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, December 12, 2007

The Underappreciated Fiscal Benefits of Cleaning House

A couple of weeks ago Scarlet and I watched the movie, Stranger Than Fiction. Most people who have seen it that I have talked to thought it was a so-so movie. Scarlet and I really enjoyed it. Maybe it something to tell us at this particular time in our lives? Who knows?

In any case, one of those background details that I noticed about most of the homes in this movie was how Spartan the furnishings were. Even the flat Emma Thompson's character lived in with its high ceilings and fancy moldings, was furnished with very little. I liked the look.

One, it makes the spaces seem bigger and more dignified. Two, your eye is really drawn to what is there. It makes it stand out. It also makes you wonder why that particular piece of furniture, book, et cetera is there. The lack of other things makes you consider what is important about that piece, why it was chosen while so many others were not.

I have since unleashed my inner-minimalist and been steadily cleaning out everything from the Devil Queen. A couple of hours of cleaning can easily produce four sacks of trash, an large box of items ready to be donated to Marva, and a small pile of items to be sold on eBay. The actual number of things which are really worth keeping is astoundingly small. To think, I've spent years hauling and storing all of this stuff just so I could dispose of it now. Genius.

Aside from the general sense of being unburdened, there have been some other underappreciated fringe benefits. The other night amid all the detritus of a thousand years, I found two un-opened cans of wood putty and a tube of tub & tile caulk for the seam around the hot tub. This find is easily worth $35-$40 which is pretty exciting since I already spent the money on it.

See, less is more.

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Anonymous Tarr said...

See, all these houseblogs will morph into decrapification blogs in their next iteration.

5:37 PM  
Blogger John said...

I never thought of it before, but you are so right!

8:54 AM  
Blogger Old House Gazette said...

"one of those background details that I noticed about most of the homes in this movie was how Spartan the furnishings were. Even the flat Emma Thompson's character lived in with its high ceilings and fancy moldings, was furnished with very little. I liked the look."

Some men in a black SUV will be arriving at your house soon to escort you to an official United States Consumerism Re-education Facility....

6:00 AM  
Blogger Fargo said...

I thought it was reasonably entertaining. Familiarity with the locations didn't hurt. They did a LOT of Chicago location filming for this one, mostly within 1 mile of my office. I remember they did some street closings during filming. When I saw the movie, I understood why.

The guitar store in the movie (not a guitar store in real life) is on a one-way street. To use the glassy box of a building (post office) across the street as background for the scenes where he's waiting at the bus stop, they actually had to reverse traffic and put a bus stop on the wrong side of the street, opposite where the real bus stop exists (in front of the guitar store location).

BTW, the building where Emma Thompson's character lived is actually an old office building (about 100 years old).

Downtown Chicago was used for a lot of location shooting in the recent Batman and Spiderman movies, especially Spiderman 2 and the upcoming Batman movie. The elevated train scenes in Spiderman 2 are Chicago locations. Some scenes are 100% Chicago, most others are about 50/50 Chicago vs. CGI.

1:38 PM  
Blogger John said...

Old House Gazette,

I doubt the re-education program will be necissary. While we're getting rid of a lot of stuff, we're planning on upgrading a number of items. So, less = more expensive items. Or something like that.


I recognized a few shots as being in Chicago. Both my parents and their families are from there originally, so I spent a lot of time visiting Chicago up until I was about nine or ten.

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