Belleville News Democrat Feature

Last week, I sat down with Heidi Wiechert to tell the story of Emma Romeiser Pannes… today the story went live. It is accompanied by a video interview with Derik Holtmann that narrates a bit of her and John’s life set against the backdrop of what they’re most known for: that they died on the Hindenburg.

This has been an incredible experience and I am so grateful that both Heidi and Derik were so thorough. My fear in all of this is that I would miss something or not do Emma and John justice… I shouldn’t have worried about that. The BND honored them both in such a real way.

Here is the link to the story. I hope you’ll share it.

If you found my blog through the story, welcome! Please scroll through the archives to check out my other posts. We’ve tried to mix it up with home renovation projects, historical research, and introducing the original family. We also document our day to day on Instagram. Give us a follow @thebrickandmaple!

Thank you to everyone at the Belleville News Democrat for this incredible story!

3rd Annual Old Belleville Historical Luminary Walk


On Saturday, December 9th, from 5-9pm, the historic brick streets of Abend and Garfield in Belleville, Illinois, will be lit with hundreds of luminaries as this special holiday tradition takes place. The streets will be closed off from cars so that you can enjoy these beautiful homes, all lit up in their holiday splendor, from a unique perspective.

Luminaries will light the route and extend up the sidewalks of a few homes that will be open to tour. For this week’s post, I’m going to feature the museums and homes that will be open… one of which is (drum roll please!) OUR home! If you’ve ever wanted to come tour The Brick and Maple for free, this will be your chance!

This is just a quick slideshow of the homes and museums open. More information and historical importance will be available AT these locations during the tour.

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Also open is 509 Garfield Street, the Winker house, built sometime around 1876. You can follow this home’s adventure over on Instagram at @historicrevival 24312811_2061493974070319_2362765819503435222_n

Enjoy warming stations throughout, refreshments at select locations, and jolly old St. Nicholas roaming about! And for the kids, each destination has a “Hidden Lincoln” for the kids to find and get a passport stamp.

As always, remember these are our neighbors homes. If you enter a home, feel free to ask questions but please be respectful. We are just a local group of history fanatics, passionate about the stories our homes have to tell. We are HAPPY to answer your questions but ask you understand if there’s an area roped or closed off to the public.

Remember that the homes that are open will have luminaries leading up their walkway– these are the only homes that are open! 😀

A lot of hard work has gone into this event and we are so excited to see you on Saturday. Use this as a reason to enjoy ALL our quaint, adorable downtown has to offer. Restaurants, shops, and our awesome German Christmas Market at the public square. Don’t forget, the Luminary Walk is TOTALLY free! We will have donation buckets at the open houses, though, for the Belleville Historical Society. Not required by any means.

Don’t let the cold keep you away this weekend. Bundle up and come enjoy Belleville!


My next post will be alllllll about Christmas decorations. You won’t want to miss it! So hit subscribe, follow, or get sneak peeks on our Instagram, @thebrickandmaple!

Lots of love and tidings of great joy,
The Brick and Maple family

Our first before & after: my art room

Hey y’all!

As we are (…slowly) getting the house unpacked and put together, we thought it would be a fun time to go ahead and start sharing our before and after pictures with you! This first room is one of my favorites in the whole entire house. Used as a nursery by the previous owners, this adorable little room off of the Master suite is now my art room, writing area, and guest space. Because my husband is amazing and spoils me endlessly, he has gifted this room to me to use in whatever way I want.

For my whole life, I’ve loved to draw, paint, make things with my hands, just generally be creative, and having a space designed just for that is my dream come true. There’s plenty of storage for my sketchbooks, paints, pencils, brushes, art books, ad infinitum. Plus, all the natural light streaming in from the big bay window is soothing and inspirational.

Borrowing a before-before photo from the previous owners, you can see where this room started when they took over renovations in 2012.

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Because it was used as a nursery, you can tell the hours and blood, sweat, and tears that were poured into this room to make it safe. Wiring was updated, walls and ceiling were repaired with new drywall, the floors were lovingly sanded and polished.


When all was said and done, this lovely space was complete with two chandeliers and a calming periwinkle color.


Putting my own flair and style into this space involved hiding a chair from my husband that I bought from a lady on Facebook Marketplace, scoring a sweet side table from the clearance section of Target for no apparent reason, finagling a way to get a stunning daybed home from World Market after I discovered that it wouldn’t fit in my car (hey people who make sales tags: you should really put the dimensions of THE BOX on the tag, too…), and convincing aforementioned husband that, duh, putting a white rug down IS totally a good idea.


(And yes- those fairy lights were definitely put up before my shoes were unpacked or the washing machine was even hooked up… I have my priorities, ok?)


As silly as this may sound, I need this space. It feeds my soul. Surrounded by only dudes in my house, this exists as a clean, quiet, feminine oasis in a world otherwise filled with military acronyms, bugs, dirty shoes, and poop jokes.

This room is ABSOLUTELY my favorite place to be right now. It is everything girly and floral and pretty and soft in this world… When I close my eyes and think about luxury, this is what I see.

Keep checking in for more before and after photos as we continue to unpack! As always, follow us on Instagram to keep up with us between bloggity-blog posts. @thebrickandmaple

Stay sweet,
The Brick and Maple Fam ❤