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, October 06, 2006

Three Years Later

It’s been about three years since we moved the Devil Queen (or is getting closer to four?). Since that time, we’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on the old whore. She has a new roof, new foundation, new porches, two additions, new & repaired siding, new wiring, new plumbing, insulation, central heat & air, and a working kitchen.

And, the question that everyone has is, “You don’t actually live there, do you?

If you could see the horror when we say "Yes," it would almost make you laugh.


The more things change…

Anyhow, I found this little gem of knowledge over at Enon Hall and thought I’d share it with you all:

“Finally I decided that if I should miss [with the hammer] and whack the floor, a 16 oz. divit is much better than a 20 oz. divit. I don't do that too often anymore, but it does happen. But I'm ready when it does. I keep a bottle of water and a paper towel nearby and immediately put a pretty wet paper towel on the dent. Within a minute or two the wood has swelled and the crescent shaped indentation that brands you as an amateur is gone. A quick sanding and there's no evidence at all.”

I wish someone had told me this earlier; life is hard for us amateurs.

As for the weekend, I’m going to try to squeeze in 8-10 hours of work on the laundry room. I am confident in my ability to disappoint on a regular basis, so no matter how bad it goes I should be prepared. See, getting through the day is all about finding the silver lining.



Anonymous davidLBC said...

I actually learned this trick in jr high woodshop. If the dent is deep, put a hot iron on top of the wet towel and the steam will increase the swelling of the wood.

I'm 4 years into restoration of four separate bungalows here in Long Beach, CA. Only one of them is "done" inside and liveable at the moment; the others in various stages. That house is 100 this year. It took nearly 3 years to fix probably 80 years of "deferred maintenance", water and pet damage. And it's still not repainted on the outside. Most people can't grasp the amount of work that goes into restoration. All they know of building is gleened from time-warped home makeover shows and track homes that spring up overnight like toadstools. Whenever family or friends visit I show them the handbuilt cabinets, refinished woodwork, new subway tile or whatever project I've spent weeks or months laboring on, but it's always clear from their comments they can't see past the unfinished walls and dust. When the roof was being torn off, one neighbor - who obviously didn't recognize me as the owner - excitely asked if the place was gonna be torn down.

It takes vision to do this work.

You or I could have built a completely new home in less time. Can you imagine such a home being valued 100 years from now? Will OSB and plywood be treasured then? Will today's soft farm wood withstand termites and fungus as well as irreplaceable old-growth douglas fir, redwood, oak and cedar? No. So all the McMansions will be continuously torn down and rebuilt ever larger. How ecological is that? No matter how large or fashionably adorned, they'll never have the intrinsic value of our old homes.

Excuse the rant.

11:54 AM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

I think the gist was keep up the good work!

12:05 PM  
Blogger purejuice said...

i'm a big fan of LBC and those bungalows. you go!

4:41 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I wonder if these tricks will work on the divets in the bedroom floor from my high-heeled shoes.

2:23 PM  
Blogger John said...

David, Amen. I couldn't have said it any better.

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