Matrix Construction – Huntsville, Ontario

April 29, 2024

Matrix Construction

Constructing the Future in Muskoka


A focus on quality over quantity with 30 years of trusted expertise

Matrix Construction is a proud family business with founder Keith Collins at its heart, and his son Kris Collins helping to keep the beat going. They love what they do, and it shows in the quality of their work and their devotion to excellent customer service. Matrix focuses almost exclusively on residential homes within 30 minutes or less from Huntsville.

The construction landscape has changed over the last few years, largely due to COVID. Luckily, Matrix has maintained its momentum due to the solid relationships they’ve built over their many years in business. Since the 90s, Keith has focused on using local subcontractors and buying local materials, even if that means paying a bit of a premium.

“We don’t bounce around to the lowest bidder,” explains Keith. “We’ve always leaned a little more towards quality and been willing to pay a little more.”

This loyalty has certainly paid off because they haven’t experienced any trouble finding reliable workers and materials, an issue that has plagued other companies in this industry.

Keith sells this quality-first approach to his customers. “I explain to them that generally, you get what you pay for,” he tells us.

Dream homes under $2 Million

Focusing on higher-end materials and labor doesn’t mean that Matrix Construction is in the multimillion-dollar luxury home market. It’s quite the opposite.

“We do lots of stuff on the water, but not the $10 million stuff,” Keith clarifies.

It’s no secret that more and more people are getting pushed away from the potential for home ownership. It’s very hard to find a home for under $1 million, and that’s just today’s reality. But Matrix Construction focuses on homes that are on the lower end of the high-end Muskoka market.

“We haven’t worked with anybody without a budget yet, let’s put it that way,” Keith tells us. “We are a quality builder, but we like to stay in the market. We stick with $2 million and under.”

The Matrix family has been doing this for a long time, so they’ve watched the market change drastically over the years. When it comes to house prices these days, the word “affordable” is a bit of a misnomer.

As Keith points out, “Every time I say the word affordable, it kind of makes me cringe because the 99% still can’t afford it.”

That being said, there is certainly a market for dream home construction in the range of $1 – $2 million, and that’s the sweet spot that Matrix enjoys sticking with. They typically take on three full homes per year, although that’s not for lack of interest.

“We turn more people down than we take on,” Keith tells us. His business model is to not overextend himself. “You can only do what you can do. I’m not going to blow smoke.”

This approach highlights the Matrix mantra of quality over quantity. Keith isn’t interested in building more homes because he might not have the same energy and resources to keep the quality high. The modest number of builds per year that Matrix completes, plus the other smaller projects they take on, offers the perfect balance.

“That’s just where I’m comfortable and where my customers are happy,” Keith remarks.


Communication is key

Making customers happy is a top priority for Matrix. When working on a custom build, Keith and his team sit down with their customers from the very beginning to discuss plans and budgets. They need to have open conversations about wants, needs, and expectations.

Managing those expectations is something Keith takes very seriously. For most projects, Keith and his team will create the design in-house. This way, they’re in full control of the process. From there, the communication goes full steam ahead. Matrix spends lots of time communicating with their customers to ensure everyone’s on the same page.

As Keith tells us, there are typically hundreds of hours of communication and planning that go into a project before they start digging.

“We don’t get paid for that time until we build the home,” he explains. This care and attention placed on customer satisfaction is a unique aspect of Matrix Construction and part of the reason they’ve maintained steady business since the 90s.

“You know, when I’m working with people, they’re parting with a lot of money.”

Keith and his team keep this awareness at the top of their mind when communicating with their customers. They make sure to be completely clear and honest, especially when discussing money. An estimate is just that; an estimate. Keith lays it all out there and wants his customers to understand exactly where their money will be going.

As he explains, “I’m just going to give it to you straight. This is what it’s going to cost. This is how much time it’s going to take. I’m not going to tell you just what you want to hear. I’m going to tell you what’s going to happen. The way it is.”

This honesty means that Keith’s customers aren’t hit with big surprises out of left field. And this is all part of the open communication that Matrix prides itself on.

