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, August 29, 2005

Smell the McCarthyism in the Air

Our death-dance with the Devil Queen continued this weekend.

Saturday my wife and I spent the day stripping wallpaper in the master bedroom. I'd originally planned to work on the kitchen floor, but I am easily side-tracked.

Stripping modern wallpaper was new experience for me. Having tried it, I can now say with authority that it sucks.

The previous owners believed in the Layer Method of remodeling. According to the Layer Method, all old layers of paint, flooring, wallpaper, etc should be left intact and the newest layer should be installed directly on top of it. I suspect they thought it quite a clever way to get an extra layer of insulation on the cheap. Ah, such sly geniuses.

The first layer of wallpaper was relatively ugly but it came of in huge sheets. Grab the curled up corner, pull, and the whole damn sheet would come right off. It would have been beautiful except for what we found beneath it.

This 1950's vintage wallpaper is a glorious pink that the photo didn't reproduce. It's far too muted and doesn't convey the latent feeling of paranoia, fear of nuclear apocalypse, and the scourge of McCarthyism. As a bonus, the wallpaper also released the funk of musty, old people.

The McCarthy Pink Wallpaper was thoughtfully covered in spackle before the outer most layer of wallpaper was laid. They may have done this to smooth the wall's surface before installing the newest layer, but I think they did it just to piss me off. I'm sure the clairvoyant bastards enjoyed watching us suffer.

They spent what they saved on insulation on glue. They had so much they put on two layers of pink wallpaper in places. It wasn't just a couple of inches of overlap to make the pattern match up. There is one section of the room that had five feet of over lap. Why? Pure spite is my guess.

Most of the dry wall was in pretty sorry shape by the time we were finished with it. We have a lot of spackling to do.

Fortunately, we have perfected a removal technique that works well (less work, less damage to the drywall). First, we take a water soaked rag and run it over the wallpaper. We let is sit for a few minutes an then mist it with water applied with a spray bottle. Usually, this is enough to loosen the glue. If not, we soak it with the spray bottle a few more times. The trick seems be keeping it constantly wet until the glue gives. A sharp scraper takes care of the rest.

Sunday, Charlie and I worked on the kitchen floor and the Mrs. worked on scraping wallpaper. More on that later though, I have a busy day of harassing our utility company.


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Anonymous Carol said...

What's the deal with all these spammer replies in the weblogs today? Is there software that removes them before they post?
My comment was: is the'master' bedroom really a master bedroom or just the largest bedroom in the house or just the one you choose to sleep in? The whole concept of 'master bedroom' seems so new house people- an invention contrived in the 1970's maybe. Just curious.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Jocelyn said...

I remember stripping a non-vinyl based paper off my old bedroom in my mom's condo- it was brutal and came off in small pieces. It is indeed an horrendous task.

if it peels right off consider yourself fortunate!

5:49 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I've stripped more wallpaper than I can even remember. The worst was the kitchen - and think this is a record - 17 layers of wallpaper. That's right, I counted 17 distinct layers of wallpaper. Beat that!

8:41 PM  
Blogger amanda said...

I don't envy your weekend... but I do have a question. Is there any way to remove wallpaper that has been painted over? I realized about halfway through painting out the blinding faux work in the back bedroom that the POs had started removing wallpaper, then decided that it was making the wall condition much, much worse (they were right with that one) and so they should just paint over it. By the point that I realized this, I wasn't going to try to do anything about it, but I was just curious if you knew a fix. I haven't gotten any spam with the haloscan commenting, it's free, and it autoinstalls, just in case you're interested!

11:17 AM  

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