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!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Procrastination and Rectal Fortitude

I’d love to say that we’ve been wildly productive this week, but, despite our best intentions, that has not been the case. Keeping odd hours (my wife didn’t make it home from work until 12:15 AM), malfunctioning cars, and intermittent phone service have slowed us down.

I had to laugh when I read about the Damn You Stickley Bungalow folk’s experience with buying new house hold appliances. Apparently, major appliances have cultivated some sort of evolutionary adaptation that makes you want to take them home no matter what the cost. In our case, the sales man offered us 5% off plus 0% interest for a year if we used our virginal Lowe’s card. Figuring this will save us about $100, we went a head and bought it. We’re just a couple of materialistic suckers. But, if we weren’t, the economy would collapse. Besides, we need them. Here are a couple of pictures of them.

I am intrigued to find that is getting even more press. I don’t mean to sound like I don’t think they are fabulous site (which they are), but I am astounded by how many folks are finding what I consider a small online niche so captivating. Maybe it is just an idea whose time has come?

I personally liked their description of the site:

Best way to steel yourself for a remodel
If you love watching Extreme Home Makeover but aren't sure you'd like to live it, get inspired at Run by a Chicago couple who are recording their bungalow's overhaul on, this site brings together a bunch of remodelers-cum-bloggers, all of whom chronicle the triumphs and tragedies of their undertakings online, complete with pictures. Once you're emotionally ready to begin your own renovation, consider joining the fray. Says founder Jeanne Olson: "This community can keep you motivated long after your offline friends think you've gone completely nuts."

I couldn’t agree more. It takes an immense amount of rectal fortitude to undertake and survive a major home renovation project. For those of you who still have doubts, I’d suggest you try one of these babies out.

"The Judas Chair: This was a large pyramid-shaped "seat." Accused heretics were placed on top of it, with the point inserted into their anuses or genitalia, then very, very slowly lowered onto the point with ropes. The effect was to gradually stretch out the opening of choice in an extremely painful manner."

You know it’s good when it has the Spanish Inquisition’s and OSHA’s stamp of approval. You don’t have to go all the way, but few hours of this will give you a good idea of what to expect. Just take the pain and discomfort and imagine it stretched out over a decade or until a swift, merciful death ends your suffering. And, to think, I’m the optimist in our little family.

I'm going up to the Queen tonight to see what Kenny has been up to. Maybe, just maybe there will be some photos.


Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

John--We're as surprised as anyone. I think folks like to read about our collective misery...maybe reading HouseBlogs is like watching that first season of Survivor. (Please, please...I don't want to know which one of us is Richard Hatch.)

I think that when one major media outlet carries a story, the others pounce on it too. The tipping point was probably the WSJ or NYT. We've noticed an increase in the amount of requests that we get for information about the site since those articles.

I was thinking that eventually things would die down and we would all go back to toiling away in obscurity. But This Old House is about to launch their first set of blogs (see HouseBlogs Headlines today), requests to join have been steady, and it seems as if major publishers are intrigued. I don't know how or if that would affect this small niche, but it is an interesting, if freaky, ride.

2:18 PM  
Blogger jm@houseinprogress said...

Um, you don't OWN one of those chairs.

Do you?

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Umm, dude, that's gross..."not that there's anything wrong with that...."

While I haven't had the desire to use one of these wonderful "chairs," I have lovingly asked my wife to kindly "poke my eyes out" after a particularly stressful event...

2:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

Actually, we keep one in the living room. We don't use it ourselves (we're not into that), but it a great conversation piece. Also, we've had a lot better luck with contractors since we got it. Something about sitting next to it while we talk about things makes them very . . . pliant.

Sorry, could help myself. And, it is very gross but seems to visually convey the meaning so well. Anyhow...

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