Made in America: 20 Brands w/ American-Made Products

Posted by Christy Le on Aug 1, 2016 2:45:05 PM

In celebration of Skyline's 20 year anniversary, we’re sharing 20 of our favorite things -- from tools to travel destinations and everything in between. 

This month in honor of America's birthday we turn the spotlight to 20 American brands that are manufacturing construction material right here on U.S. soil. Read on for the full list of our favorite locally sourced material and finishes.


Locally sourced products are all the rage for good reason: sourcing locally drives production which creates jobs. But why hasn't this trend caught on in the construction industry?  We set out to to answer this question by building commercial interior offices using as many American made materials as possible. Here's what we learned along the way:


1. Building materials are separate from finishes

It's easy to achieve a partially American-built project when you consider the "behind the walls" materials that go into a construction project. Nails, drywall, ductwork, lumber, plumbing, even paint and carpet are all easily sourced, nationally; but fine imported stone for your reception desk? Much harder.  Dont be discouraged, even a small change can lead to a big impact. 

Anders Lewendal, an economist turned builder, states that "if every commercial builder used just 5% more American-made materials on their projects, this would result in 220,000 more US jobs."


2. Quality is better

U.S. manufacturers are required to follow strict health and safety regulations, both in the quality of their products and in the safety of their workers. The result is a highly regulated, better quality product.


3. Cost remains the same

Without a doubt, we expected the see a sizeable cost increase in sourcing American-manufacturered materials. Turns out, it's just another misconception.  The cost increase to use American made materials was less than 1%.


4. Having a plan is key

Knowing where to get American-made products and what vendors offer them is key. So without further ado, here is a list of just some of the companies who are manufacturing materials, equipment and finishes for the commercial construction industry, right here in the United States. 

  1. Pionite Surface Systems (High Pressure Laminate)

  2. Doug Mockett (Drawer pulls)

  3. Wilsonart (High Pressure Laminate)

  4. SCAFCO (Drywall)

  5. Climatemaster (HVAC)

  6. Lithonia (Lighting)

  7. Phillips Day-Brite (Lighting)

  8. Abet Laminati (Millwork)

  9. Formica (Millwork)

  10. Armstrong (Acoustical Ceiling)

  11. Milliken (Flooring)

  12. Shaw (Flooring)

  13. Benjamin Moore (Paint)

  14. Glidden Professional(Paint)

  15. IdeaPaint (Paint)

  16. Knoll Textiles (Banquette Seating)

  17. Elkay (Plumbling)

  18. Moen (Plumbling)

  19. Zumtobel (Electrical)

  20. Finelite (Electrical)

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Topics: Construction Trends, contractor, american, american-made, made in america, local

A Glimpse into Pandora's Oakland Headquarters

Posted by Christy Le on May 10, 2016 8:00:00 AM



Pandora Radio, like so many tech companies, started very humbly in a modest office space and has quickly grown into a thriving, reputable brand with a vibrant and characteristically unique Oakland space. It has been our privilege, as their general contractor for the past 7 years, to not only witness Pandora's growth but to be part of the evolution of their dynamic office. The following photos document the powerful visual transformation from their 1st generation space to their current space. 



























































Photography by Reflex Imaging and Bruce Damonte



Download the Evolution of Pandora Timeline

Topics: Construction Trends, bars, tech firms, cool office, kitchen, perks, office perks

How firms are "showing the love" with their office space

Posted by Christy Le on Feb 4, 2016 6:00:00 AM


The strategy of creating office envy is definitely catching on in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Taking care of employees in the workplace increases morale, supports recruiting efforts, and is generally fun.  Here are some of our favorite recent projects that showcase the love.


They wine you.

Grabbing a drink after work (or during work, for that matter) has never been easier. Social areas equipped with a full bar and handles of local craft brews in the work place has finally become a thing. This takes water cooler chat to the next level. 


 Lumosity, San Francisco
Architect: Boor Bridges Architecture

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They dine you.

