Marquis Custom Homes creates unique, detail-rich lottery house
WORDS JOE LEARY X PHOTOGRAPHY sheila say
As president and owner of Marquis Custom Homes and Developments, Kam Dhami specializes in high-end residential construction services around the Lower Mainland, integrating distinctive homes into surrounding communities and neighbourhoods.
Being selected to design this year’s Hometown Heroes Lottery Grand Prize Home—occupying 5,764 square feet of living space along with a 400-square-foot garage—is the realization of a dream.
In support of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, ticket purchases raise funds for the most urgent hospital needs and support first responder resilience programs.
“I’m honoured that my project was chosen for this year’s lottery,” he says, adding, “I think it’s important to support our local hospitals, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a need now more than ever to donate and support the hospitals and the frontline staff and first responders in our communities.”
Angela Chapman, president and CEO of the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, agrees.
“In recent weeks our frontline staff have devoted themselves to preparing to care for COVID-19 patients,” she says. “For years, lottery funds have helped to ensure that medical teams in BC have the tools and equipment they need to save lives. On behalf of the foundation, I’d like to thank everyone who supports the Hometown Heroes Lottery, allowing our health care heroes to be here for us.”
Kam has purchased his share of lottery home tickets over the years and viewed the previous prize homes offered. He says he continually strives to create spaces that function to support the everyday lives of families by giving them places to enjoy the start and end of their days together.
And what a space it is!
Built in a “boutique contemporary living” style, it has clean lines and neutral tones and uses high-end materials. The open-concept plan boasts four bedrooms on the upper level, each with its own private bathroom; in total, the house has five bedrooms and six full bathrooms.
This stunning structure, situated on an 8,340-square-foot lot, offers soaring,10-foot-high ceilings on the main floor, a fully landscaped garden with built-in irrigation and covered terrace, one gas and three electric fireplaces and a spacious chef’s kitchen with Fisher & Paykel range top. The kitchen also has a wall oven and 48-inch fridge, replete with warm-wood finishes, stone countertops and a 10-foot-long breakfast bar.
“To start a project like this I take into account its location near the White Rock Pier and the certain way the sun falls, in order to maximize the amount of light that comes into the house and make it feel like a home,” he says. “I didn’t want it to look too modern. I wanted a nice balance and something that would look timeless.”
A trademark of Marquis Custom Homes is a passionate pursuit of detail-rich, value-driven design and high-quality construction that provides customers with a masterfully planned and executed living environment.
“Every home I do is unique; I never do a house the same as I’ve done before,” Kam says. “I’ve had requests for homes to have a bowling alley. . .and someone wants the entire front of their car posted in the back, calling it the Cadillac Grill. The guy is into cars, big-time. I don’t know how we’re actually going to put the front end of a Cadillac up there, but it sounds like an awesome challenge.”
He adds: “I want to give customers what they want—something they can look at and say, ‘it’s what I wanted and I got.’”
As for the Grand Prize Home, located at 1553 Cory Road in White Rock, Kam can envision some of the ideal recipients, given its layout and grandeur: “Young families along with older couples,” he says. “It kind of encompasses everybody.”
Truly the only limit of home design is one’s imagination.
A Hometown Hero
Sebastian Sevallo saves and enriches lives
Being a frontline first responder, Sebastian Sevallo knows all too well how COVID-19 has affected residents of the Lower Mainland.
And despite all the gripping fear and anxiety that the pandemic has created, the 7 pm nightly outpouring of gratitude for emergency personnel is truly inspiring to Sebastian and his fellow workers.
“It’s heartwarming to have the community come together and show support to those on the front lines of this pandemic,” he says, adding, “The hospital workers and frontline staff are the true heroes and we take great pride in joining the public for the 7 pm cheer when we do our laps around St. Paul’s and VGH to show our support. It keeps people going.”
In addition to being a first responder, Sebastian is a spokesperson for the Hometown Heroes Lottery, which supports the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund.
The 2016 Vancouver Firefighter’s Calendar poster boy for the month of February, Sebastian is also a co-host of the HGTV home renovation series Worst to First.
He says emergency calls have definitely been on the rise since the coronavirus outbreak. However, safety measures have been put in place to limit the exposure of fire crews to potential COVID-19 patients.
“The sequencing has changed and now the fire department is only going to critical calls like cardiac arrests, overdoses, fires, etc. But we were getting a lot of 911 enquiries from people experiencing flu-like symptoms.”
And Sebastian has attended full-on cases of COVID-19.
“We’ve dealt with a few confirmed cases of the virus,” he says, “and we have to take the necessary precautions. For any of these calls we’re in full PPE (personal protective equipment), mask, gloves and glasses. And if it’s a confirmed case of COVID-19, we’re wearing a full body suit and trying to limit the exposure to the crews. So in some cases, we send just one or two firefighters in. “
Born in North York, Ontario, and a Vancouver firefighter since 2014, Sebastian currently works of out of East Vancouver’s Firehall 14. He was first attracted to his calling as a kid.
“It was the shiny trucks that I used to chase as I was growing up in Coquitlam,” he recalls. “I went to high school right beside Coquitlam’s Number One Fire Hall and…one day I was driving to school and I saw a fire hose nozzle that had been left behind by the firefighters. I picked it up and returned it to them; but not before demanding they let me try it. It was amazing!”
He adds: “I never forgot that moment or the camaraderie they shared. They were like a big family that help people and drive big fancy trucks. I was hooked.”
If tackling the role of emergency first responder wasn’t enough to fill his days, Sebastian also appears on the home renovation series Worst to First, co-hosting alongside his brother-in-law Mickey Fabbiano.
The show finds the duo challenged with transforming the worst houses on the block into magazine-ready dream homes.
“I grew up in construction as a carpenter and was in the application process for Vancouver Fire when we got the phone call that our show was green-lit,” says Sebastian. “It was surreal and now the show airs in over 70 countries. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work.”
So far, Sebastian and Mickey have produced two seasons—20 episodes and 20 homes. Each home has, on average, a $150,000 renovation.
“The greatest part,” says Sebastian, “is that we’ve been able to change the lives of 20 different families and give them the dream homes they’ve always wanted. It’s an awesome experience to be able to do construction on TV and be a firefighter at the same time.”
It certainly makes for a full plate which begs the question: does he have any free time?
“Between seasons I do,” he admits. “But when we’re shooting I don’t; luckily I have a very understanding girlfriend! I work four days as a firefighter and four days filming.”
Saving lives and enriching the lives of others—it’s all in a day’s work for Sebatian Sevallo.