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, November 14, 2005

Research and Planning, A Do-It-Yourselfer's Best Friends

I thought it might be nice to take a break from the torrid melodrama of our renovation project and talk about some basic home improvement issues.

First and foremost, you can never do too much research and planning.

For example, we have finally finished plumbing the Queen except for one thing, our claw foot tub. We bought a nice brass drain and supply lines for the tub ages ago. As with any other fixture, you generally want a shut-off valve between the supply line and the tub. You can buy nice looking supply lines with built in shut-off valves, but they cost a little more than those that do not. Strapped for cash, we opted for a set without shut-off valves. Based on the little that we knew, we reasoned that we could install our own shut-off valves at a fraction of the price.

It turns out this is true, which is good. On the downside, if I don't put in some extra work, it's going to look like crap. In hindsight, I wish I'd paid an extra $50.00 for the built-in shut-off valves. If I'd done my research, I wouldn't have this problem.

Since I didn't spend enough time studying this out, I now have three options.

1. Buy supply lines with built-in shut-off valves. Since we can't return the ones we already bought and we don't have any money, this isn't a real option.

2. Run PVC/CPVC through the floor, glue on some threaded couplings, screw on our shut-off valves, and connect our supply lines. This means that we'll have some classy white pipe sticking out of the floor. The diameter of the PVC/CPVC pipes precludes us from covering them with the nice, brass collars we have.

3. Learn the fine art of soldering copper piping. Or, rather, re-learn. It's been over ten years since I was taught how to do this and I haven't done it since. With the aid of a good book, I hope to pick this up with a quickness. The copper is the right size to fit through the brass collar and there will be no white pipe (and very little if any copper pipe) visible.

I'm going for option three. It should be interesting.

So, before you do anything, do your research and plan it out. It'll save you some serious grief.


Blogger Patricia W said...

I plumbed in my clawfoot in July. The hoses the plumbing shop gave us were the braided compression hoses and looked absolutely awful. Last week the plumbers came in and redid it for me with the chrome supply lines. They installed shut-offs in the basement under the floor so you don't have to see them and it looks so much better. Also, all of the plumbing I had done cost me very little as I shopped around and took bids for the work. Plumbing is one of the worst areas for me and I end up making tens of trips to the store for the 'right part'. I'm glad yours went well.

3:48 PM  
Blogger derek said...

you can get brass shut off valves, you'd only need a few inches of copper to go below the floor, then a compression fitting to attach to cpvc. I don't know if that's the look you're going for though.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Peter Sanchez said...

You can do it if you have done it before. If you are a little unsure about it, why don't you buy a couple of extra couplings, which are cheap, and you can do a little practice before you do it for real.

6:57 AM  

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