THE IMP: BEFORE (or, right now)

by Lisa

Meet The Impala, briefly identified in my head as The White Elephant, now officially known as The Imp.  The Pretty Professor came up with her nickname.  I’m grateful for his distillation of her title, his diminution of her hugeness,  and more so for his embracing of her presence in our not-so-big driveway.

Here we go, with Before Photos!

Here’s starboard, and a first look at the two doors, and original jalousies that grace her all around:


This is the portish backside, with temporary roofing holding things together.  Don’t know what’s up with that, but I think a leaky window should take the blame. Note the dryer vent, a throwback to a recent life as a mobile launderette:


Here is the dining room/convertible bed, sans any soft cushy bits at all.  The benches were covered with red shag carpet, which my kind cousin ripped out upon taking possession of the Impala before I laid eyes on it.  She also removed the cushions, thus subtracting a few full contractor bags from my coming days:


Here’s the first area of significant (in other words, obvious) water damage that’ll cause digging around in paneling and (cough cough) insulation.  This is the front, over the dining area.  I’m sad that the chandelier is smashed up:



Also note the chrome exhaust fan, possibly the only thing keeping me from wanting to go completely low-tech with The Imp.  One needs AC for this bit to work, I believe. If I can power it with DC, hell’s bells, that solves that!


Good lord, this stove pulls my heartstrings.  However, its functionality is a question mark.  I’ve no experience with replacing propane lines and such, so the thought scares the bejeezus out of me.  Boom, no thanks. Heartstring-pulling stove may become charming platform for my Coleman two-burner, oven may become pot and pan storage:


I don’t even know exactly where this is.  Might be the dining area nearest the kitchen hood:


The kitchen, all aglow with sunbeams reflecting off of the mason jars in the tiny sink.  The adorable sink also contains an expired full bottle of artificial rum flavoring.  Very mysterious.  Note the classy mirrored backsplash:


This bath is made for a toddler, but constructed of rather perfectly intact enameled steel basin, bowl, and tublet.  My research into black water management has shown me the benefits of other sorts of potty arrangements.  One sure thing: a composting toilet will go where that little wobbly bowl is now perched:


Just the upper corner of the bath.  Note lack of water damage…here:


Adjacent to the bath, or within the bathroom, stands this set of cabinets I call The Wardrobe.  Like every other cabinet in The Imp, it is made of delicate laminate. Its integrity seems trustworthy, at least door wise.  The drawers give me doubts:


We now enter the bedroom, where things get dicey. This is the back door, not dicey.  This is a storage cabinet, which is destined for some burn pile, and accompanying lamp shelf, also not long for this world:


Did I mention that the bedroom was prime dicey territory?  Holy crap. Things get downright sketchy back here, and this is where most of the real reconstruction will happen.  Water took out part of the ceiling, a sconce, and I suspect the majority of the back wall under the window.  The drooping sconce made the small person say, “Oh, oh, we have a situation, Mommy.”  We do.  It can be fixed with really inexpensive lumber and some fresh insulation and a great deal of faith:




The view from the back to the front:



Glamour shot of the front corner:



All I can manage to imagine right now is a crowbar in my hands and a dust mask on my face.  As fresh structural parts replace what’s really rotten, I’ll see a clearer picture of how and who she needs to be for us.  Do I preserve every detail, time-capsule-style?  Do I make her into a gyspy land yacht ready to boondock by candlelight? Or is there some shred of “modern” that will translate into Pinterest-worthy sweeps of clean white paint and dove grey laminate faux barn wood flooring?

We all know that ain’t happening.


What I do know is that the learning curve isn’t as steep as it feels right now.  I’ve taken things apart to make new things many times.  Once, I even took apart most of the plumbing in my old house and made miracles like FLUSHING and HOT WATER happen.  A few little 1x2s and some luan isn’t anything.  What I lack in muscle memory, the internet will tell me.  If I could climb a real roof to re-paint it with aluminum goo every spring, I can work with a can of tarry goo to stop the drip in the back of The Imp.

Thank goodness it rained and I checked.