The Pod Life – A Tiny Living Solution by Peter Berkowitz

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.


Living in a Pod - Peter Berkowitz - San Francisco - Pod with door open - Humble Homes

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.


Living in a Pod - Peter Berkowitz - San Francisco - From Side - Humble Homes

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.


Living in a Pod - Peter Berkowitz - San Francisco - Interior with Bed - Humble Homes

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.”

Living in a Pod - Peter Berkowitz - San Francisco - Door open - Humble Homes

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).

Living in a Pod - Peter Berkowitz - San Francisco - Door shut - Humble Homes

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.

For more spaces check out Dave Moults custom built steampunk teardrop trailer. Or, this Belgian home that features a few smart, space-saving furniture pieces. See all spaces.

Via TreeHugger
Photos: Paul Berkowitz

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.

  1. They cannot be serious. I can’t imagine a place that’s so important to live in that one would resort to something like this.

  2. I can understand this as a solution to the issue of extremely high rents. I can not understand paying $1100 for a plywood box this size!

  3. Just ridiculous… That’s not a tiny home. It’s how you turn a mansion into a tenement. This is not what the tiny house movement is about, and if this example serves any purpose on this site I sincerely hope it’s as a demonstration of what to avoid. For me a tiny home stands for freedom.

    Freedom from the tyranny of materialism, from waking up one day to realise your possessions have somehow come to own you. What we see above is a horrible situation. Paul’s friends have an ugly blight in their lounge room. Paul is forced to live in a box that makes the worst cells at ADX Florence look spacious.

    It’s a dynamic of mutual degradation. That they’re all paying through the nose for the privilege can only hasten the day when it ends – Badly!

  4. This seems like a good solution to the amazing high rent in some places. I think a bedroom fitted with two or three of these could be also used as a study area while giving each person much needed privacy.

  5. Sort of reminds me of the family who built something similar for husband, wife, and I think 5 kids. There was lots of comments, including catty people who called it disgusting, perverted and child protection services oughta be called in. LOL, only in AmeriKa eh?