Building New Beginnings

With the help of North Market Construction, the DeFoggi family turns tragedy into triumph!

February 22, 2022, started like most days for Yellow Springs community residents Tim and Emily DeFoggi. They followed their normal morning routine of getting their son, Teddy, ready for kindergarten before heading to work. Unbeknownst to them, the DeFoggi family left their home and all its possessions for the very last time that morning. 

“There was a spirit day at school,” Tim recalled. “That morning, we took some photos together at the house with the spirit outfits on.” Emily, a Yellow Springs Elementary School teacher, sported a fluffy, yellow tutu and their son showed his school spirit with an outfit featuring a tie. 

Only hours later, the smoke detectors in the DeFoggi’s home prompted a call from the fire department. “I ran home to see what was happening,” Emily said. “I got to the house pretty fast because I work only about a mile away. The house was full of smoke and I called 911 right away. Our neighbor happened to come home for something and arrived at the fire pretty much at the same time I did.”

Their neighbor, Laura Olson, jumped in to offer comfort and help Tim and Emily navigate the disaster. “She was really supportive during the difficult wait for the fire department. It was probably only 30 minutes or so, but it felt like forever to me,” Emily said. “14 or 15 firehouses had to respond. There are no fire hydrants nearby, so they had to keep cycling through and filling up the tanks until the fire was out.”

When Tim came home, his house was gone and everything inside was destroyed. Sadly, the family’s two cats, Stella and Luna, were lost in the fire, too. “We had no clue what to do,” Tim said. Laura aided in making phone calls and securing the house, while Tim and Emily made arrangements for temporary housing and ensured their son’s well-being.

Starting Fresh

Tim and Emily purchased the house in 2012 after getting married. It was a spacious single-family home built in 1974—and as a local to the Yellow Springs area, Emily knew this would be the right place to start their family. The fire exposed some hidden HVAC and electrical issues in the house which eventually led to its destruction. Unfortunately, the house was beyond saving, and the DeFoggi family made the tough decision to start fresh.

A mutual acquaintance encouraged Emily to get in touch with North Market Construction, a Frederick-based custom home business, to begin the rebuild process. “We wanted to help them out after such a difficult time; plus, they’re a part of the community,” Mike Pilch, North Market Construction owner, explained. 

While Mike manages construction projects, his wife, Burgess, handles the financial side of the business. Their strong personal values of building better homes with high-quality materials and contractors are at the forefront of North Market Construction’s mission of providing an alternative to mass-produced, cookie-cutter houses. 

“We had to start with a demolition of the home and then worked with the existing footprint,” Mike said. “We built the new house to fit the confines of what they had in mind and up to today’s standards.” 

Emily and Mike worked well together. They both had the shared goal of creating a home that would last for many years to come. Emily was instrumental in the design and rebuilding process, from layout to interior styling. 

“Emily had fabulous ideas and visions,” Burgess said. “One of Mike’s strengths is understanding people and creating what they want. Their house was old and had an outdated floor plan, and she knew exactly what she wanted and how she wanted to tweak it for the modern world.” 

Building Better

After the demolition was completed and the architecture plans were submitted, the building process commenced. Mike estimated it would take nine months of dedicated effort for the home to become move-in ready. 

“When the building started, they were really meticulous and it shows in the house,” Emily said. “I had meetings with different vendors, like flooring, and there were several meetings they also attended with me. They made sure that all of our vendors really knew the budget and explained what they were doing on the builder side.”

The updated layout of the main living areas fit well with how the DeFoggi family enjoys spending time. A modern open floor plan creates a sense of harmony with a smooth flow from the kitchen to the living room space. Mike and his team at North Market Construction also raised the ceilings from eight to nine feet to bring them up to current standards. 

In the kitchen, a spacious center island with a crisp, white countertop and abundant storage space offers the DeFoggi family ample room to gather and entertain. Light grey cabinetry and white subway tile create contrast against the kitchen island’s dark hue, and the airy layout produces a cohesive and inviting atmosphere. Against the kitchen’s back wall, a sliding glass door opens to a cozy screened-in porch where they can relax and unwind.

The screened-in porch replaced the house’s old patio—a must-have for Emily, who had been hoping to include one in the build. “When they realized it was a must, the builders made everything happen so we could have the screen porch,” Emily said. “They made it a fixed item in the budget, and we didn’t have to cut corners anywhere else.” 

Moving Back Home

The DeFoggi family looked forward to getting back to their lives when they moved in on September 1, 2023. The project was finished on schedule in about nine months. “All I wanted was a house to move back into,” Tim said. “For a year and a half, our life was on hold.”

They credit their family and neighbors with bolstering their resilience. Tim’s parents, who moved from the Chicago area to be closer to family, offered a place for them to stay while they navigated the early weeks of the fire. Their neighbor, Laura, only knew Tim and Emily as acquaintances from seeing them in the neighborhood and chatting with Tim when they saw each other mowing their lawns—and yet she continued to offer support and returned to the property to pick up shards of glass left behind in the disaster out of concern for their young son.  

As Frederick residents, Mike and Burgess take pride in doing what’s best for the community. “We want to leave something that looks good in the community,” Mike shared. “Our reputation is building long-lasting, high-quality homes you would be proud to live in. They all show well, and they’ve all been good experiences. I’m proud of each one of them.”

With the house finished, the DeFoggi family welcomed two new cats, Harry and Poppy, into their lives. Starting fresh may not have been Tim and Emily’s plan; however, they are looking forward to creating memories together as a family in their new home for many years to come. 

“We cannot speak more highly about the craftsmanship, attention to detail and care that North Market put into this project and into us,” Emily said. “They were in it with us every step of the way to make sure we have a beautiful and safe home.”

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