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, March 13, 2007

Brought to a Boil

The front two rooms and the foyer are the only parts of the Devil Queen that didn't have all of their hardware stolen before we bought her. I guess they didn't have the balls to stand out in the open and strip house of all its hardware. Not that I'm complaining. The window locks and pulls are quite nice, but the hinges on the front door are the real treasure.

These buggers were covered under three coats of paint and one or two different layers of shellac. Here is a before view.

Looks pretty bad, though there is a hint of something more beneath.

I unscrewed the hinges (an ordeal in itself) and boiled them in water. I learned this trick from some of you Housebloggers some time ago, but this was my first use of it.

I ended up boiling them four times. I think if I'd left them in longer that I could have striped them faster, but I was too impatient to wait. I tried several different tools to take the loose paint off. I had the best luck with a razor blade and the handle of a metal file. For the "finish" work I used a small wire-bristle brush and a steel wool.

We are going to shellac these. My wife likes the silver sheen, so we're going to use clear shellac instead of the all-holy amber shellac. Sorry Gary.

These hinges are the ones I pulled from the door jamb. In my excitement I forgot to remove their other halves from the door. Oops. What can I say, genius happens.

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Blogger Greg said...

Those are stunning!

2:08 PM  
Anonymous davidLBC said...

Is that dinner in the pot on the stove next to your still filthy but soon to be beautiful hinges?

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Lillian said...

That is totally awesome! They look like new. They certainly don't look the same as the before picture. That's quite impressive.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Poppy said... purdy!

8:05 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

I saw the word Shellac and my name mentioned in the same paragraph!
If you want the detail to stand out wipe them with shoe-black and wipe off the excess. A little trick I learned in the metal miniatures trade.
I like the analine tinted shellac on iron because it shows off the detail and makes the metal look antique. I guess what I am trying to say is "experiment"!

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Patricia W. said...

Very very pretty. My house is the same way. Very little original hardware but the front door hinges survived the attack and are to-die for; albiet coated in many layers of goo.

4:05 AM  
Anonymous mindy said...

Beautiful! You were smart and used a tin pie plate, bet that made cleanup easier. I had to dedicate one of our old pots to hardware cooking... it gets nastier every time.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Dude, those are beautiful, they really are. I am just a little bit jealous.

11:28 AM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks everyone. I'll have to admit that I'm pretty impressed with how nice they look. Given the before picture you can see where I might not be too optimistic.

David, that is a leftover pot roast on the back burner; a working man needs food.

Gary, shoe-black? I never would have thought of that. I just assumed they used a black base coat of paint to get the added depth. Speaking of analine dye, is your offer for some still good? I think we'd like to use it on our rim locks. Please let me know.

Mindy, I'm glad I thought of it too. After just one use, the pie tin was nasty. I can't imagine what it would do to a pot after repeated use.

Chris, I'm don't think this style is period to your house, but you can find some very nice decorative hinges on eBay or House of Antique Hardware for relatively resonable prices.

8:00 AM  

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