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, December 29, 2005

I'm a Bad, Bad Boy

I had a great Christmas, the best I can remember in a long time, but I didn’t do jack on the Devil Queen. I don’t know how it happened. I just woke up one morning and it was time to go back to the office. I'm a very bad boy.

For the first time, we hosted Christmas at our house. As the resident food-whore, I was a one man cooking machine. My idea of living on the edge is inviting a dozen people over and preparing a menu full of dishes I’ve never made before. Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas brunch are my life in microcosm. It pretty well tells you how I ended up with a decrepit 115 year old house with no construction experience. I seem thrive under conditions that seem to preordain failure.

On this occasion, I succeed in spite of the odds. There were no fires or explosions (my mother-in-law has burned down two kitchens to date, so this could have really happened), and I successfully incorporated 2 ½ pounds of butter into two meals. How can you go wrong when you cook with that much butter? It went so well we’ve decided to tempt Fate and try it again next year.

I wracked up an unbelievable mountain of loot, but I’m a little scared. My wife really went all out and buried me in some awesome Christmas gifts. I love them, but I’m worried that she’s trying to prepare me for some bad news. As close as I can figure, it’s probably one of the following:

1) I am not the father of her child.
2) She’s having an affair with a younger, smarter, richer man.
3) After nearly seven years of marriage, she’s decided that she’s a lesbian.

On the upside, I don’t think she’s bought any more old houses for us to fix up. At this point, I think I’d cry if she did that.

My dad gave me an awesome home improvement book by George Nash entitled, Renovating Old Houses. I haven’t had a chance to dig into it, but a quick perusal provided answers to two long standing questions I had. The chapter on foundations alone is enough to justify buying this baby. If you have an old home or you’re thinking about buying one, get this book. It’s cheaper than fixing any one of the 1001 mistakes you can make while working on an old home. It’ll pay for itself.

My wife got a cool book, New Orleans Then and Now, by Richard and Marina Campanella. It’s probably a little out of date after what Katrina did to N.O., but it’s still a very interesting book. The book has photos of prominent buildings from the 19th and early 20th centuries, and photos of how the building or their sites looked in the late 1990’s. It strange what buildings survived and which didn’t, and it’s depressing how much was deliberately destroyed from 1930-1970. Still, it has lots of great photos and architecture. If you’re interested in New Orleans, check it out.


Anonymous Jenne said...

I have the Nash book also. I bought it, and after reading it, I felt much more comfortable with my house. Prior to buying it, I felt that my fuse box would spontaneously combust and that every bit of plumbing in the house NEEDED to be replaced. Now I don't worry so much ;)

11:10 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Hey, my neighbor got that book for Christmas, too. It looks like a great one!

5:02 PM  

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