More Goodies!

Up next on my favorite installment of Stuff We’ve Found are these beauties! Another glass bottle, a short rim cartridge, a frequent buyer punchcard from Romeiser’s, dominoes, and really, really old glass. Husband has been doing some rewiring work on our 2nd floor and to access some of those electrical lines, he’s been crawling in walls and prying up floorboards on the third floor. He’s started quite the little collection of items and I could not be more excited. Each piece just adds to the story.

I love to sit and imagine what happened on the days those items were placed there so long ago. Who thought to hide their glass bottle in the wall instead of burying it in the backyard? Who dropped their clothing punchcard between the floorboards and which curse word did they use when they realized it was gone “forever”? Was a child disappointed that they’d lost their dominoes? The endings to those stories are left to the imagination… but that’s my favorite part.

 

 

This Nehi soda glass bottle has a patent date on the bottom of March, 1925. It was bottled here in Belleville, IL. In 1924, the Chero-Cola company added Nehi to its roster of sodas, offering grape, orange, root beer, peach, and other flavors of soda. It was instantly successful (outselling the Chero-Cola name brand entirely), which caused the company to change its name to the Nehi Corporation in 1928. Sales boomed and, despite a dip in sales in 1931 due to the Great Depression, Nehi was widely a household name even through the 1940s.

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When chero-cola was rebranded at Royal Crown cola, the company saw yet another name change to RC Cola, the same RC Cola we see in stores today. It’s likely that this bottle was enjoyed by someone who lived on our third floor during the time it was parcelled into wartime apartments. It’s in remarkable condition, without a single nick or chip.

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This rimfire cartridge seemed pretty mysterious at first because the headstamp on the end resembles the German Cross (which would have been a no-no after about WWI…) but through pretty deep digging, we were finally able to track its source. This is a .22 short rimfire cartridge from the Western Cartridge Company based out of East Alton, IL. They used the Maltese Cross as a headstamp, later using it as their company logo. It’s not uncommon for the German Cross to be confused with the Maltese Cross, which is why we were a little confused in the beginning. The Western Cartridge Company transitioned to using a diamond stamp and logo in 1910, so this cartridge likely predates that.

One of the more interesting finds were these two fully intact sheets of plate glass. The label indicates that they came from the Pittsburgh Plate Glass company in Creighton, PA, the first financially successful plate glass company in the country. Established in 1883, they would become the largest manufacturer of plate glass in the world. Plate glass is different than other glass in that it is poured and rolled into shape, instead of blown. Extensive grinding and polishing operations–reducing the plate to half its original thickness–made the product smooth and shiny, free of optical distortion (AKA: no more wavy glass).

 

There’s no real way of telling if this glass was using during construction of our house in 1887 (with these being leftovers just being left behind) or whether Peter Romeiser was interested in using Pittsburgh Plate Glass in the windows of The Romeiser Company and had these sent as samples. Regardless, the glass itself is in perfect condition. The paper logo is worn but it’s at least 130 years old– what do you expect?! 🙂

Today Husband bought a giant high-power magnet to help grab up any other metal items floating around in the places he crawls through. Hopefully this isn’t my last update on things we’ve found in walls!

Lots of love,
Emily

Music Room Facelift!

Because Pinterest is really French for “You Can’t Sit Still,” I am constantly taunted by exquisite home decor pins. When I stumbled upon one of a room painted Hague blue, I just knew I had to had to HAD TO have one of my own.

I’d been toying around with the idea of redoing our computer and music room so when we de-Christmased and I was staring at an awkwardly empty bay window, I knew now was the best time.

Check out the space before:

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It was perfectly functionally but a bit… boring. There was no spice, no flavor, nothing bold. I didn’t feel like I’d injected any personality into the room whatsoever.

But now? Ohhhhh NOW it is warm and pulled together and cohesive and I am SO happy I went with such a bold color.

Enjoy these after shots!

I used Sherwin William’s Showcase ultra deep base paint-and-primer in “Narragansett Navy” and updated the radiators with Rustoleum’s Hammered Copper.

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Design accents came from Target (their Project 62 line is to die for! Lamp, side table, and succulent are all Project 62), TJMaxx (throw, gold photo frame, and yellow flowers) and Amazon (rug, Persian Rugs Distressed 4620; shelf, Yaheetech). All the other design elements are antiques that I’ve collected over the years. The National Geographic Magazines belong to my great-grandmother Jennie and are all from the 1950s!

