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, March 14, 2008

Change At The Pace of Continental Drift

You can be forgiven for thinking this a picture of my wife's Persian cat. The whole point of this picture is what you are not seeing: daylight shining in under the front door.

Our front door has been an unrelenting source of misery and discomfort.

By the time we bought the Devil Queen, the door didn't have much going for it besides being original to the house. The roof over the door had collapsed, the floor had rotted through, the joists and sill plate were disintegrating, and the door was slightly warped. As a nice finishing touch, all the original hardware had been stripped with the exception of the hinges. I think the 10 coats of paint over them may have saved them.

Over the last four years, the framing has been redone twice. The first time it was done by idiots (not us), and the second time by a first-rate contractor who finally fixed it. Even with the wonderful job the second crew did, the door has never been quite the same.

The weather stripping I installed, a vinyl "tube" mounted on a metal bracket screwed into the jamb and flush with the door's face, was a disaster. The weather stripping pealed the latex paint off the edges of the door and it had to be mount so close to the door's face to seal that it interfered with the getting the door locked or unlocked. And, it still didn't seal well.

Then, there is the threshold. It was too close to the door for any of the bottom mounted sweeps or weather seals. However, the gap was big enough for daylight to shine in under the door in the early morning and there was always a draft. I tried stuffing all sorts of things under or behind the door, but they didn't help much and they were usually a pain to deal with as you opened and closed the door.

Apparently, I am not the only one with this kind of problem. While forlornly dragging myself up and down the isle at Lowe's I discovered a sweep which mounts on the interior face of the door. Ideally, the sweep is supposed to be flush with the top of the threshold, but ours is a bit too far forward for this. Still, it seals for the most part, you can't see daylight under the door, and the draft is nearly gone (definitely 90% better). I haven't done a true, empirical study, but, based on some readings I took with a thermometer, the main hallway is now 4 degrees warmer on average. Even close to the floor, the temperature is only a few degrees cooler than the thermostats setting. It may not sound like much, but this is a huge improvement.

In addition to mounting the sweep, I've replaced the vinyl-shit weather stripping with spring-bronze on one side and the top. Even though I'm not finished yet (one side to go), this has made a huge difference. The door seals much tighter and it locks and unlocks without a problem.

Sure, it sounds great, but there is still one nagging question. Why didn't I do this earlier?

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Blogger Sandy said...

Nice fix on the door! Loved the cat. Are you SURE it isn't a picture of the Persian? LOL

11:31 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

I think it didnt get done because there is this four letter word doesnt it

2:57 PM  
Blogger pedalpower said...

Ahhh, those little things make a big difference don't they? Don't feel bad. With each thing we get done on our house we ask, "Why didn't we do that sooner?"

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is spring bronze? not sure that i understand the concept? The weather-stripping also pulled the paint off our front door and our door is hard to shut...

8:43 AM  
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