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Artist Designs Sleeping "Pod" to Afford Renting in San Francisco

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40-square-foot "room" goes for $400 a month

Bay Area artist Peter Berkowitz couldn’t afford a place in San Francisco. His solution was "the pod," a sleeper box that's roughly eight feet long, five feet wide, and four feet tall. It's made out of plywood and neatly installed in the corner of his roommate’s living room, a space he’s now paying $400 a month to rent. (Bertkowitz lists his total housing expenses as $508 a month, factoring in the $1,300 he spent building it.)

The final product resembles the kind of little fort you might build for a toddler. The interior consists entirely of Berkowitz’s bed, fold-down desk, and single shelf. It’s silly, he admits on his blog, but so is the real estate market these days.

Berkowitz tells us he’s also perfectly aware that some people find the idea of renters living in boxes downright depressing, but according to him it’s really not so bad.

"It sounds very dystopian: 'Man lives in pod,' as if I put on my VR headset, drink my Soylent, and never leave," he says. "But really it’s just a bedroom. A little bedroom where you can’t leave the bed, but that kind of works."

Maybe this is the inevitable output of the trend toward micro-living, with Berkowitz just skipping a few steps ahead of everyone else. The pod is something of a work in progress right now; he wants to tinker with the design to better soundproof it, improve the air circulation, and add some shelves to the outside to provide more storage.

He also wants to be careful not to violate San Francisco’s regulatory laws about building additional units. "If I can keep it to the point where it’s essentially still just furniture, I can save people a lot of money and maybe get them some relief," he says.

When he talked to Business Insider, Berkowitz had not yet found anyone else interested in commissioning a pod, but since then he says he’s gotten feelers from about 10 people. So is a room that's 40 square feet for $10 per square foot a bargain? Depends on how boxed-in the housing market is making you feel.