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I am so beyond pleased with how this turned out… I can’t stop staring!!!

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Let us know in the comments below… what’s your favorite feature?!

Note: I have no affiliate relationships with any of the stores or brands mentioned in this post!

Til next time,

The Brick and Maple Family ❤️

If Walls Could Talk…

Earlier this week Husband found our first artifact of any real note! In the walls of the 3rd floor, we’ve found things like a pair of pants, an old broom handle, a single baby shoe. (Which isn’t creepy AT ALL…) But this is different and special and OLD.

Monday Hubs was crawling around with our son just poking around the house. The lower half of the wall all around the 3rd floor is wainscoting and there are little doors throughout that open onto a perimeter crawl space, just wide enough to explore.

They found this old bottle!

In doing research (mainly through this edoc from the Society of Historical Archaeology), we discovered this is an old soda bottle from the Belleville Glass Company. The A. Koob (and A.K initials on the bottom) stand for August Koob Soda Works.

Belleville Glass Company was founded (under the Belleville Glass Works umbrella) in 1882 by your Belleville big-hitters. Locals (and readers of some past posts) will recognize these names: J. Eimer, J. Fuess, F. Sunkel and E. Abend. The new firm issued 250 shares of stock at $100 each and by November 1882, the plant was churning out 14,000 bottles a day. These bottles were used for soda and beer.

By 1886, the plant would be purchased by Adolphus Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame. Our bottle bears the A. Koob engraving which points a bit to the year it was made. Now, there’s not a ton of info out there but we did find a document that states that Koob purchased the soda works from Louis Abegg in 1879 and operated it until he died in 1888.

So Koob brand soda was bottled using Belleville Glass Company bottles and this would have had to have happened sometime between 1882 (when the glass company was made) and 1888 (when the soda company was sold). Since our house was built in 1887 and we found this up on the 3rd floor, perhaps it was a refreshment for some hardworking home builder?

An exact version of this bottle sold on eBay for $31 whole dollars. We’re rolling now, y’all! Obviously we’ll never sell this but will happily display it in the home we so lovingly occupy.

Til next time,
The Brick and Maple Family ❤

Bringing the Stairs to Life

Prepare yourselves for about 7,000 pictures of our staircase… We are REALLY thrilled with how it turned out and I find myself just standing and staring at the beautiful wood that’s come back to life.

Here are a few shots of what it looked like before. Over the last 130 years, these floors have been painted, carpeted, and beat up. Not all of the treads are original but things like the landing are. The landing was in the worst shape as you can see in this second photo… carpet glue, paint, dirt, and years of wear-and-tear left it in dire need of some TLC.

Hubs took to woodwork like a fish to water. I swear, I don’t know how he just knows how to do stuff… but he does. First, as in every project we do, we made it safe. When it doubt, there’s ALWAYS lead in the paint… so we went the long, circuitous route of encapsulating ALL the paint on the stairs first, just to be safe. The last thing we’d ever want is to just take to sanding and then have lead paint dust particles floating in the air for forever. This step easily added a week to the project because it involved applying the goop, scraping the goop, properly disposing of the goop, cleaning said goop- a lot- and then letting it all dry.

Once it was dry, THAT’S when the sanding started. They started out like this:

Husband sanded and sanded and sanded. He would get up, sand for a few hours, work until midnight, and do it all again the next day…. but those floors.

Then they looked like THIS… so we got to testing stains and settled on Minwax’s Red Oak.

I stained the treads, painted the risers, AND did research. A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a photo of a home built in the same time frame as ours. It was of their staircase and for a hot second I thought it WAS our house. I got REALLY excited… and then less excited when I realized it wasn’t. However, it had this stunning Newel post lamp that got me wanting one. I took to eBay and found the most beautiful antique French art nouveau piece. The price was right and it was on my doorstep three days later.

The art nouveau distinction leads me to believe it is 1900-1930s time frame The wiring was all original. It still worked but I was concerned with fire safety so I made an off handed comment about how it would just be decorative. Husband (remember when I called him the smartest person in the world?) was like, “Uh, why? I’ll just rewire it.” It was a very Elle-Woods-Gets-Into-Harvard moment when I said “You can DO THAT?” and he cocked his head to the side and was all “What? Like it’s hard?”
So he just went ahead and re-wired the darn thing. He even managed to keep the original switch. So now we have this beautiful, almost-period-specific piece of ART in our entryway. It is so, so beautiful. Now you can see why I can’t stop staring!

