The rising cost of rent is forcing people to rethink how and where they live, particularly in large densely populated cities. One such person is Paul Berkowitz, who lives in an 8 foot box set in the living room of a house in San Francisco’s Bay Area.
The area is known to have one of most expensive rents in the US. On average, a one-bedroom apartment will cost you $3,760 per month. Paul’s solution costs him $400 per month, with an additional charge of $108 per month over the course of the next year to pay for the construction of the box.
By adopting the somewhat unusual sleeping space, Paul’s effective monthly rent is half that of his friends. But living in an 8-foot box is no picnic, so he’s attempted to kit it out with a few items to make it more homey. Some storage has been provided for behind the headboard, there’s a small shelf for books and a little window that introduces some natural light.
LED lights can be used to further brighten the space. There’s also a fold-down desk so he can do some work if needed and, for ventilation, there’s a built-in fan. Paul hopes to add a few more features to his box: “I’m putting bookshelves on the side and probably the top. Also thinking about building a bench for a dining room table – the pod shouldn’t just take up space but actually improve the room.”
The unit measures 8-by-4.5 feet (2.4-by-1.4 meters) with another 4.5 feet of headroom. It was built with the help of some friends and a few power tools. I find it quite similar to the pod/capsule hotels found in major Japanese cities like Tokyo, where you can pay to stay a night in a “room” not much larger than a coffin (it’s certainly not for the claustrophobic).
From Paul: “If pods can provide an attractive way to add a bedroom to an apartment, I think they could help a lot of people out. People with the extra space wanting to bring in more money by subletting, people looking for cheap and simple housing, or people wanting to add another bedroom so their friend can move in could all benefit.”
One has to wonder, when people have to take such drastic measures just to get by, are some regions entering a housing bubble, and if so, when’s it going to burst.
Photos: Paul Berkowitz