US Market Update

Posted by Dave Farley
February 28th, 2011

A few comments, suggestions and ideas that may of interest to industry…

As we prepare for the upcoming trade event and mission this spring to Lake Tahoe, I thought it might be a good idea to introduce you to a few of the key influencers and decision makers in the market. These firms have projects in the exclusive Martis Camp development in Truckee and are known for using an extensive amount of wood in their designs.

As such, here is a review of architectural firm Sandbox Studios.

SANDBOX is an award-winning, architect and interior design firm based in Tahoe City, California on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Founded in March 2001, SANDBOX specializes in high-end, residential design, engineering, interior design, and commercial improvements. The firm was founded by partners, Scott Gillespie and Maja Thaler, on the belief that a multi-disciplinary approach to the design of mountain homes and an appreciation of the natural beauty of the surrounding area lends itself well to creating good architecture.

A typical Sandbox design will feature an extensive use of heavy timber in both the structural and finished features of the home.  They commonly use West Coast softwood in their projects including an affinity for Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, and California Redwood.

Checkout their website at or contact me for further information on how to approach them with information on your products.

Influencing the architect community can often be a daunting task for wood product manufacturers. The issue becomes more complex when the firm is located outside of Canada.  The best way for BC manufacturers to reach this group is through offering architectural credits to the firm through presentations commonly referred to as  “lunch and learns”.  First though, a company must get approved by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to be able to offer lunch and learn credits to architects in the US.

This can be an expensive and time consuming task. The good news is that CMHC has a program which will help to cover the cost of your company in becoming AIA accredited.  The program helps select manufacturers with the assistance of 3rd party direction achieve their AIA accreditation allowing them to offer lunch and learn seminars to select architectural firms across the United States.  CMHC will help to offset the cost by as much as 50% for a manufacturer to get accredited; which is significant when you consider that it can typically cost $12,000 and up for a company to get approved. This program is only available to select manufacturers. To discuss whether this program is right for you,  or if you have any other comments or questions on the US market  please contact me at

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