throwback Thursday! Today we are sharing our company (and family) history!
At the turn of the 21st Century, Mitchell Littfin created Littfin Design. In reality, the Littfin Design spirit has been a part of the Littfin Family for over 175 years.
Back in the mid-1800s, the Littfin Family emigrated from Germany to the United States of America. Coming from a small German town to America invigorated Johann Littfin, who took his hard-working spirit on a long journey toward the Midwest.
As he made his way West, Johann became a logger in the woods of Eastern Wisconsin. Mitchell Littfin’s great-great-great-grandfather quickly became a skilled woodworker. He was given the important task of designing and creating giant bobsleds and lumber skids to help bring out increasingly larger loads of timber from the Northern Woods. His rising reputation afforded him a solid and loyal clientele.
Thanks to his irreproachable work ethics and his amazing skills, his work was appreciated far beyond the Northern Woods. Johann decided to set up shop in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. There, his renown allowed him to flourish and become a prosperous carpenter, building sleds and developing his carpentry aptitudes.
Unfortunately, Johann’s booming enterprise was destructed when a fire broke out in Oshkosh in 1871. The entire town was left in ashes. Not one to be defeated, Johann Littfin took this tragic event as a sign that he needed to continue on his journey westward.
With determination, Johann made his way to Minnesota.
Upon entering an area known as the Land of the Big Woods, Johann felt without a doubt that this was where he needed to establish his homestead. Johann took residence on the Northeastern end of Lake Winsted. He built a new home and tended to the good farmland he had stumbled upon with the help of his wife and their 11 children.
While Johann was content with his new farming venture, his oldest son John took a liking to woodworking. John was a natural and quickly mastered the principles of carpentry. He built many homes along the shores of Lake Winsted, helping form a town revolving around the edges of the water and woods. The Winsted Catholic Church of the Holy Trinity would not be the beacon it is now without the talents of the young John Littfin. In addition to many homes for area residents, John built his own home as well as the Parish Home.
John’s brother Leonard took on farming with his dad Johann. Leonard, Mitchell Littfin’s great-grandfather, was an enterprising farmer, but woodworking was his true love. Working in the forest, among the trees and the lumber mills, was where Leonard was most happy. He passed this passion along to his children, and in particular his son John.
Young John Littfin grew up with stories of his grandfather traversing the woods and building machinery to help move lumber. John was fascinated by the family’s history and decided to follow in his uncle’s John’s footsteps. Young John became a carpenter, and many homes in the Winsted area were built by John and his team. By the time the 1960s rolled around, a vast majority of the homes in Winsted, Minnesota had been built by John Littfin.
John’s son Jerome, Mitchell Littfin’s father, grew up learning how to build homes with an eye for perfection and detail. Jerome, who went by Jerry, learned the coveted carpentry skills that had been the lifeblood of the Littfin Family for generations. Jerry lent a hand when needed and never shied away from work. He became a skilled woodworker, and after a few years, he owned the hardware store in Winsted. In addition to the usual hardware products, Jerry also offered a lumber yard.
It is in this very lumber yard that Mitchell realized that woodworking and architectural design were in his blood. His love for construction and building was unwavering.
As a child, Mitchell was often called upon to crawl into attics to help with insulation work. He would help Jerry with stacking and loading lumber. Mitchell watched his father and soon learned from him intricate woodworking techniques. A hardworking teenager, Mitchell realized early on that building someone else’s vision was not enough. He wanted to be involved hands-on with the design process.
Mary, Mitchell’s mother, helped broaden his horizons with her artistic personality. She pushed him to learn about Art and Design. She taught him how to paint and draw, and she instilled in him a passion for observing, studying and envisioning woodworking.
From a young age, Mitchell knew he had to find a way to combine his love for construction and his passion for art. A chance event would help Mitchell fulfill his wish.
During a trip to his Godparents cabin up north, Mitchell saw two magazines that were filled with architectural plans. His Godparents had thought about building a new home and brought along the magazines to do some research. With a driven focus, Mitchell studied the magazines from cover to cover, reading every word of every page. With an innate talent for design, Mitchell was able to visualize the two-dimensional floorplans he was observing, naturally understanding how the home would flow and what the rooms would look like. Reading the plans came easily for Mitchell, who was able to see how these homes would come together once built.
Mitchell recalls spending a lot of time studying those two magazines. Seeing their Godson intently devouring the magazines, they allowed him to take the magazines home. To this day, Mitchell keeps these two magazines close-by in his office.
The car ride home from the Northern Minnesota Woods that weekend was decisive for Mitchell. He knew in that moment that he wanted to design homes.
Looking back at that fateful weekend in the North Woods, Mitchell had a revelation much like his ancestors before him. It is in the woods that Mitchell felt his connection with building and designing.
After attending Holy Trinity High School in Winsted, Mitchell went on to receive an education in Architectural Design and Drafting, graduating with an Associate’s Degree and a Diploma in Architectural Design.
An opportunity presented itself soon after and Mitchell went on to work with a large national builder. He quickly became an indispensable asset to the company, managing their Division’s Architectural Department. Gaining new skills to design better homes and expanding his knowledge base exponentially, Mitchell learned how to efficiently manage the Design Process from beginning to end.
Over the span of 14 years, Mitchell worked with various builders, working his way up the ranks. He was given the responsibility to manage and design entire divisions throughout the country. His work was recognized from New York to California, and from Minnesota to Florida. His designs were used in many new home communities in the United States, and Mitchell learned new techniques and created cutting-edge, innovative designs.
After working in the industry for just over a decade, Mitchell Littfin can proudly say that his designs have been used to build over 15,000 homes, many of those in Minnesota. Mitchell describes that the elation he felt when families moved onto their Dream Home was always mitigated by a desire to do more.
While working with the national builders, Mitchell would occasionally get requests from friends and family to help them with their Projects, whether be it remodels, additions or new homes. Mitchell felt complete when helping someone realize their Dream. More than a cookie-cutter home, the people Mitchell worked with building their vision.
That connection to the homeowners brought Mitchell to the realization that his passion laid with working with individuals every step of the way. Developing custom homes that people could relate to was what Mitchell really wanted to do.
Much like his ancestor Johann before him, his reputation has been growing steadily, and business increased at a steady pace.
In 2016, after years of designing homes for which national builders received acclaim, Mitchell took a leap of faith and started Littfin Design.
Mitchell walked away from the big builders and built himself a cozy office near his home, in Winsted, Minnesota. He hasn’t looked back since. In his own words, Mitchell says, “I work with pride, striving to create plans and homes that my family and ancestors can be proud of, as they are the ones that did all the hard work to get me where I am today.”

September 15 – Winsted Veterans Memorial Inauguration

Winsted has been awaiting the inauguration of the Winsted Veterans Memorial for a few weeks, and it’s finally time!

On September 15, 2019, the memorial will be officially inaugurated as a part of our community, meant to honor all those who have bravely served and fought for our country

Littfin Design has been a part of the process from the beginning, and we are proud to present a few pictures we took over the course of the construction of the memorial.

It is important to remember that many people gave their time to see this project to full fruition. At times, the process was difficult, but the memories of those who gave everything for us kept everyone going.

We hope to see you on September 15th, so you can join us in thanking our troops!

© 2024 Littfin Design. All rights reserved.