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, December 19, 2005

A Qualified Success

This weekend was a success, I think. The front bedroom floor is solid and level for the first time in God knows how long. The gaping hole for the fireplace-that-never-was is sealed. Well, 95% sealed.

When I started this project, I thought it would be a relatively quick job. Frame in the 4 ft. x 6 ft. hole, lay a sheet of ¾ inch plywood, and voila! Easy, right? Nope. Nothing is ever easy. I think I spent more time fixing the sagging floor than I did framing in the hole.

The Devil Queen has huge, true 2x10 joists for her floors. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any 2x10’s, old or modern, in my salvage piles. Instead, I reluctantly used 2x6’s. I spaced them on 12” centers to make up for their smaller size. I probably over-built the framing, but I prefer that to the alternative: under-built floor caves in sending the wood burning stove, full of red-hot embers, crashing through the floor in the middle of the night. What can I say? I’m an optimist.

Once I finished framing in everything, I figured laying the plywood would be a cake-walk. The problem was I couldn’t find a single 4’ x 8’ sheet of ¾ inch plywood. Apparently, Tony Anderson used them all up when he was working on the hall floor. Fortunately, there were a lot of scraps available, but they were all the wrong size. The smallest span of plywood I am willing to use is 24 inches. Most of the scraps are 23 to 23 ¼ inches long. This leaves me with a hell of a puzzle. So far I’ve manage to lay about 75% of the plywood without having to double up any of the 2x6’s to make-up the difference.

I probably could have puzzled out that last 29 x 36 inch section, but it was getting late. I was tired and starting to make stupid mistakes. I have one board that could conceivably fill this gap in one go. I did not want to mess it up because I was too tired to make a good measurement or cut.

Besides, the Devil Queen is creepy as hell when the sun goes down. My wife’s best friend grew up less than a quarter of a mile from the Queen. She still maintains to this day that the woods around the Queen are haunted. According to her no one in their right mind would be out in the woods at night. It sounds a bit melodramatic, but maybe she’s right.

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