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!

Friday, June 16, 2006


I have a feeling that this is going to be a rambler. Consider yourself warned.

It ought to be a productive weekend at the Devil Queen. No Hallmark Card Fathers’ Day weekend for me, and that suits me just fine. Fathers’ Day doesn’t seem like a real holiday to me. I don’t mean that it is a fake holiday, but, since it was always a holiday for my father, it seems odd that it should suddenly be one for me after twenty-some-odd-years. Instead of kicking back and relaxing (is that what fathers are supposed to do?), I’m planning on sanding, staining, and sealing about 400 square feet of wood flooring. Recreation is for the weak.

My wife’s step-father is picking a sander up for us today (I think) so we can get started. Not only is he a kind and generous soul, but he also shares a common goal with us. With my thirtieth birthday just weeks away, I’d like to be living in my own home. I get along great with my in-laws, so this shouldn’t be taken as me desperately wanting to escape from them. It’s just that everyone likes having a place of their own. And it’s weird living with parents (yours or your wife’s) because it makes me feel like I’m twelve. Even if you aren’t an independent adult, you can at least pretend to be one if you have your own home.

Kenny and Burt have been kicking ass up at the Queen this week. Of course I don’t have any pictures to show because I suck. They have been working hard to get the Devil Queen ready for her insulation. In a normal house, this would be pretty straight forward, but not in the Devil Queen. The main problem is preparing for the blown insulation in the exterior walls. The problem is that none of the windows have headers (the doors don’t either). So, if you blow insulation into the walls, you’ll also fill up the weight-pockets. How well will the windows work if the pockets are filled with insulation? I don’t know, and I don’t want to find out.

Kenny is currently pulling all the window casings off so he can install wood stops at the top of the weight-pockets. The only exception to this is the bay window. There isn’t too much wall to insulate over the windows, and Kenny said he couldn’t figure out how they put all the trim together. He is afraid that if he started pulling it off that it would be broken beyond all use. I seconded his idea to skip the bay window.

Kenny has also decided to replace all the window weight ropes with new ones while he is at it. Genius! Why didn’t I think of that?

There are some other oddities about the windows that neither Kenny nor I can figure out. I won’t try to explain; I’ll take some pictures and just show you.

The only mishap so far was Burt was attacked by a whole pane of window glass. One window in the master bedroom had a pretty sizeable crack in it. Burt was bent over in front of the window pulling nails out of the trim when the attack occurred. Kenny saw the whole thing. According to him, the whole pane fell into the room, landed on Burt’s head, flipped off to the side, and shattered on the floor. No one besides the window was hurt.

Kenny said he couldn't figure out how it happened. My guess is that since the pane was pretty badly cracked it somehow wiggled loose of the crumbling window putty and fell. Or, something like that. Kenny is going to pick up some glass for me so I can repair/replace it.

In the next seven days, the vapor barrier should be installed in the crawlspace, the third return air duct will be installed (meaning if we don't mind air conditioning the yard we can crank that $5000 bitch up), the weight-pockets should be capped off, the kitchen, back hall, and mudroom (God willing) ought to have refinished floors, and the master bedroom ought to be painted. I’m hoping next weekend we’ll rent the sander again and finish the master bedroom floor. Then we could move. I think. Please.

As part of our mad dash to get the Queen ready for our immanent occupation, I’ve been buying ass loads of stuff off of eBay. Yesterday I bought window locks (vintage) and a faucet for the kitchen sink. I’m looking at more window locks and a faucet for the hot tub today.

Anyhow, have a good weekend and wish us luck. So far it’s off to a pretty good start. I bought a couple packs of Guinness today because it was on sale. How much better does it get than that?


Anonymous Patrick said...

"...I bought a couple packs of Guinness today because it was on sale. How much better does it get than that?..."

A sign from heaven!!! Now, do yourself a favor and get a few dozen oysters to go with the Guinness....mmmmmm. Sounds like a "Father's Day" to me. Happy one to ya!

2:54 PM  
Blogger Archimedes24 said...

Hey John,

Your Aussie living ex-pat buddy here...Thanks for visiting. And thanks even more for the reminder it's father's day. Holy crap, that sure took us by surprise. Imagine our angst at being in S. Africa a few months ago and realizing it was mother's day, and we'd completely forgotten. As I recall, we both threw out lame excuses of, "we thought only the *Commonwealth countries* were celebrating mom's day this weekend..." [Ahem] Yeah, that doesn't sound any better now either...

Sounds like things are coming along man. No really. Windows, air conditioning, Guiness? Jeez. At least you have a goal in mind. Red and I are returning to dreaded apartment living again in a month, and then will spend 3 months trying to find a decent house that won't break the bank.

Thanks to you though, we'll be shying away from those few remaining 100 yr old crack dens in the heart of Detroilet we thought would be nice to reno. So you saved us from that, which is nice...

6:07 PM  

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