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, May 22, 2006


I thought things were fairly messy the last time I posted, but it was merely foreshadowing of things to come.

Instead of moving out of our blue house on June 3-4, 2006, we are now planning to be moved out by May 29, 2006 (Jenny, if you are reading this before you hear from me, give me a call). That’s right, one week from today. Now, as Tarr mentioned in the comment section of the last post, my list of things-to-do for us to move into the Devil Queen was pretty unmanageable. And, what was a daunting undertaking in two weeks is utterly impossible in one week. After busting our asses all night Friday and all day Saturday, we’ve pretty much given up on finishing those rooms anytime in the next week or two. So, since we’re still planning to move out in a week, where does that leave us? We will probably be spending about two weeks (or more?!) with my in-laws. Fortunately, we all get along pretty well so that shouldn't be too bad.

At this point, I imagine most of you are thinking, “Wow, what a complete and total cluster-fuck. What are these retards thinking?!” And, it probably does merit some explaining.

First things first, why move out of the blue house on Memorial Day weekend? The short answer is we have a good renter lined up. He comes highly recommended by my wife’s father. He is a used car dealer who sold our renter a car. According to him, our renter always paid in full and on time. We’re probably going to have to rent the place sometime soon anyhow since we’ve never been able to consummate a sale on the property (buyers just keep flaking out or dying). We think he’s going to be a good renter, and we’re willing to inconvenience ourselves in the short term to get him. This will also free up a lot of money for us. His rent will pay the mortgage, insurance, and upkeep on the house. It will also allow us to get rid of our dual electricity and water bills.

Also, we originally planned to be moved into the Queen by now. We’ve fallen behind schedule, but our renter was counting on getting to move in at the end of May or beginning of June. He didn’t renew or extend his lease because we told him it would be ready by now. I hate lying to people, particularly if it’ll leave them homeless.

Second, we work better under pressure with firm deadlines. Sounds crazy, but I can nearly guarantee that (barring acts of God, etc) progress on the Devil Queen will probably increase by 100% once we move out and in with my in-laws.

Third, I’ve always wanted to be a slumlord. Why wait? I’m not getting any younger. I’ll be turning 30 this year, and, according to my wife, this means that I can join AARP. I’m really excited about this, so I figure that it is a good time to begin preparing for my retirement. I’d hoped to inherit, but it has become apparent that my parents aren’t going to come through for my sister and me. Baby Boomers, what a generation of slackers.

Now, as I mentioned, we worked our asses off this weekend. In fact, we worked so hard, we forgot to take pictures. We finally finished scraping all the old paint off of the master bedroom ceiling, and we’ve nearly finished priming it (about 75% finished). There is something really sad about spending so much time taking all the paint off of something and then cover it back up again within a few hours.

Sunday, we had our we-ain’t-going-to-make-it epiphany so we didn’t work on the Queen (though we seriously considered it). Instead, we went to Lowe’s to stock up on caulk and toilet tank feed lines, but ended up buying a stackable Whirlpool washer and dryer. I blame my wife for several reasons.

First, she isn’t here to contradict me, so I can pin it all on her.

Second, I don’t usually browse when I shop at Lowe’s. I try to make my visit a surgical strike. I make a list, ruthless stick to it, and flee as fast as I can. Not my wife though. She looks at everything. Sure, occasionally she finds a good deal on the bargain rack (like five light fixtures) or finds some new, yet-unknown gizmo that we could really use, but it doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes you end up leaving with a major appliance to two. Or, fruit trees.

Third, she thinks that just because she as a full-time job and a toddler that this somehow excuses her from hand-washing all our clothes. Just because the industrial revolution and rampant scientific development has provided us with and endless stream of household appliances and other time-saving devices doesn’t mean that you are entitled to them; it’s a privilege to own a washer and dryer. Apparently, the value of a good wife has depreciated since the 1800’s; I think hand washed clothing was standard issue back then.

Now, we wouldn’t have had to buy a new washer and dryer if the ones we have now would have fit in the mudroom. However, since the Jacuzzi tub ended up taking up more space than we had anticipated, our old behemoths just won’t fit, even if we greased them with a stick of butter and pushed real hard. Nothing short of trimming them down and welding them into a single unit would make them fit. Remember, measure twice, cut once. Measure once, and buy a new washer and dryer. On the upside, the new washer and dryer are more energy and water efficient, so we’ll save money if we don’t have to replace them until we’re 80.

Anyhow, here are some pictures from the previous week.

Here is our stack of cherry wood, tongue-in-groove flooring.

Here is the Devil Queen with her new, vented skirt.

And, here is our next-door neighbor’s home. They are selling their house, and I hope they make a killing on it. I want property values to be as high as possible by the time we get around to financing a mortgage for the Devil Queen.

Doesn’t look much like a Victorian does it? Can you see why half our neighbors hate us?


Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

Yeah, when one of my neighbors sells their house I always secretly think they are crazy if they think their house is worth what they are asking for it, but at the same time I hope they get it so when I decide to sell I will make out like a bandit.

1:46 PM  
Blogger C&C said...

Wow, all of that sounds SO familiar! Our house sold before we were ready, we moved into our current house without a working shower or heat of any kind. It was a rough three months, but talk about motivation! Good luck to you, we feel your pain!

9:42 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Only half your neighbors hate you? Then I say you're doing pretty well. :)

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