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!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Closing in the Crawlspace on the Cheap

Originally, we were going to have the crawlspace enclosed with a rock skirt. Since we began working on the Queen, the price for this work went from about $7,000 to $15,000-$20,000. There is no way in hell that I can come up with that much money now, maybe ever. However, we couldn't keep the crawlspace open for ever. Something needed to keep the snakes, cold air, and moisture out of the crawlspace. One of our foundation men had an interesting idea. Best of all, it seems to work.

His suggestion was to get some concrete backer board, the same stuff used for tile backing, and use it to enclose the crawlspace. It's tough, it's cheap (relatively), and it's water resistance. You don't need any specialty tools to work with it either. That is always a bonus.

I started a test run a week or so before Thanksgiving. Once I figured out how to do it, it moved pretty fast. First, you mount some wood strips (at least 3/4 inch thick, 2 inches wide) on to the concrete block piers with masonary screws. Then, cut the backer boards to fit and screw them into the wooden supports.

All the work in the photo above was done by me in about 3 hours. I don't know if I should count the first hour since it includes setting up all the tools and figuring out how to do it. It would probably go three time faster if you had someone to help. It's a bitch cutting and hanging the backer board by yourself.

Once we get this all the way up, we're going to prime it, caulk the seams, and paint it a dark to medium gray. Oh, and we're also going to vent it every 8 feet too. I'm hoping this will buy us at least five years (or more?) to get a more permanent skirt in place.


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