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!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Julian Electric

I've nearly wiped out all my vacation time at work this week. I had to take two hours off this morning to meet an electrician.

Don't get me wrong, I was glad to go meet him. I've spent weeks trying to find an electrician that would look at the Queen before giving me a quote. The prevailing attitude was, "I hate re-wiring, I hate old homes, I will sodomize you with my hourly rate, and, if you're dumb enough to seriously consider hiring me, maybe I'll come out an take a look at the place."

Yeah, right. Thanks.

Julian Electric passed several important tests. First, they called back with 24 hours of my initial message. Second, they came highly recommend by a couple of guys who have done other work for me. Three, they wanted to see the house before they gave a quote.

I arrived at the Queen 10 minutes early. Thirty minutes later I was wondering if I was going be stood up. The prospect was very disappointing. Then they arrived.

"I used to think I knew Crow Mountain pretty well, but there are so many new subdivisions up here that I don't recognize anything, " Mr. Julian said.

I would have dismissed this as an excuse, but he's the third contractor I've heard this from. There are little 1500 to 2500 square foot French Provincials springing up all over the place like mushrooms on cow pies.

I like Mr. Julian. Unlike some contractors, I think that if he were left alone with my son, I wouldn't have to start a blood-vendetta when I got back. He didn't blow any smoke up ass either. He also likes old houses (a plus) and recommend a Cajun in Hector, Arkansas, that does lots of good trim and cabinet work out of salvaged wood.

After looking at the Queen, he gave me a rough estimate of how long the job would take and a rough dollar amount. It was all within resonable bounds. He's also willing to work it in sections if we run low on money. He's definitely going to connect the heating and air system and all the three-way switches. After that, we'll see how our budget looks.

I'm cautiously optimistic, which worries me. My judgment has been bad before, but hopefully not this time.

As it is, Julian electric will be starting the beginning of next week.


Blogger Gary said...

The time consuming part about wiring is running the lines. If you could install the cable and have the electrician attach the plugs and circuit breakers then you could save some money, alot of money. Buy the Black and Decker Home wiring book the sell at Home Depot. It is about $25 I think, maybe less. It will tell you what you need to be up to code. Believe me it's worth it because you will probably decide after the fact that it would be cool to have wall lights or an extra 3-way or 4-way switch after the electrician is done.

8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did a lot of my own rewiring, but I felt competent doing it, and there's no inspectors to worry about where I am (or building codes for that matter.)


8:53 PM  
Blogger John said...

Gary, thanks for the book reference. The ones I have are barely adequate for the basics.

If I could work on the house at my leisure, I'd probably do all the electric myself room by room.

Since I have the bank to contend with, I'm hiring out the "difficult" projects (AC & 3-way switches).

There are still three or four rooms that are halfway done that I'm saving for myself to cut costs. With the exception of one bedroom, we've already run most of the lines from the breaker box so we won't be paying for that either.

5:47 AM  

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