While Instagram is not a new digital platform – its “born on date” was October 6th, 2010 – it is one of the more interesting platforms. While other social media platforms have come and gone over the last 10 years, Instagram is still going strong with over 1 billion active monthly users as of Jan 2020.
I signed up for my account on September 26, 2011, when the platform was 11 months old and since that time, I have found Instagram to be an amazing resource for many of my pursuits – both intellectually and creatively. Since I truly believe that Instagram is the very best platform out there for architects and designers, I have from time to time shared some of my favorite accounts. Normally, the lists I have assembled are either architectural in nature or accounts that focus on sketching – two areas of interest that I pursue. One avenue that I have not ever discussed is the construction side of information available. In the past, either these accounts just slipped off my radar or they didn’t really exist but as I will show you below, not only is this genre of accounts growing in popularity, they are frequently more interesting and beneficial to people like myself who have an interest in learning more about the construction industry as articulated from contractors.
While this is clearly not an exhaustive list, it does represent the best of the accounts that have found and follow. I would be more than happy if you wanted to bring some others to my attention – variety is the spice of life.
Building Science Fight Club
Christine Williamson currently lives in Dallas (same place as me!) but she and I have only just recently started to correspond with one another. I have been following her account for quite a while and rare is the time when I don’t learn the sort of things I frequently feel like I should already know. Christine is smart, helpful, knowledgeable, and passionate about building science and forensics and she literally wants to teach you what she knows.
If she was an amp, she would go up to 11.
I will admit that I don’t know much about framing … more than most people but very little compared to people who actually frame for a living. Every time I watch a video by Tim Uhler at Awesome Framers, the left side of my brain gets just a little bit more powerful. At the same time, Tim and his group frequently dance to pop songs while standing atop a roof and that shows him to be a regular guys with some amazing moves. The dancing notwithstanding, Tim somehow is able to explain things in a way that non-framers can understand – and the photos and videos he creates go a long way to making things easy to understand.
A lot of good humor and even more trade knowledge make this account a must follow.
This is one of the newer accounts I am following but Mar has been populating his Instagram account since April 2016. One of the themes that will be carried throughout this entire list is that the highlighted feed is educational and interesting … and this account might embody those two things more than any other Instagram feed I follow. Just about every image Mar posts is instructional and demonstrates his passion for execution – an important trait for a carpenter.
I dare you to follow this account and not learn something … it’s impossible.
Matt Risinger and I go back a ways and seem to frequently cross paths at trade shows around the country. Matt is a bit of a maverick in his use of social media as he was one of the first to embrace the benefit of sharing information and best practices for the greater good. Matt’s instagram feed is just one very small portion of the social media footprint he occupies but one thing I will say specifically about Matt’s account is that he is an enthusiastic early adopter of new construction techniques and products. Over the last few years, Matt has probably introduced me to twice as many new products worth exploring further as any other source, and that has real value to me.
This is the account for Joshua Oduin, a home builder and tile-setter in Portland, Oregon. This is another relatively new account for me and the thing that lead me to follow it was for the tile-setting information and photos that he shares. As a homebuilder he does share other things within his feed so it keeps it interesting. One of the other aspects of Joshua’s account that I enjoy is that he frequently makes longer posts and carefully explains why he did something in a particular way and as a by-product, a terrific conversation discussing the merits of old-school techniques versus the new thoughts with modern construction materials starts to take place in the comment section … truly the sign of an engaging account.
Green Building Advisor
Dedicated to discussing the methodologies behind high-performance homes, this is one of just a few accounts that I follow that is dedicated to building science and practical application. Generally not for the entry-level passenger but the manner in which they explain their message is always easy to understand. The vast majority of the images they share are illustrative in their nature and the concepts they introduce almost always leave you thinking “why isn’t everybody doing this?”
Since I am a huge fan of the long-running magazine of the same name, it would only make sense that I would follow their Instagram feed … and I am rewarded for doing so. This particular instagram feed covers a lot of ground and is not focused in on a single trade of craft so as a generalist, I really appreciate how much I am exposed to in their feed. To be completely honest, probably half of the people on today’s list were originally discovered within the FHB Instagram account or their magazine.
TRG Home Concepts
I actually have my wife to thank for introducing me to Tyler Grace’s Instagram feed … and that should tell you something. My wife is not in the industry and the fact that she follows this particular account speaks volumes to the quality of the projects he highlights and the nature in how he “speaks” to people reading the content. Tyler and I have exchanged a few emails – I was trying to get him on the Life of an Architect podcast but we weren’t able to make it happen. One day I hope I will get him to join in and discuss the concept of “craft” in our profession – a theme that shows up in almost every image he posts.
Steven Baczek Architect
Okay … Steven isn’t technically on the construction side of things … but for my purposes, his feed helps me detail better built buildings. Most of the images Steven presents are construction process images with the occasional construction detail thrown in for good measure. I do not know Steven personally, but he seems like a no-nonsense sort of dude who is here to educate us all on how to make better built buildings.
Aaron Thomas Aquinas
Aaron is a craftsman, no other real way to put it. Assuming you like to see how things are done when attention to detail matters (and isn’t that everything?) this is a good account to follow. There are times when I wish that I had pursued a path that led me into construction rather than architecture and it’s seeing what Aaron does on a daily basis that makes me feel this way most frequently.
The Keystone Carpenter
Brendan O’Sullivan is one of those guys that seems to be good at everything. This is an interesting feed because since he takes on remodeling projects and does a lot of the work internally, and as a result, a lot of different things show up in his stream. For some reason, I always have the same thought when I run across Brendan’s photos … why don’t we have remodel contractors like this where I live?
The NS in “NS Builders” is for Nick Schiffer- the owner and face of the organization that populates this Instagram account. A full-service general contractor that specializes new home construction and remodeling, a fact that becomes apparent soon enough just by scrolling through their feed. While they do plenty of traditional style projects, there is plenty of more contemporary and modern work on display which is a lot harder to find than you might realize. Of all the accounts I’m highlighting today, this is probably one of the very best to try and emulate if you want to see how using Instagram as a platform for business is your goal. You can’t look through their images without coming away thinking that these folks do incredibly nice work and you don’t have to tell them how to do it right … they get it.
So there you go – 12 Instagram accounts that you should be following. I had a handful more that I was going to include but thought I would avoid doubling up on certain trades and skillsets for this first post (otherwise it should be titled “Best Carpenters to Follow on Instagram“).
I would like to add more modern contractors to my feed so if you are aware of any good ones, please let me know. For that matter, if you think I’ve left someone off this initial list, or you think I’ve included a dud, I welcome the feedback. The goal of putting these sorts of lists together is an attempt to connect people who think that sharing their secrets makes more sense than keeping everything to themselves. If nothing else, everyone on today’s list should be applauded for simply trying to take what they know and throw it out there for others to learn. One of the amazing by-products that happens – and just look in the comment section of all these feeds is you don’t believe me – is that they are all open to learning know techniques and best practices themselves.