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!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Stay of Execution

We've dodged the bullet for now.

We have a fat wad of cash for our contractor and a promise of more in weeks to come. Sounds good but there is a catch. We have approximately 90 days to finish the Queen. Finished, by the bank's standard, is a complete exterior (siding, enclosed crawlspace), a heating & air unit, working plumbing, working electrical system, working bathrooms, and a working kitchen. Having everything painted (well, primed at least) and the floors refinished would go a long way with them too.

With all that completed, the idea is we refinance (take out a mortgage to pay off our construction loans) and pay the bank off in full. If we don't make the deadline, we start facing some ugly financial penalties. And, I know for a fact that we won't be able to pay the penalties.

So, we begin our final gamble. It is all or nothing.

Tony finished siding and trimming our master bathroom addition yesterday. After two years of looking like some sad, chip-board shanty, our master bath is now a fully integrated part of the Queen. I can't wait to see it.

If Rita doesn't dump too much rain on us for the first part of next week, Tony should have all our siding finished by Wednesday. Then he'll begin work on the interior of the Queen.

In preparation for next week's work, we're going to spend a lot of time cleaning up the work areas. It just isn't cost effective to hire a master carpenter to work on your house, and then pay him to move lumber and other junk out of his way.

We need to move the kitchen cabinets out of storage in the living room and into the kitchen, clean and stack all the wallboards, bead-board, et cetera close to where it'll be needed, clean off the back porch (our impromptu workshop) so Tony can get to the walls to hang siding, weed-eat, clean up our trash piles, and whatever else needs to be done. My wife has a list two pages long, but that is only the beginning.

We are also going to finish the kitchen floor and try to finish plumbing the house. Our electrician should be up this weekend trying wire up as many rooms as he can (kitchen and master bathroom first).

Sounds like a busy weekend, doesn't it? Yes, but there is even more. We also need to insulate the bathroom addition (the additions' walls get rolled bats instead of blown insulation like the rest of the Queen), install light fixtures, buy some stuff at Lowe's, and fix some windows.

I'm not sure how long everyone else is planning to work, but I think I'm in for two 10 to 12 hour days.

We also have to get all of our hired help lined up. We already have our carpenter at work, our mason will be out the 1st of October (I know that is a Saturday, but that is what he said), and our HVAC guy will be out in October once the plumbing is finished. The only loose end is the rock guy. We will need our crawlspace enclosed as soon as the plumbing is finish. We haven't been able to get a hold of our first choice, so we're looking for someone else. And we need them NOW. Really, that is just piss-poor planning on our part, but we didn't expect things to go the way that they have.

While most of this month has been dominated with anxiety about the Queen's finances, our struggle has started to become a pride-fight as well. In short, our financier told my wife that he thought the house looked like crap, it was a waste of time and money, and he didn't think that we could pull it off.

I think he is wrong about the first two items for sure. There is a chance that he may be right on the third point, but I'm not convinced. In fact, I'd love to prove him wrong and I'm going to do my damnedest to do so. Then, when this old whore of a house becomes a shining, beautiful beacon on the hill, I'll have something that I'll want him to kiss.


Blogger Greg said...

Good luck. There's nothing like a deadline to keep you focused.

11:20 AM  
Blogger lynette said...

I second that. Good luck & look forward to hearing how things go

12:30 PM  

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