Bay Area firms are quickly catching on to the old adage that there is no faster way into your hungry employee's heart than through their stomachs. From full-service kitchens to cozy cafes and break rooms, these areas are fully stocked with meals, snacks, refreshments and everything in between. 


Yammer, San Francisco
Architect: TMDA

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They love you for your mind.

Arming employees with a place for intellectual stimuli is the newest trend. A quiet space for research or leisurely reading is the perfect way to promote professional and personal development. Even in an increasingly digital world, in-house libraries are beloved by the employees and employers, alike. Learning is fun. Who knew?



Weebly, San Francisco
Architect: Huntsman Architectural Group

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


They make you feel like a kid again.

Associating work with the warm and fuzzy nostalgic feelings of your childhood is a new concept in office interior design. It's fun, it's inviting and it's a light-hearted approach that is striking a cord with companies throughout the bay area. Slides, pool tables, vintage video games, ping pong tables and themed meeting rooms are just the tip of the iceberg of popular features.


Chartboost, San Francisco
Architect: Design Blitz

General Contractor: Skyline Construction


Interested in more construction trends? Download our Construction Trends in the Bay Area guide for a complete overview.

Download Now


Topics: Construction Trends, bars, tech firms, cool office, kitchen, perks, office perks

Top 5 Tenant Improvement Trends in the Bay Area

Posted by Randy Scott on Dec 31, 2015 8:18:56 AM

As competition for employee talent rises, companies throughout the Bay Area seek to move beyond the standard open-floor plan by creating full “employee experiences” within their space. Our project management teams have identified 5 popular trends happening across workplace design in the Bay Area:

  • Commercial Kitchens
  • Unassigned Workstations
  • Living Art
  • Social Spaces
  • Custom Light Fixtures

Commercial Kitchens


 The demand for full commercial kitchens has jumped, especially among technology firms. Commercial kitchens take up significant space and are typically more expensive to maintain than contracting with a catering service (not to mention the time and costs associated with getting permits from the health department). Yet a commercial kitchen with an in-house chef (e.g. Weebly pictured above) gives companies control over how food is sourced and served—a key selling point for many younger, health-conscious employees.


Unassigned WorkstationsGeremia_Boor_Bridges-Lumosity-1010.jpg

 Many companies are adopting project-based or activity-based workspaces allowing employees the mobility to temporarily collaborate with their project team. With fewer individually assigned desks and more space dedicated to team collaboration, companies may not need as much space as they thought—or are finding ways to better maximize the space they already have. Our team has found that space planning has decreased from an average of 225 square feet per person to approximately 175-185 square feet per person. (e.g. Lumosity, pictured above.)


Living Art


 Plants are known to improve indoor air quality, reduce noise between work areas, and improve the productivity, creativity and mood of a building’s inhabitants. Creative companies are breaking free from standard potted plants and turning greenery into pieces of indoor art. From concrete walls studded with air plants (e.g. Weebly, pictured above) to indoor “parks” that extend outdoor spaces inward (Pandora), employers are making a conscious effort to incorporate the natural world into the structure of the buildings themselves.


Social Spaces

Innovative businesses understand that the cross-pollination of ideas isn’t limited to its conference rooms. To encourage the spontaneous exchange of ideas between different departments they are building gyms, game rooms (e.g. Yammer pictured above), music “jam rooms,” massage rooms and more--many of which come with their own physical requirements such as secondary spaces like laundry rooms, locker rooms, bicycle parking areas, etc.

Custom Light FixturesDropBox2_00248.jpg

Customized light fixtures are becoming increasingly popular, which means that lead times are getting longer. While the typical lead time for lighting is 6 weeks, custom lighting options can extend lead times to 8 to 10 weeks or more. (Dropbox pictured above)

Interested to see more trends in cost, regulations, or lead time on materials? Download our Construction Trends in the Bay Area guide for a complete overview.

Download Now

Topics: Open Office, Collaboration Areas, Construction Trends, Commercial Kitchens, Light Fixtures, Social Spaces, Living Art