Just Add Papayas!

24 Jan

Okay, it may be winter in Montana, but it’s looking pretty nice in the Caribbean.

Recently, we were approached by a pair of Papaya eating miscreants who wanted to take a small Carib valley, a monster grove of fruit bearing trees and about $100 grand (maximum), and build a small  “Corten Garden Getaway”.

The budget is to include the incorporation of Photovoltaic power, a well and a septic system.

We asked them if they brought us any Papayas when they arrived to talk with us.

They claimed that USDA Regs didn’t allow them to bring them into the country…

We countered that if they really wanted our help… way up in Montana, they’d have done us the decency of smuggling some of those wonderful, delicious, delectable, mouth-watering fruits in, even “if it meant risking a cavity search”.

Um… they just called us bad words…. 😦

Once the dust settled, we got down to it;

The idea is to build (2) small Corten based cabins, one for living and one for processing  fruit and local libations into candied confections and liquor soaked chewies. Can you say “RUM-Soaked”?

The budget is unmovable.  They’ve spent their life-savings getting ready to move to the tropics and they’ll augment their SS (Social Security) incomes by “pimping papaya”…

They want minimalistic. What they described sounded like one of those “metal tents” we tease the “Tiny Housers” about.

(Stop it… We LIKE the “Tiny House” guys. Talk about providing opportunities to be challenged…) 🙂

The only real hard rule was that they didn’t want to see the PV panels from the road.

Okay, we’ll put them on frames “out and behind” the house site.

The main concern was that they’re an older couple and the closest they get to hand tools is trips through the “Craftsman Department” at Sears…

So, we’re going to build the (3) ISBUs near Homestead, FL and then ship them from Miami south.

There’s a lot of good reasons for doing this (beyond the fact that we now have access to a facility near Homestead AFB);

  • First, the owners won’t be forced with “re-inventing  the wheel” in order to get their boxes fabbed or fitted out.
  • Second, materials are far more abundant (and considerably less expensive) in South FL, compared with local sources in the Islands.
  • Third, they won’t face educating local contractors (on their own dime) as they get their project built.
  • Fourth, the only thing they’ll need to do once to boxes arrive is truck them to site (which will be easy due to the fact that they are 20′ ISBUs) and then set them onto precast pilings, prepared by hand.
  • Fifth, they are pretty good at doing roofing in the Islands. After all, they get a lot of practice. Every tropical storm or Hurricane in the region gives them plenty of practice. So, this project won’t happen without creating a few jobs in the sun…

When it’s completed, it’ll look something like this;

Caribbean Cabin

This is just a quick render done while we were talking with them. They’d seen a similar project in Europe and wanted to duplicate it. We’ll tweak it a bit to bring it into “tropical time”… LOL!

The floorplan (using a pair of 20′ High Cube ISBUs) will look something like this;


What we may do is turn the tub into a “walk-through” shower stall with entrances “both interior and exterior”, out onto a rear deck. Using “oversized” trusses will allow us to easily create a big covered porch. While the family that we’re working with doesn’t like the look of PV’s, a case can be made that using this kind of roof system will allow the creation of a large photovoltaic panel farm.

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin