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 ❤

 

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.

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

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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 ❤