This focus on communication is what Keith has built his business around. He’s become friends with many of his customers, simply due to the amount of time spent together.

“I go snowmobiling with some customers; we go for dinner with others. I go back all the time to customers I built for 20 years ago.”

Establishing this relationship is incredible, and Keith’s customers have all been extremely happy with the work that he does.

Constructing weather-proof options

The climate in Muskoka changes drastically throughout the year; the region truly experiences four distinct seasons. Winter can bring along harsh elements like freezing temperatures and snowstorms, even sleet and hail. On the other side of the calendar, Muskoka summers can come with sweltering heat, extreme humidity, and lots of bugs too.

“We need to make sure that our products can stand up to any elements,” Kris tells us. Kris is the site supervisor for Matrix and will be taking over the business in the next few years.

Matrix specializes in using insulated concrete forms, or ICF. Kris explains that ICF is the best way to go as far as the structure of the building, the strength, and the insulation. He says, “It’s going to hold up the best to any environment, in our opinion.”

They go for durability, integrity, and low maintenance.

“We don’t try and do anything too fancy unless the customer wants it,” Keith tells us.

Sometimes, fancy is really what a customer wants and Matrix runs with it. They’ve done a few houses that are built right into rocks on the lake, and they’re very proud of those. Think cathedral ceilings, lots of lakeside windows, walkout basements, and beautiful siding.

New age aesthetics

Matrix Construction does a lot of renovations as well, in addition to full home builds. These days, it’s all about kitchens and bathrooms, Keith tells us. And it seems like people are willing to spend a bit more on upscale design finishes to create their dream spaces, especially spaces associated with comfort.

For bathrooms, there are a lot of custom tile showers with custom glass barn-style doors. And when it comes to kitchens, a lot has changed in terms of design preferences over the years. For one, “everything’s painted these days,” Keith exclaims. He remembers how customers used to love the look of exposed oak, maple, and other types of wood, but things have changed. The same goes for kitchen countertops; granite’s out, and quartz is in.

“Everybody’s going for man-made stone these days,” he tells us. “And islands. I can’t remember the last time I did a kitchen without an island.”

A fun style they’ve been working with for renovations and custom builds is sort of a hybrid between cottage and city home. A lot of people love the idea of a home as they had in the city, but with a cottage twist. So, a home might fit with the Muskoka theme on the outside, but then the inside is white, bright, and modern; more home than cottage. Keith finds that this style has been really popular lately.


Escalating efficiency

As Matrix continues working on projects this year, their main priority is to provide their customers with the best possible quality for the most affordable price.

Another priority, Kris tells us, is to focus more on efficiency when it comes to project management. As the site supervisor and soon-to-be owner, Kris wants to streamline certain things. That involves learning from each project and making tweaks to the next project, each time making things a little easier, faster, and better. Kris sees this as a recipe for success in the future of Matrix Construction.

Energy efficiency remains a major priority for Matrix. There will be a new building code coming into place soon that will penalize builders for the use of fossil fuels, but these guys are way ahead of the curve. They’re currently working on a building that’s heated with an electrical heat pump, which is very energy efficient. They’re also focusing on using more ICF up to the roof, increasing insulation, and installing better barrier systems.

Some of this stuff may cost more upfront but will perform much better in the long run when it comes to cost savings and what’s best for the environment.

Another efficiency measure that Matrix is taking is planning to focus more on the spec market. Spec homes can be more economical to build since they don’t involve as much lead-up time.

As of now, they do about 50% spec builds, and they hope to stay around there. That being said, they have no plans to abandon custom builds, even though they cost more in time.

“I’d like to continue building custom homes for people and making them happy, you know, building their dreams, if you will,” Keith tells us.

Building these dreams is what’s kept Matrix in business for so long. As Keith proudly tells us, “I would say that 99% of our customers are thrilled to death with us when we’re finished, and usually become our friends. That’s how I sleep well at night.”


Matrix Construction

What: Founded in 1990 by Keith Collins, Matrix Construction has been proudly building distinctive custom homes & cottages in Muskoka for over 30 years.

Where: Huntsville, ON



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