Document Your Custom Home Project at Every Stage

Custom home building is a long process and you will want to document every stage of construction. To make that simpler for my clients, I'm launching an app called Nester.

Clients will be able to photograph and journal about every milestone and, when their home is complete, publish their memories into a beautiful hard cover book as a keepsake.

Once your custom home design is complete, there are basically five stages of construction and a series of things you can reliably expect at each stage. Here's how I usually explain the process.

1. Groundbreaking and Foundation

This stage involves clearing the land, breaking ground and all the work required for a solid foundation. Be patient with Mother Nature, you want this done right. It doesn’t seem like much now, but when your house is there forever, it will be interesting to look back at the raw lot.

2. Framing

Framing is mostly done in wood and starts with flooring systems, then structural walls and the roof. This phase goes fast and is very exciting – you can begin to imagine living in your house. Take lots of pictures of that wooden skeleton against the blue sky and don’t miss the day they “fly” the roof trusses.

3. Systems

Plumbing, electric, HVAC, each system in your house will be installed by a separate subcontractor. This phase can be a little boring but it's very important. These are things that "work" in your home. Documentation is the emphasis of your pictures now, so make sure you label the pictures now so you can identify them later.

4. Finishes: Interior and Exterior

All those finishes and colors that you spent hours deliberating over are finally coming together. You will shop for faucets and light fixtures, countertops and trim, tile and carpet – everything including the kitchen (and bathroom) sinks! Enjoy and photograph everything coming together.

5. Move In

Of course, this is the goal everyone has been working toward. Take some time to photograph the few things that still need to be finished (there are always a few). Once you are settled and decorated, it’s time to relax – and invite me to the housewarming party!

I’m not a builder. I don’t control any of the building process. I can, however, help you keep things on track, help you make timely decisions, and help you communicate effectively with the cast of characters that put your house together.

Watch for the launch of Nester coming this summer. Learn more about the custom home building process in my new book: Dream, Inspire, Design: What a Residential Architect Wants to Tell You about the Custom Home Process.


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