Now when my family gets here tomorrow for the holiday, they’ll be able to truly enjoy such a grand entryway staircase. ❤

To wrap up, here are some side-by-sides!

Enjoy your holiday. Be blessed, be thankful. We’ll talk soon!
The Brick and Maple

 

3rd Floor Dreamin’

IMG_2177Today I’m going to introduce you to the third floor… the part of the house that has been virtually untouched over the years. We don’t use it for anything other than storage at the moment but over time, we have BIG plans for this space.

Simply put, the space is huge. The third floor alone is twice as big as the first apartment Mr. Brick and Maple had when we were newlyweds. I’m not exaggerating.

Winding up the twisted staircase, you will discover limitless possibilities, endless potential, a virtual clean slate.

There are two clearly defined spaces. Going straight forward from the top of the stairs you’ll enter what we believe used to be a ballroom. The floors are original and HAVE NOT BEEN PAINTED. That fact alone makes me want to break out in dance! All they’ll need is a good sanding, some very basic patch repairs, and a nice glossy poly sheen.

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In this space, I want to build a reading window with built-in bookcases and thick, plush linens for the most comfort. We’ll strip the column (it’s a chimney) to expose the brick. The corner hidden behind it will be a bright and cheery homeschool space. We’ll likely move our games and Wii system up here to use as a rec room as well!

These rooms at the top of the stairwell will require the most work- only because we envision making a guest suite out of the rooms. If we have people visiting and staying up here, I don’t want them having to go all the way downstairs to use the bathroom. We plan on converting the smaller room (on the left, surrounded in tan) into a small 3 piece bathroom. Sink, toilet, potentially a shower stall… and the room in surrounded in blue (with the two arched windows) will be a guest room.

I love all the little details in this space, like antique carved hinges and simply beautiful floors. These were covered in carpet when we moved in… pulling back the carpet pad was like hearing the Hallelujah Chorus.

When the original family sold the house in 1919, it began to change hands. A LOT. Prior to World War II it was converted into a boarding house with separate apartments. We believe part of this space would have been rented out either to soldiers and airman passing through Scott Air Force Base or to single women coming to the city to work. One of the more notable residents was a cousin of Gen. Douglas MacArthur.

MacArthurAbendNow whether or not their apartment was on the 2nd or 3rd floor, we can’t be sure. But it’s still a fun historical tidbit! 🙂

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I am VERY excited about this project. It is something we will slowly be working on over time… right now I’m still in the Pinterest phase which is probably why I’m so excited. Check back with me later when the actual work starts and I question what exactly we got ourselves into.

Happy Monday from The Brick and Maple! ❤

Before and After: Living Room

Before I even get to how our living room looks now, let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time (…last month), my husband was already living and working in Illinois while I was back at our old house in North Carolina packing our entire house. Packing and packing and packing. It was Box City. In the ten days I had to prep the entire house for our move, I had also been selling furniture left and right. I sold our lawn mower, our grill, our wood chipper, our guest bed, our kitchen dinette set, our ENTIRE dining room suite of a bar, hutch, and 8-seater table with two leaves. Our load was lightening and it felt GREAT. I rented a 27′ U-haul, picked up said truck AND backed it into my driveway, and waited for the movers to come the next day to load the truck. I honestly, truly believed we wouldn’t have an issue with space. They arrived at 8 in the morning, took one look at our house, one look at the truck and said… “that ain’t all gonna fit.”

The movers spent the next 4 hours playing 3-D tetris with our stuff. Now, I am by no means a hoarder. We had a lot of boxes BUT, BUT, BUT, we had a 4 bedroom house and we homeschool. So there are lots of books and science kits and art supplies… but considering all the furniture I sold, everything should have fit.

There I go with that dirty ‘S’ word again… SHOULD. Yeah, it didn’t. They loaded everything they possibly could but there was still out entire back shed and various pieces of furniture that didn’t make it onto the truck. I was faced with either renting a trailer or leaving it all behind. I started throwing things overboard. To our neighbor went the wheelbarrow, to the curb went a cheap IKEA desk that was easily replaceable. One piece, though, was a family heirloom rocking chair that my grandma used to rock my mom, that I used to rock my babies, that my sisters will use if and when they have kids… I couldn’t just abandon it. (No fears! My amazing neighbor is holding it for me until we can go back and get it.)

