Country Lane Builders

Custom homebuilders and renovators in Hawkesville, Ontario
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Sean O’Reilly

Country Lane Builders has been in business for over 34 years.  Established in 1981 by Orlan Martin, the growing custom home builder has decades of experience in the construction industry. Country Lane delivers high-quality craftsmanship, efficiency and value into each project it takes on, creating and managing all aspects of clients’ construction needs.

Orlan has since passed the business on to his four sons, all of whom served as apprentices. Today, Gerald, general manager; works alongside Murray, president; Tim, vice president; and Clare, president and general manager of the company’s cabinet and millwork company: Homestead Woodworks. Together, the brothers lead the business with more than 25 years’ experience, each.

Country Lane employs 25 people from a single headquarters in Hawkesville, Ontario. The business operates primarily within Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph areas. Over the years, the business has recruited faithful customers, many who refer friends and colleagues and several who have come back to Country Lane for another project.

Furthermore, Homestead Woodworks produces custom kitchens, furniture, front door systems and millwork to accommodate all architectural elements of a custom home or renovation built.

Country Lane Builders

In-house capabilities

What sets the Country Lane team apart from other contractors in the area is the company’s ability to perform a significant portion of work in-house. “We are the general contractors on these projects,” Gerald explains. “We manage and coordinate onsite operations day-to-day. We are not the type of contractor that relies entirely on sub-trades for the labor on our projects. We have our own framing, trimming and cabinet crews. We sub out other trades, such as electrical, HVAC and plumbing, but we take a lot of pride in our in-house capabilities. We strive to serve as a one-stop shop for our clients.”

Gerald and his crew also maintain strong relationships with strategic partners. After more than three decades in business, the company has identified and established relationships with a small but strong network of contractors. All of these partners are prequalified to work on Country Lane projects.

The business sets a high bar for quality and subcontractors know and abide by such standards. Homestead Woodworks has become more important with the demand for wood surfaces and finishes in custom homes.

“Modern homes are trending right now, as well as transitional-style between modern and traditional,” Gerald explains. “One constant is the architectural use of wood products and high-end finishes. We are experts in all things wood and that part of our business transcends across all home and interiors. We mill custom flooring, cabinetry and trim with our in-house millwork shop.”

The company’s dedication to high-quality turnkey home construction is driven by the Martin brothers’ passion for excellence. In turn, employees are encouraged to bring new ideas to the table; new products, designs or ways to make the customers experience better.

Additionally, employees are part of a profit sharing bonus system based on individual performance matrix designed to reflect company values of honesty-, integrity- and value-based solutions.

Country Lane has taken on a number of large new custom home and renovation projects in 2014, including several new homes upward of 10,000 square feet. Other projects include complete interior renovations and historical restoration projects. “Size of projects is not an object for Country Lane,” Gerald notes. “We continue to believe in being flexible enough to scale our team to meet the needs of any project, big or small.”

Looking forward

Gerald says his team has a number of challenging projects coming down the pipeline for 2015. He does not see major expansion outside of the tri-city area for the near future; instead he and his colleagues are focused on building and maintaining strong relationships.

“Our business is built on honesty, integrity and a strong work ethic,” he explains. “We measure our success on our performance on each project. We not only measure profitability, but also on client feedback with the constant goal of improving our game. We know we are doing well when we get a customer referral or a client who comes back for a second or third project.”

The team is always on the lookout for opportunities for growth. As new trends and technology emerge, Country Lane is remaining flexible, changing with the industry. The business is known for strong capabilities and willingness to meet the needs of customers. The company also continues to build partnerships with architects, many of whom work with Country Lane time and again at the request of homeowners. One of the more prominent architects in the region has asked Country Lane to build his personal home, a project that Gerald and the team are particularly excited about.

Strong relationships continue to be the back bone of the business. “Our people are our strength,” Gerald says proudly. “Whether an employee or subcontractor we recognize the importance of building solid partnerships that ensure our company’s future success.”

Country Lane is set for a slow and controlled growth curve that will allow the third generation, as well as long-term employees, into management positions, all the while maintaining Country Lane Builders solid reputation as a customer-oriented custom home builder.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Country Lane Buidlers
Fine Line Gas Fireplaces
Kastl & Zuch Plumbing & Heating Ltd
K-W Glass Systems
Rich Craft Interiors
Richmond Heating & Air
Station Earth