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!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Project Envy

While checking out some other house-blogs I noticed two things, both of which made me terribly envious. One, no one I saw yesterday had moved their house. Two, everyone seemed to be living in the house as they were working on it. Those two points hold the key as to why our project is eating us alive.

The problem with moving the Queen was that it forced our hand in a lot of ways. Whereas most people seem to tackle lots of small jobs, one at time, we were faced with a number a enormous jobs which needed to be finished NOW. If we had simply been able to move into the Queen and fix her up at our own pace, we could have put off a lot of things. A new roof and new central heat & air would have been musts, but everything could wait until we got to it. For instance, the wiring needed to be updated, but it worked. We could have put it off for years. The same was true of the plumbing. In preparing the Queen for the move, we had to gut the entire place.

Even if the plumbing and wiring were in dire need of replacement, at least the sewer lines, the water lines, and the electrical hook-ups would have been on site if you didn't have to move the house. We had to install all of these too. In short, what it comes down to is that we bit off way too much.

Second of all, we are paying for two houses: electricity, water, insurance, and mortgages (technically a construction loan and a mortgage). Until we can finish the Queen up enough to live in her, we will continue doing this. We are hoping to move in by this October or November, but there isn't any guarantee that the house we are in now will sell or be rented out. For all I know, I may be paying for both houses till they are paid off or I die.

I guess that is what I get for getting involved with an older, high-maintenance woman.


Blogger Becky said...

We started much the same way you did (we didn't move the house, but it was not inhabitable at time of purchase). We felt much the same way you did that first year too. If only we lived here and didn't have the 45 minuet drive to get any work done so much more would happen. Let me tell you it's not true! You accomplish much more when you come to the house to work, and there are not the distractions of everyday living around. Just wanted you to know you're not alone:)

10:28 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

Both ways of doing it have advantages and disadvantages. In short, there is no easy way. You don't have to live in a construction zone, that's a plus, but I do get a lot done. Sometimes, it is just the little things that really move a project along. For me those little things are easily done because I'm living here and can do them at any time I want.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Sean said...

You are not alone on the second point - We are comming up on three years since the purchase of our house and are still not living there yet - because of severe water damage we had to gut out the bathroom, kitchen and hallway down to the dirt, replace support beams, floor joists, pour a foundation under part of the house that didn't have one, THEN replace all the plumbing, wiring,install central heat and air, insulate, put up new walls before even thinking about making it livable...We finally have finished bath, and a 90% completed kitchen - Tehn we still have to deal with the wood floors in the rest of the rooms before we can move in- meanwhile, I have been paying rent on an apartment nearby, watching that money burn while the house sits, and people saying " You STILL havn't moved in??

11:49 AM  
Blogger Urban Queen Anne said...

Just keep telling yourself: I'll be able to retire early with two houses (if you sell them anyway).

12:41 PM  
Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

Don't feel too badly. We WOULDN'T be living in if we could help it. It slows up the work and ends up costing more in the long run because you have to do everything in small pieces instead of all at once. It is terribly dirty, chaotic and frustrating.

Go for quality of's the process, not the product, that counts.

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