Seize Real Power

Today’s idea of power is misguided. Too many times power is used to buy stuff and control people. I have always believed that true power lies in choice. When you have choices you have power.

Custom home building might seem like it is all about buying stuff. It can be. Many of the problems that led us to the recent housing collapse were rooted in buying things we couldn’t afford. There is no power in this.

However, custom home building can also be a lovely artistic endeavor and about creating a unique place for your family.

If you believe that power lies in choice, then preserving your choices should be a top priority. When working through the process of designing and building a custom home it seems like everyone is trying to spare you from making all of those hard choices. The architect might choose finishes for you and tell you there are no other acceptable choices. The builder might tell you this is the only acceptable way to build this. What you really want is a team that is going to give you options that lead you to making the best choice for you. This is empowering.

In my practice, I think of myself as a more of a shepherd than a director. I listen to all of my clients’ dreams and ideas and in return present them with options in ways that make it all come together. I guide rather than push and leave the true power in the client’s hands. My role is to bring you the options and facts and let you make the choice.

A few years ago, Elizabeth came to me having already bought the last lot left in the entire town where she wanted to live. It was basically a short cliff that sloped right into her back neighbor’s house. The complicated design process included a structural engineer, excavation, increased exterior materials, increased framing costs, and additional landscaping. A previous architect and multiple builders had told her it wasn’t worth it without getting any information.

The house she now loves cost my client $40,000 more than it would have on a traditional lot, a price she was aware of and chose to pay. This project was successful, in part, because Elizabeth and I worked together to understand her options and she was fully informed. I didn’t tell her we couldn’t do it. I told her what it would cost if she chose to go forward. The real power was in Elizabeth’s hands, where it belonged.

I have been blessed with having wide open choices my entire life. I chose to become a female architect. I chose to start my own practice and work at home. I chose to live my life where, how and with whom I like. Not all choices were easy and some of my options were limited, but I seized the power and I don’t regret it.

Are you honoring your power of choice? Not necessarily for a new home, but in everyday life? Everyone has wide open choices. Work through whatever is running in your head and holding you back. Go for it.

- Sheri

When you're ready to seize the power, click here learn how to start your custom home project.


As Founder and Principal Architect of Springhouse Architects, Sheri’s mission is to lead Clients through the building process with the Clients in control and Springhouse as their guide, advocate and ally.  With over twenty years experience in Residential Architecture, Sheri brings knowledge and confidence to your custom home project.

Lisa Saldivar