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 03, 2006


I blame the holidays.

All that time I spent in the comfort of my home, the tons of food, a generous flow of liquor, and time with my family completely undermined my work ethic. Confronted with the hulking ruin of the Queen, I wonder why the hell I’m even bothering. Three years of work for this?! I stand a better chance of drawing social security than finishing this old whore.

In short, it wasn’t a happy weekend of work on the Queen for me. Monday was particularly bad. I finished off the last of the fireplace floor patch and despaired. I considered patching the hole left from the aborted chipboard beast air return, but decided I didn’t particularly want to crawl around under the Queen after dark. Sure, I could have hauled a halogen lamp with me, but I just didn’t want to. That left me touring a shamefully long line of unfinished projects looking for something to do.

After three years of work, the interior is still a wreck. I was run over by the shear number of things left to do. Usually I avoid this by keeping a maniacal focus on one specific task. With this mental blinder in place, I can pretty well ignore everything else. Somehow, I couldn’t get my blinder on this weekend. By the time I stumbled out to offer to help paint the tub, I was ready to hang myself. My wife tried providing moral support, which was a strange turn of events. Usually, I’m the diehard urging her on. The switching of roles was odd to both of us. She did a great job, but I wasn’t entirely ready to give up my mood. There isn’t much I commit to, but, once I do, I’m tenacious. Sometimes that doesn’t work to my favor.

My wife took advantage of the freakishly warm weather to paint the outside of our claw foot tub. She finished priming the tub and put three coats of Rustoleum Hammered Copper on it. The copper looks really good. My mother-in-law has a flare for creatively mutilating the English language. It’s like she has her own one-person dialect. Somehow, she managed to turn Hammered Copper into “Hammered Hamster.” That has got to be a hell of a color.

I tried helping with the tub, but it was difficult. The only noteworthy contribution I made was rolling the tub upside down so we could paint the tub’s underside. The wind was strong and unpredictable, so dual painting was problematic. No matter where we positioned ourselves, one of us was always downwind. I surrendered my can of paint and “supervised,” which is to say that I moped like a two year old.

My wife needs a medal or something of the like (flowers? money? slave labor?). Not only did she paint the tub under adverse conditions, she did it while baby sitting me. [Maybe that’s redundant. Am I an adverse condition? If so, it makes me sound like a weather phenomenon. That’s almost cool, I think.]

We’d originally planned to paint the claw feet silver, but decided that they would stand out too much. Instead, we made a last minute decision to paint them copper too. Not only was it easier, but it looks good.

Once the sun set, the temperature started to plummet. I wasn’t in the mood to sojourn on by halogen lamp light (yeah, I know, I wussed out), so we called it a day.

I’d love to post some pictures of it all, but the cheap digital camera I bought several weeks (months?) ago has proven itself to be just that, cheap. I can’t get the damn thing to work. I can’t tell if it’s even taking pictures since I can’t download any of them. I install the software, the computer recognizes the camera, the program opens, and I click “download photos.” Without fail nothing happens. I tinker and cuss to no avail. Having used digital cameras for years, I feel comfortable in judging this camera as piece of crap.

If we have time this week, we plan to get a digital camera that isn’t completely worthless. Then, maybe there will be pictures.


Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

Don't lose hope, man! Been there.

If you think about everything that has to be done it's too overwhelming and you'll get discouraged. Just have a To Do list of a couple of things to do when you go over there and keep focused like you have been. And take a few days off and do something unrelated if you need to destress.

2:10 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It was warm and windy in Alabam' on Monday, too. Mmm, lovely.

I'm about ready to deal with scraping and painting the outside of our clawfoot tub. I like the idea of copper and am glad to hear it looks good. Also thinking about black.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the camera have removable memory (I hope)? If so get a USB card reader (check dealnews, you can often get them "free" and just pay a few $ shipping). Much easier and much faster.

Very glad the tub turned out; painting outside is a bear.

8:51 AM  

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