With the help of an unlikely ally, a pair of former marine engineers came together to build a small house and a boat house in the Caribbean, a project that’s transformed a tiny property on the shores of a small island into a family home.
The story of how the two former marine engineering students from New York built the project, dubbed “Porky’s House,” is a story of ingenuity and perseverance, with the former students sharing their expertise and passion for building.
“We did this for a living, so we had all these little bits of knowledge and we just sort of pulled it together and we started building,” said Paul Vignal, a marine engineering student and one of the project’s co-founders.
“We’ve got a little bit of a dream,” he continued.
“I mean, what’s a dream?
It’s like I don’t know.
But we were all very proud of it and very happy that it worked out that way.”
A couple of weeks after the project was announced, Paul was asked to join a boat club at the local community college.
“They invited me to join their boat club,” he said.
“So I’m on a boat.
And the boat club member tells me, ‘You know you’ve got to get into the boat.
You’ve got got to go to the club.’
And so I went and I got on board and I did my first dive and I went up the ladder and I found the hole that they had to drill to put in the hole in the bottom of the boat, and I climbed in.”
The next morning, he went back to his dorm and went to the door.
He had forgotten to bring a pen.
“When I opened it, there were three boxes,” he recalled.
“It’s just kind of a little mystery.”
“The first box was like, ‘We’re not really sure what you’re going to do with this stuff,’ and the second box was just, ‘Let’s see what we can do with it.'”
It was a little while later, the three boxes started filling with supplies for the next two months.
“The next day I went back and found these boxes were all filled with pens,” Paul said.
“And they were just all wrapped in towels, and all of a sudden it was like a real life story,” added Andrew Schmitt, the second co-founder of the company.
“And the whole room was like I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Porkys House, built from plywood and cardboard, had to be moved to a bigger site, but not before the couple could take the home for just over $2,000, or less than half the price they paid.
Paul Varnal said they didn’t have any idea how much it would cost.
“If you’re a family, you’re not going to spend that much on anything,” he explained.
“When we got to the point where we needed it to last, we just didn’t know what else to do.”
The home, which includes a kitchenette and a living room, is a work in progress, with some features like a living area and a garage, but it is now ready to be sold.
“What we do now is a little house,” Vignals said.
They also have a home gym, a storage shed, and a shed with a deck.
“This is our home, and this is where we’re going.
This is where it’s all going to end up,” Paul explained.