Unable to afford the soaring apartment prices in San Francisco, 25-year-old illustrator Peter Berkowitz built himself a box to serve as his bedroom. Living in the 8×3.5×4.5-foot ‘bedroom pod’ now costs him less than $500 a month. Berkowitz had originally planned to share a two-bedroom apartment with a friend in the city, but later realised that he wasn’t going to be able to afford it. “I was far too optimistic at first that we could find a place that wouldn’t cost a fortune,” he told Business Insider. “It didn’t take long to realise that that wasn’t a feasible plan though.”
After a bit of brainstorming, Berkowitz recalled his experience of climbing into a model of a Japanese ‘capsule’ hotel at the Smithsonian’s Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York. That memory led him to a unique solution to his housing problem – he decided to share a one-bedroom apartment with his friend instead, and build a wooden box in the living room to be used as the second bedroom. “Two people looking for a one-bedroom apartment makes the city a lot less scary,” he explained.
Although he didn’t end up living with that friend, Berkowitz eventually did spend $1,300 on building that pod. Two weeks ago, he found an apartment to place it in, and while his roommates who live in the regular bedrooms pay a rent of $1,000, Berkowitz gets away with contributing only $400 a month, with full access to all the amenities.
The makeshift bedroom, located in a corner of the living room, resembles a large wooden crate from the outside. Inside, it is sparsely furnished with a twin bed, a fold-up desk, and a few LEDs. Berkowitz needs to crouch or lie down while he’s in the bedroom pod, but he doesn’t find it uncomfortable. “I really don’t think I’ve taken a hit in terms of my quality of life,” he said, speaking to The Washington Post. “I don’t really notice I live in the pod anymore.” Berkowitz says he’s happy because his pod wasn’t inspired by desperation or poverty. Instead, it’s a creative solution to a rising problem, a sort of “middle ground between having a bedroom and sleeping on the couch.” He gets all the privacy he needs, and he’s now working on getting the pod soundproofed.