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, June 06, 2006

Change of Plans

Stripping wallpaper, we just couldn’t take it anymore. Last night we finally snapped. In an attempt to make a calm, rational decision we took a break for dinner to cool off. Then we called my in-laws for a quick, objective opinion. Our decision? The goddamn sheet rock and all that freaking pinko-commie wallpaper are coming down.

We’ve tried everything under the sun to get the shit off, and, as many of you already know, there is no easy way to get wallpaper down. Since were are currently homeless, we are in a hurry to move into the Devil Queen. We tried yet another wallpaper stripping method per our drywall guy’s advice (50% liquid fabric softener and 50% water in a spray bottle). And, incase you’re wondering, it did help, but it was still slow going. After two hours of tag-teaming the wallpaper with the 50-50 mix and the wallpaper steamer, we calculated how long it would take us to finish the room. Assuming that everything else went according to plan (when the hell does that ever happen?), we wouldn’t be able to move in until July. My wife had a mini-melt down (low blood sugar does that to her), so I decided that it was time for a break and some dinner.

Our original decision to keep the drywall was based on the assumption that it would be quicker and easier to strip the wallpaper and repaint the room than strip down to the wood and finish it out in some fashion. Neither of us is particularly partial to the sheetrock for its own sake. Second, since we’d already spent and ass-load of time stripping wallpaper, we were reluctant to admit defeat and waste all that time and effort already expended on it. Third, we were suspicious that we may have a mold farm behind the sheetrock since that room caught a lot of rain when the roof was off for the move.

We decided that the fugly sheetrock had to go.

My wife needed to go “home” at that point, so it was left to me to begin our war against the sheetrock. Getting the first panel started was the hard part. After that it went pretty fast.

Here is a picture.



I’m still surprised at how good the wood looks. Hardly any mold, the corners seem to be tight, and the wood is in good shape. We were thinking that we’d paint the wood walls, but seeing all of that smooth, golden-red, old-growth pine has me wondering if we should Danish oil the walls and leave it well enough alone. This is the part where I ask you for your opinion. Danish oil or paint?

I’m probably going to work on the ceiling Monday night, so you have about 48 hours to make you’re recommendation.

5 Comments:

Blogger Tarr said...

The darkness of the wood might make you morose. I suggest a compromise that would keep the beauty of the wood grain but lighten it up: white wash pickling stain.
This is what we are going to use on the interior of the Tiny Cabin.

Link: http://www.minwax.com/products/woodstain/waterbased-color.cfm

6:54 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Why did they have to make wallpaper scraping so hard? And paint scraping for that matter. I need a magic wand.

P.S. I like the wood.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Is that shellac on the wood? If so, a light wipe with denatured alcohol on a paper towel will revitalize the finish. Don't try to remove the finish. Then you can rub down with superfine steel wool and wax polish and buff. Will take less time than painting or refinishing. If you want to brighten up the wall, hang a big mirror or a tapestry on it or.... how about one of your paintings?

12:00 PM  
Blogger C&C said...

You poor things! All that work... It will be worth it in the end though, right? Isn't that what we try to tell ourselves? Wow, nice that it has wood behind the sheetrock. I'm with Tarr, it might feel a little dark when you're living with it, but a white wash may be just the fix. Good luck! And just remember, these will be great stories you relish someday...well, that's what WE tell ourselves anyways!

12:20 PM  
Blogger John said...

The wood is completely naked. No shellac, paint, etc. The original tack & canvas wallpaper protected the wall from most of the remuddling.

As for the darkness, we're hoping that the white ceiling and the refinished floors will brighten things up.

Thanks for all the suggestions, please keep them coming.

12:25 PM  

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