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, December 11, 2007

The Well-Appointed House

All of you old home owners out there might get a kick out of Emily Post's views on "The Well-Appointed House." The following is from Emily Post's original book on etiquette, circa 1922. If you want to read more of Post's work, go to Bartleby.com.

"EVERY house has an outward appearance to be made as presentable as possible, an interior continually to be set in order, and incessantly to be cleaned. And for those that dwell within it there are meals to be prepared and served; linen to be laundered and mended; personal garments to be brushed and pressed; and perhaps children to be cared for. There is also a door-bell to be answered in which manners as well as appearance come into play.

Beyond these fundamental necessities, luxuries can be added indefinitely, such as splendor of architecture, of gardening, and of furnishing, with every refinement of service that executive ability can produce. With all this genuine splendor possible only to the greatest establishments, a little house can no more compete than a diamond weighing but half a carat can compete with a stone weighing fifty times as much. And this is a good simile, because the perfect little house may be represented by a corner cut from precisely the same stone and differing therefore merely in size (and value naturally), whereas the house in bad taste and improperly run may be represented by a diamond that is off color and full of flaws; or in some instances, merely a piece of glass that to none but those as ignorant as its owner, for a moment suggests a gem of value.

A gem of a house may be no size at all, but its lines are honest, and its painting and window curtains in good taste. As for its upkeep, its path or sidewalk is beautifully neat, steps scrubbed, brasses polished, and its bell answered promptly by a trim maid with a low voice and quiet courteous manner; all of which contributes to the impression of “quality” even though it in nothing suggests the luxury of a palace whose opened bronze door reveals a row of powdered footmen.

But the “mansion” of bastard architecture and crude paint, with its brass indifferently clean, with coarse lace behind the plate glass of its golden-oak door, and the bell answered at eleven in the morning by a butler in an ill-fitting dress suit and wearing a mustache, might as well be placarded: “Here lives a vulgarian who has never had an opportunity to acquire cultivation.” As a matter of fact, the knowledge of how to make a house distinguished both in appearance and in service, is a much higher test than presenting a distinguished appearance in oneself and acquiring presentable manners. There are any number of people who dress well, and in every way appear well, but a lack of breeding is apparent as soon as you go into their houses. Their servants have not good manners, they are not properly turned out, the service is not well done, and the decorations and furnishings show lack of taste and inviting arrangement.

The personality of a house is indefinable, but there never lived a lady of great cultivation and charm whose home, whether a palace, a farm-cottage or a tiny apartment, did not reflect the charm of its owner. Every visitor feels impelled to linger, and is loath to go. Houses without personality are a series of rooms with furniture in them. Sometimes their lack of charm is baffling; every article is “correct” and beautiful, but one has the feeling that the decorator made chalk-marks indicating the exact spot on which each piece of furniture is to stand. Other houses are filled with things of little intrinsic value, often with much that is shabby, or they are perhaps empty to the point of bareness, and yet they have that “inviting” atmosphere, and air of unmistakable quality which is an unfailing indication of high-bred people."

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9 Comments:

Anonymous davidLBC said...

I resolve to use my executive abilities to produce something splendorous today. Perhaps I will enlist my rows of powdered footmen and trim maids. Cartel, call the other servants to a meeting in the parlor this instant. And Cartel, I had better not see a single stray hair on any of their upper lips! I will not be labeled a vulgarian by way of your sloppy hygiene, again!

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Tarr said...

bell answered promptly by a trim maid with a low voice and quiet courteous manner....


Good luck on that.

5:40 PM  
Blogger John said...

"Vulgarian," I love that word. I wonder if she coined it herself.

I'm sure I am one by Mrs. Post's standards. She'd be horrified to see where I live.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post--I LOVE it! Would that my home were so tasteful, ordered, and pleasing as to be likened to a corner cut from a gem.

I linked to you from my own blog at http://20dollarsaday.livejournal.com/

I wonder which were the ugly, souless "McMansion" homes of her day?

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Vulgarian" was one of my mother's favorite terms of opprobrium. Which tells you a lot about my young life. Now excuse me, I have to go get the maid into fighting trim and polish my brass!

7:00 PM  
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