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, February 14, 2007

Hobo Mirror

As a good neophyte of the cult of shellac, I've been using amber shellac on some small projects. Here is my most recent use of this miracle liquid, the reviving of a hobo mirror.

Actually, I don't know that a hobo ever owned this mirror. It came to the Devil Queen by way of one of my wife's friends. Her friend picked it up at a yard sale for a couple of bucks, and, after living with it for a while, decided that it "was too creepy" to keep. She thought we'd appreciate though, and we have.

I don't know what style this mirror is. If I were a furniture egg-head, I might call it something like "Early 20th Century Vernacular Furniture." Even when this mirror was new, it was a rough piece of work. It looks homemade to me. It looks like someone had a small beveled mirror and made frame for it out of some left over beadboard.

The frame is face nailed, and, instead of being driven in all of the way, most are bent over and pounded into the wood. The mirror is held in place with two thin slats of wood which look like they may have been salvaged from an old packing crate (the same kind of wood that you'd find used for an old shipping crate for Coke bottles). My guess is this mirror dates back to the 1930's. No particular reason, that's just the feel I get when I run my hands over the wood and look into the glass. I suspect some farmer, sharecropper, or working Joe put this together with whatever was at hand. Just a little something for his house, functional and civilized.

It looks like the wood was shellacked originally, but most of it has been worn away. I like how the mirror has aged; the worn wood finish and the imperfections in the glass where the backing has flaked off the mirror all add to the appeal for me.

The two slats backing the mirror were loose, so I carefully (don't need 7 years bad luck) tapped in a few brass brads to snug them into place. I lightly sanded a couple of spots where white paint had been splattered onto the frame and scrubbed it down with some denatured alcohol. Once it was dry, I brushed on a single coat of amber shellac. I figured this would seal the exposed wood and refresh the remaining old finish.

And, here is the end result. Not too bad for a beginner I guess.

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Blogger Felicia said...

Very nice job! Can I have it?! :)

8:52 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks! We have some painting that needs to be finished. Maybe we could work something out.

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