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, October 28, 2005

Finishing Up a Busy Week

While the Chipboard Beast has monopolized a considerable amount of my time, other things have been going on at the Queen during the last week.

With the exception of a cut off valve for the refrigerator's ice maker, all the cold water lines have been run. The hall bath and master bath have been plumbed for hot water too. The next step in the plumbing master plan is installing our on-demand, electric hot water heaters.


Since none us are familiar with this type of heater, it's taken us a little longer to get these figured out. Really, it hasn't been too hard to wrap our little minds around, but it's taken us forever to get all the parts we need together. Poor planning on our part. After God knows how many trips to Lowe's and Ace Hardware, we finally have soft copper lines, pvc & cpvc to copper adaptors, shut off valves, and etc. I think we may get these puppies installed this weekend. Here's to hoping.

Sometimes I feel like I'm just chasing a mirage of a working bathroom.


Last weekend, my mother volunteered to come up from Little Rock to scrape wallpaper in the master bedroom because she likes it. She admits it's a sick fetish. I have to agree, but who am I to stand between someone and their fetish as long as it doesn't harm any innocents? There was also the extra bonus that she brought homemade sugar cookies for everyone. This is a first as far as volunteer workers go, and I liked it.

As part of our ongoing wallpaper stripping experiment, I made an impulse purchase of a wallpaper steamer at Lowe's. Whether this was a good investment remains to be seen. According to the box, after one application of the steamer, all the wallpaper should come off with one quick scraping. Sounds a little too good to be true. We ran out of time to try it out, so we will be trying it out tomorrow or Sunday. A full report will follow.

I also tackled the small project of installing working locks (some temporary) on the Queen's doors. So far we haven't had any problems with our open doors, but an itch at the back of mind was telling me that it was time to lock her up. I could rationalize it by saying that we're nearly ready to move in some expensive appliances (ranges, dishwashers, etc), but I did it because I had a feeling it was the thing to do.

My wife spoke with our brick mason last night. Since I've locked the house up, he'll need a key to work on the Queen. We thought it would be neighborly to give him one. He said he'll start next week and it should be finished before Thanksgiving. If he could manage it, that would be excellent.

My wife's family used to have Thanksgiving at the old family homestead in Ada Valley. They'd enclose the shell of her great-grandmother's house (nothing grand, a vernacular farm cottage) with plastic sheeting and install a wood stove vented through a window. They'd eat their Thanksgiving dinner indoors, then the adults would visit over coffee while the kids went out to play on the overgrown 60 acres of land. Over the years, the house finally deteriorated and collapsed. Boards and stones were salvaged from the ruins by the family. A few years ago, the aunt that owns the property had the brush and ruins cleared to build a new plantation style home (she's been fighting cancer since then so no progress has been made on the new home).

The Ada Valley Thanksgiving tradition has been abandoned with the house's demise. The last attempt to keep it going was pretty miserable. Thanksgiving was held in an out door pavilion. It was cold, very windy, and icy rain fell off and on the whole day. The next year Thanksgiving was held at my wife's grandmother's. It was nice enough, but it was a cramped fitting all those folks into her house. My wife's family is huge. Attendance was low, but there were still 30-40 people there. That, and the ambiance wasn't the same as the Valley either.

If everything goes well, this year we'll host Thanksgiving at the Devil Queen. Three acres and a creek should keep the kids busy, we have nothing but room at the Queen, and it'll definitely have that rundown house ambiance. A working fireplace, toilet, and a sink would be a bonus.

3 Comments:

Blogger TheAce0804 said...

I've always considered looking into those on-demand hot water heaters, but haven't for some reason. They say they're much more energy efficent, and while they're somewhat more expensive, they make up the cost in a few short years.

Let us know how they work!

I started a new website detailing adventures in home improvements and in being a new home owner (www.stoneandlight.blogspot.com) and I added a link to you there.

I visit your site regularly whenever I feel a job is to much to handle to remind myself that I've got it fairly simple.

Keep up the hard work.

1:00 PM  
Blogger JLynnette said...

I fondly remember the Thanksgivings we spent at my granny's house. We'd stuff ourselves silly and then go out in the backyard and pester the boys while they played football.

My brother-in-law in TX installed an on-demand hot water heater and absolutely loves it. I hope you have good luck with yours.

1:53 PM  
Anonymous Brenda said...

Wow,your mother scrapes wallpaper and brings sugar cookies. My mother once tried to scrape a wad of gum off our hallway floor (to show us up, I think, for never having tackled it--it wasn't so bad, the old owner had simply painted over it). She fell into a weeping heap of agony over her arthritis pain and, bitterly proclaiming how "useless" she had become, had to be sedated. This is not called the 'Crazy'Stable for nothing. Give Mom a hug for me.

12:14 PM  

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