I Lived in a Box
In early 2016, I was trying to figure out how to live cheaply and comfortably in San Francisco. I settled on building what I called a pod, figuring that I would not mind sacrificing on my bedroom's size if I could make up for it with design and soundproofing. Somehow, it quickly became international news. I wrote about it for the Guardian. NBC made a video. NPR, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, Vice, Gizmodo, Fortune, Business Insider, and hundreds of other publications covered it too. Below is the blog post I wrote right after building the pod.
Three weeks ago, with the help of friends who had touched power tools before, I started building (with the design mind of Stan Kim and the woodworking smarts of Krakatoa Design) a pod for me to live out of in my friend's living room. It's now pretty much complete. People are typically surprised that I would want to live in a pod, but I think they tend to underestimate how pleasant a pod can be if it's designed smartly. It's the coziest bedroom I've ever had. It's the only bed I've had with a fold-down desk, a slanted + cushioned backboard, and uniformly ideal light for reading (I can read comfortably from anywhere on my bed. This sounds trivial but isn't.). Moreover, I'm now only paying $508 / month to live up the street from the beach in San Francisco ($400 / month is for rent, $108 / month over the course of a year covers the full cost of construction. Building the pod cost $1300 total, $550 excluding up front capital costs).
Yes, living in a pod is silly. But the silliness is endemic to San Francisco's absurdly high housing prices - the pod is just a solution that works for me. Many people have apartments with the space/ capacity to house another person but choose not to because there isn't an attractive way to do so. Temporary partitions offer poor privacy, especially in terms of sound. They also tend to ruin whatever room they're in - you're less likely to use your living room if it doubles as a bedroom.
I think pods can provide a needed fix here. Yes the living room housing my pod is smaller - but it's by no means ruined. 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.