Sarah’s and Matt’s Modern Farmhouse Dream Home Build Diary

Hello, we’re Matt and Sarah, two Oregonians who have always wanted to build their own home! We’re sharing our photo diary that documents our Renaissance custom home build in Lake Oswego. We still have a couple of months to go, so feel free to follow along with us on Instagram at @firwood.farmhouse.

When Sarah and Matt started their home search last year, going the custom route wasn’t on their radar. They each owned their own homes and were looking for a larger floor plan with an open layout and good use of space.

“We weren’t initially looking to build our own home. We knew it was something we wanted to do but thought it would happen in the future,” said Sarah.

But at the suggestion of their real estate agent, they began researching custom builders in the Portland area. Having grown up with families that had built custom homes of their own, Sarah and Matt loved the idea of building from the ground up but understood the complexities and challenges of hiring a separate architect and contractor. Building with Renaissance Custom Homes allows families all the benefits of creating a custom home without the spiraling costs and stress of contracting with separate design and build firms.

“We loved that the Renaissance custom program allowed us to build a fully custom home, and it also helped streamline the process and decision making,” said Matt.

Making plans (and dreams come true)!

Matt and Sarah toured several completed Renaissance homes and were immediately drawn to the Turner plan, a two-story modern farmhouse-style home with four bedrooms, four baths, and bonus room, and den/office.

“We love how it has this grand feeling about it but is also very livable. There’s really no wasted space in the layout,” said Sarah.

They envision the included covered outdoor living space to be a favorite feature throughout the year. An added fireplace and heaters will keep them warm and comfortable in the evenings and colder seasons.

Inspiration and mood boards—so many choices and things to consider!

Making your home’s personalization selections is often one of the most appealing parts about building a custom home, but it can also be overwhelming. That’s where the Renaissance Homes Design Studio comes in and makes it all easy and fun. Our talented duo of design experts worked with Sarah and Matt to make their home reflect their personalities and lifestyle.

“Pam and Lynnette are very calm and have a great energy,” said Sarah.

They drew inspiration from their tours of the Renaissance Homes Street of Dreams home and Turner model and made modifications. Visiting completed homes is a wonderful way to see specific design selections and color palettes at scale to better envision how they may look in your own home.

Demo day!

Sarah and Matt purchased a nearly half-acre piece of land in Lake Oswego. The flat site includes lovely trees, plenty of space for their golden doodle Tuzz to roam, and . . . an older home. Sometimes property with an existing structure can be more cost effective than purchasing undeveloped land, even after demolition costs. If the land is in an established neighborhood, you can take advantage of existing infrastructure and utility access that can speed up the project and reduce costs. Every lot is different, so hiring an experienced builder is so important to help determine feasibility. Sarah and Matt were there for the demo to celebrate the breaking ground of their new home.

A solid foundation for a new life.

Foundation-pouring day is the next step in the construction process and can really give homeowners a sense of the size and scale of their new home. The Renaissance custom team takes great care in evaluating the home site prior to contract signing to ensure a smooth construction phase.

“Their willingness to come out and look at the land before the contract was signed really stood out,” said Sarah.

“The more we learned about Renaissance we developed an appreciation that they did things the right way, and their goal was to make happy customers above all else,” said Matt.

Sticks in the air!

It all starts feeling real when the framing goes up. The rooms begin taking shape and you can begin getting a sense of how it all will come together.

How it started. How it’s going!

Sarah’s and Matt’s custom build journey is still a wonderful work in progress. We invite you to follow them on Instagram as they make their dream home come true at

If you’re ready to build your own custom dream home, we’re here to help! Contact our Custom Home Sales Managers, Amanda Andruss, at 503-969-4939 or [email protected] or Michael Lutz at 503.387.9933 or [email protected]