“We don’t have a living room, we have a LEGO room,” Emily Krans says about her family’s home in West Bend. Emily and her husband, Eric, are called AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO), people who revisit their childhood imagination by creating worlds made of building blocks. The Krans’ living room is replete with building tables and cabinets and drawers filled with different sizes, shapes and colors of bricks. “It’s kind of organized chaos,” Emily laughs.
She says that her romance with Eric was forged in colorful plastic bricks. “Back when we were dating, we were looking up sets that we were interested in from our past.” They found the set Emily had enjoyed as a child that featured a wizard and a parrot. Eric surprised her – he purchased the set and built it, but there was an addition: a small treasure box. When Emily opened it, she found a ring and a proposal to be his lifelong LEGO-building partner.
Now the couple collaborates on projects that they show at LEGO-themed events, like the upcoming Brickworld, Oct. 23-24 at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Products Pavilion (brickworld.com). Brickworld features vendors and shows off impressive feats of brick construction, ranging from medieval castles to 13-foot-long spaceships.
The Krans’ display at the event includes their massive “Harry Potter Experience” build that is “10 banquet tables long” with motorized Quidditch players built by Eric. Emily has also made a “Christmas Town” inspired by buildings in West Bend, a “Christmas in California’’ with brightly colored beach houses, and a series of paintings with bricks built off a 2-D background.