Columbus Life is supposed to be very nice, and not quite as extreme as Spirit in terms of how thin it is (meaning it's probably better for a large frame, and especially for a first framebuilding attempt). I've chatted to Ricky Feather about tubesets for road bikes and he's a big fan of the Life stays. But MAX would be pretty cool too, I think.
With groupsets I'd go for a modern mid-range group myself, but the older top line stuff can look better on a steel frame.
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