I ramble on and on about this because once we DID get here to The Brick and Maple, we moved everything in and I said to my husband, “I don’t want these couches anymore.”

After taking up valuable real estate on the truck, we literally turned right around and sold them once we got here. He’s patient and he loves me and I do what I want.

We listed the couches on Facebook Marketplace and then went to pick out something that fit better in the space. The room is classically Victorian. Huge 12′ windows, pocket doors, a beautiful light fixture, and a fireplace that is the focal point of the room. Part of the struggle was wanting to maintain a historic feel while ALSO being comfortable. This is our home and we live in it… we didn’t want to sacrifice style for comfort or history for modern convenience. I think what we ended up with is the perfect blend of plushness without being fussy.

The couches got lots of hits on Marketplace and we lined up someone to come get them the day before the new stuff was delivered. It was the perfect setup: we wouldn’t have to worry about not having anything to sit on for multiple days, and the space would be open when the delivery people arrived… so naturally they never showed up. Now instead of having to worry about having no couches, we had 5 couches. It was Couch City.

Thankfully we found new buyers and only had to bump into furniture for 5 days. Now our living room is streamlined and not filled with enough couches to seat a small army. We have decided to hang the amazing antique lattice window I found at Vintage Market Days on the open space on the wall. (Not sure what I’m talking about? Check out our Instagram!)

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After:

Now I get to wrap my head around decorating for Christmas. It will involve charts and graphs and a planner. If you haven’t already heard, we are one of the lucky homes that gets to be open to tour during the 3rd Annual Belleville Luminary Walk this December. Decorations need to be ON POINT. I was built for this. I am ready.

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Check back next week for my next historical post. This one involves the aforementioned major 20th century event. How is The Brick and Maple and the Romeiser family connected to this event… and what do you think it could be? Comment below with your guesses. (And if you’re one of the few who already knows- don’t spoil it!)

As always, stay sweet!
The Brick and Maple Fam ❤

 

Craigslist Strikes Again

It’s gotten to the point in our almost-ten year marriage where anytime my husband hears me say, “hey babe- come look at this,” he knows he’s in for an entire afternoon of hair-brainedly (that’s a word, yes?) chasing down something I found on Craigslist.

Once it was a SINGLE OWNER, absolutely pristine, 100-year old Werner piano, WITH THE ORIGINAL CLAWFOOTED STOOL, listed for a hundred bucks. It was 45-minutes away in Rock Hill, SC — this was when we were living in Charlotte, NC. Did we have a truck? Nope. Did we have someone to help lift it? Nope. Did we even have a trailer hitch? No way. But we DID have the hundred bucks and a fun afternoon procuring said trailer hitch and renting a uhaul. We somehow, miraculously, managed to get it out of the historic Rock Hill home, down the concrete steps, and onto the trailer bed.

No joke, this piano is easily the same weight as a newborn elephant. We drove it home, in the rain, with me sitting backwards watching out the back window, making husband stop every few miles to make sure the straps were secure. I’m really fun to be around when antiques are involved.

Other Craigslist adventures have included the time someone asked me to pay for something with a $20 and a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, the time our eternal souls were threatened because our *free* First Come, First Serve pile of firewood had already been picked up, and yesterday, when I managed to find a stained glass window the exact size as the opening above our laundry room door and ended up standing in the Home Depot parking lot in Collinsville, IL listening to Mr. Window Guy explain the hazards of lead paint. For a long time.

Thanks, dude. Our house is upwards of 130 years old. Strangers to the threat of lead paint we are not.

We still have to frame out the window and touch up the paint… it’s old, it’s a little bit broken, but it still works just fine. Kind of a metaphor for life. 🙂

 

We prepped the space by removing some older screws, cleaning the frame, and then sanding down some of the existing trim to make it fit just exactly right.

You can tell this was an existing exterior window. One pane is broken… and so grabbing it from the back of Mr. Window Guy’s truck was kind of like me white-glove handling The Declaration of Independence. If the Declaration of Independence only cost $25 and lived in the back of some dude’s truck.

Like I said, it still needs to be framed in just a little bit, and freshened up with some paint… but it just instantly adds so much to the space in our kitchen. It is my joy in life to continue bringing this house back to its former, Victorian glory.

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Until my next Craigslist find,
The Brick and Maple Family ❤