The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

The Amazing, Flying Contractor

As April nears, we find ourselves waiting for yet another contractor. Aside from our own inexperience, the factor that has cost us the most time and money is contractors. Our first contractor spoiled us. James Wyche was awesome. Our roofer was very good as well. Since then it has been down hill.

My in-laws recommended two fellows named Keith and Mike. My wife's step father knew Keith from work and thought that he could cut us a good deal. Since money was short, we decided to give them a try. Bad idea. In the course of three months, they came to work maybe three or four times. The work they did sucked. And, mysteriously, our yard and house began to fill with beer cans. So, we fired them. Actually, Mike quit after my wife gave him an ultimatum.

We tried to get James Wyche back, but he'd moved back to Texas since he could make more money there.

Scarlet tracked down a contractor named Tony Anderson. Tony Anderson was awesome. He is legendary among contractors in our area. In one week he fixed everything that Mike and Keith had screwed up and finished the two additions to the house (a master bath and a bath-laundry-pantry addition off the kitchen).

Several months went by as we worked on the house. We intended to finish the house ourselves, but it soon became apparent that we wouldn't finish on time. We needed more help. My wife hired her cousin (second cousin?) to finish the exterior of the house. This included doing all of the soffits, repairing old siding, siding the additions, building a new front and back porch, and other such tasks. Up to this point, we had paid all of our contractors by the job. For those of you that are considering working with contractors, this is the only way to go - NEVER HIRE BY THE HOUR! But, we did since he was family. In my wife's cousin's defense, he did good work as did his subcontractor - it just took forever. And, at about $1,500.00+ a week, we just couldn't afford them. Moreover, the longer they worked on the house, the slower they went. And, they could not or would not give us an end date. So, we let them go too. They finished the porches (almost) and did some work on the siding, but that was it.

Then we found a new contractor. He came out and gave us an excellent bid (apx. $2,900.00 to finish the house's exterior) and said that he could do the entire job in about two weeks. We hired him. A couple a days went by and we hadn't heard from or seen him. We called his house to find out what had happened to him. The day after he gave us the bid he fell off the roof of a house and broke his back. That was nearly a month ago. We saw him few days ago at Hastings in Russellville. He said that he ought to be able to start this week, but that it was taking him a little longer to finish the last project than he'd expected. A broken back was slowing him down. I'm amazed that he is able to work at all.


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