Born to be a Builder

Creating Custom Luxury Homes Honours Family Legacy

Diego Vassallo, KDR Homes. Photo by Darcey Finley

Designing and building a dream home takes creative vision, meticulous attention to detail, and a diverse skill set.

Fortunately, those are all traits Diego Vassallo and his team at KDR Homes have in abundance, and they're on full display in one of the company's latest show homes, a two-storey masterpiece on a scenic waterfront lot in South Pointe.

"Our first thoughts were that the home was to be a large, bright and luxurious family home, a place where you could come home to and savour the fact that you'd succeeded in life," Vassallo says.

"We wanted to build an exquisite yet functional home that the owners could be proud of and grow in as a family."

That's been the goal at KDR — which stands for Knowledge, Design and Reliability — since Vassallo founded the company in 2001.

The business he runs with his wife of 25 years, Domenica Vassallo, grew out of a lifelong passion for woodworking and construction — a passion that seems to have been passed down through multiple generations.

During a trip to Italy and Sicily to celebrate their wedding anniversary, the couple were inspired to incorporate the family coat of arms into a new company logo.

"We decided we really want to represent what we are as a home builder — and that is we build custom luxury homes — so we decided to come up with a logo that reflects that," Vassallo says.

As it turned out, the coat of arms was an ideal fit. The name Vassallo is one of the oldest in Sicily, originally meaning a nobleman or knight who was in service of a monarch.

"Back in the day, we probably would be military involved in building structures and serving the king and queen," he says. "We actually are still doing that. We serve the owners of their homes — and whatever the size of the home, this is someone's castle."

During that same trip, Vassallo discovered one of his grandfathers was a carpenter, and while he jokingly says carpentry is in his bloodline, he could be on to something.

He and Domenica, who is the company controller and a certified safety officer, have two sons, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Older son Rosario is completing a construction management degree, while Gino is pursuing a career in accounting.

"I'd always take them around when they were younger to see the job sites so they're pretty familiar with the sites and the trades," Vassallo says.

As a child, he recalls playing with a mini tool set his own father, a tool-and-die maker, had set up alongside his full-size workbench. Growing up in the Maples, Vassallo's interest was further piqued by the construction boom in the area in the late 1970s and early '80s, when new homes were sprouting up throughout the neighbourhood.

He excelled in woodworking classes every year throughout high school at Maples Collegiate and after graduation, he immediately enrolled in a pre-employment trades program at Red River College. The youngest student in his class, he was also the most advanced, and successfully challenged his first-year apprenticeship en route to becoming a journeyman carpenter.

In the meantime, he broadened his educational pursuits, studying business administration with marketing and accounting majors.

By the time he decided to hang out his own shingle, Vassallo had amassed extensive experience in every aspect of the industry, from high-end cabinet-making to large commercial projects and residential builds, and honed his natural talent for design and innovation — qualities KDR has been known for from the start.

KDR Homes
94 Waterstone Drive
South Pointe

This 3,250-square-foot luxury home, with a walkout basement that adds another 1,800 square feet of livable space, takes advantage of expansive views of wetlands from all three levels.

The family room features a soaring 20-foot ceiling, modern vertical fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows that bathe the space in natural light. The adjacent kitchen has an eight-foot island, white maple cabinets and Euro cabinets with a stunning octagonal tile backsplash. A spice kitchen is tucked neatly away at the rear, along with a dinette area and patio doors that open on to a huge elevated deck overlooking the water.

The second level is equally well appointed, with three bedrooms and a bonus room off the children's wing, a laundry room and four-piece family bath. A 10-foot catwalk leads to the private master suite, with a deluxe ensuite, walk-in closet and acres of built-in storage.

There's more built-in storage on the walkout level, along with a gym, a three-piece bath and a rec room, complete with a media area outfitted with a ribbon fireplace, a wet bar and a games area that opens on to a covered patio.

Spacious, functional and warm, the design hits all the right notes to meet the needs of a large family.

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