“Out of the ashes” – Jesse Vergen + Kim Osepchook’s rebuild after devastating fire

2013 was a life-changing year for the family of Jesse and Kim. On Christmas morning, a fire ripped through the family’s home in Quispamsis, leaving nothing but destruction behind. An article was recently published in East Coast Living by Victoria Dekker describing the journey that this family took to rebuild their home.

Tackling this project was an opportunity to restore the home this family has lost – an opportunity that I had to take.

Read highlights from the full article below:


““The food was completely frozen in time,” she recalls. “Our appetiser plates, the shrimp rings, the bread, were all still there, still perfect, just completely black.”

She looks up and surveys the now picture-perfect main floor dining room, kitchen, and parlour of the bright, white open concept home that was completely rebuilt, renewed, and refreshed in the months following the blaze.”

Today, the smoke grey split-level is more than just a place for Osepchook, spouse Jesse Vergen, and their children (Briar, 7, Cole, 9, and Ethan, 17) to rest their heads. To them, their home is the perfect marriage of function, simple style, and a reminder of what matters most in their lives.

Built by Quispamsis-based Queen Construction, the new house features 12-foot cathedral ceilings and transoms above the main floor windows. The extra height allowed for taller windows, filling the space with natural light.

20150727-1526-IMG-00717. Image by Sean McGrath (http://www.seanmcgrath.ca).Photo by Sean McGrath

The property offered a unique design opportunity for the rebuild, says Mackin, who proposed they bring the outside in. Mackin, Osepchook, and Vergen combed through the barn, sheds, and an old house on the property in search of pieces that could be easily repurposed. They discovered a few gems, including a handbuilt, mixed-wood table that sits in the family’s new dining room, accented by modern chairs.

The Nuevo Apollo 1 pendant is a geometric, industrial-inspired pendant light (supplied by TUCK Studio) that hangs on the main floor. The walls are peppered with Higgins’ original oil paintings.

20150727-1253-IMG-00382. Image by Sean McGrath (http://www.seanmcgrath.ca).

Photo by Sean McGrath

Saint John-based Elevation Contractors used a pile of discarded pine headboards and footboards from Vergen’s childhood bed (wood cut and milled by his father, Gary Vergen) to create the base of a living wall and a half-wall railing in the main living area. The vertical houseplant garden is composed of four pine platforms and eight planters, all donated by small-space décor company, Urbio, as seen in the background of the photo above. Taylor pendants from Elite Living hang above the island.

20150727-1550-IMG-00749. Image by Sean McGrath (http://www.seanmcgrath.ca).

Photo by Sean McGrath

20150727-1441-IMG-00662. Image by Sean McGrath (http://www.seanmcgrath.ca).

Photo by Sean Mcgrath

The living room features the EQ3 Tahsis Pendant hanging above the Gus* Modern Jane Bisectional and chair, as well as (leather chair) paired with the Gus* Modern Timber Table. (table by Judith?) (stools?)

Where colour splashed every room of the old home, the new space is mostly white. A classic, clean base colour keeps the aesthetic simple and easily adaptable should the family want to change décor or add colourful patterns in the future.

20150727-1333-IMG-00605. Image by Sean McGrath (http://www.seanmcgrath.ca).

Photo by Sean McGrath

The only salvageable element from the fire, the concrete foundation, is arguably the new home’s unlikely pièce de résistance. Saint John B&N Flooring polished and finished the slab, which now offers the basement a surprising warmth and eye-catching contemporary element. Read chairs supplied by Herman Miller and hexagon carpet tiles from Flor supplied by TUCK Studio.

The quote stenciled on the wall reads: “Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” “

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