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!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Cost of Procrastination

I have some advice for all the housebloggers out there. If you can afford to, buy all the materials you need for the foreseeable future now.

Last summer and fall we got a lot of quotes for several projects on the Devil Queen. Rocking in the crawlspace, installing heating and air, building fireplaces, etc. Unfortunately for us, most of these projects were contingent upon other projects' completion (plumbing and electricity). Things dragged on, and a year later we are finally ready. Unfortunately, we're finding the price of everything has gone way up. Between soaring fuel prices, steel and concrete shortages (high demand from China), and rebuilding the Gulf Coast after Rita & Katrina, the price for everything is climbing at an insane rate. For example, one contractor told me that the price of sheetrock went up 30% in one week.

The cost of our heating and air system has increased about 20%. In addition to increases for materials, there new government regulations have been implemented which also increased costs.

The cost of rock work has doubled or tripled over the last year. In addition to the afore mentioned factors, the government has restricted the harvesting of rock from public lands. A few years ago you could drive off-road on public lands and load up a truck full of rock. Now you have to stay on the roads and carry the rocks, one by one, out of the woods to the truck. Most contractors and rock layers don't have the time to harvest their rocks this way. Instead, they have to buy their rocks and pass the cost on to us. Not that I can prove it, but I also believe that some are padding their labor costs and blaming it on the hurricanes.

I'm really glad that I stocked up on plywood, concrete backer board, and bricks last year. The pile of bricks we bought for the fireplaces last year is worth 40% more than what we paid for it. I wish we'd bought more (or stayed on schedule).


Blogger Kristin said...

Ouch! That makes me nervous. We better go buy some cement backerboard before it goes up any higher.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Patricia W said...

Yeah. I am now worried about the dining room I will need to have rocked in the coming month or two. I dodged a bullet with my roof (it was being completed when Katrina hit). I am dreading the thought of what it will cost.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Lets see, another 25 lbs of shellac might just do it but it has a shelf life of 12 months....
I'm going to need about 10 square of slate to do my mansard roof in a year, I guess that will cost me another 2 grand when the time comes to order it....

8:55 PM  

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