March 30, 2016

Paying $508 a month to live in a box — a "pod" — tucked up against the wall in someone else's apartment.

In San Francisco.
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.

What this all comes back to, though, is making a pod people would be willing to live in....
... pod people... hmmm.

Well, the tiny house/tiny housing movement marches on.

Presumably, he gets to use the bathroom. Does he also get the use of the kitchen and the living room during the day or is he supposed to stay in his box and only use the rooms as a path to get to his box?

IN THE COMMENTS: Todd said: "Those look like they could double-stack." That made me remember Kramer's chest of drawer:

85 comments:

traditionalguy said...

Is free wi-fi included?

Brando said...

Supply and demand my friends. Of course the government could alleviate the situation by passing more landlord friendly rent laws, cutting back on land-use regulation to enable more construction, and eliminating rent control. But until then, look for more people renting couch space and living in vans.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

We crate-trained our rescue dog. Sounds like a similar principal.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Yah, you live in a dog crate.

MaxedOutMama said...

Human crate training?

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I thought of a dog crate too.

People always say the dog prefers it, the dog loves it.

Just say that about people and we're good to go.

Laslo Spatula said...

Great for the Serial Killer who doesn't have a Basement.

I am Laslo.

Brando said...

Maybe next they can let people live in hammocks suspended from the eaves of their houses.

Michael K said...

The collapse of the blue model proceeds apace. The pod is also safe from roaming illegal aliens, although the Library of Congress does not allow that term anymore.

Bay Area Guy said...

Gotta love, San Francisco!

In 1995, had a decent job in downtown SF on Montgomery St. Shared a nice two-bedroom apartment in the heart of North Beach. Rent for my own bedroom was $550/month. Back then, that was considered pretty reasonable.

Now, you get a pod for that. Owning a house in SF starts at $1 Million.

When will liberals start demanding a wealth tax in SF - lotta dough to be had for crucial social services!

Fritz said...

Brando said...
Maybe next they can let people live in hammocks suspended from the eaves of their houses.


IIRC, Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever had was a summer in San Francisco.

Clearly, he never lived in Eureka.

AprilApple said...

As long as Nancy Plosive and Gavin Newsome are living large, what diff?

AprilApple said...

Oops - Nancy Pepsi.

Bobby said...

I lived on a (very) small patrol base during two of my years in Afghanistan. Space was at an absolute premium. Many of the troops built out living spaces very similar to this pod, complete with these retractable hanging "desks" from which they could dangle their laptops and watch movies while laying in bed.

Henry said...

It's like living in your van, but without wheels.

Say $2000 for a beat-up VW minivan. A hundred a month for repairs and gas. After that you have $400 a month left for parking.

Or you can live in plywood.

Laslo Spatula said...

Lay, lady, lay, lay inside my big wood box

Stay, lady, stay, stay inside the box awhile

Until the break of day, on linoleum tile

The mattress is dirty but the sheets are clean

And you’re the best thing his box has ever seen

Stay, lady, stay, stay inside the box awhile

I am Laslo.

tim maguire said...

Looks like a lot of work for what would be at best a short-term solution (I can't imagine living there for more than a few days). Commenters over there do a good job of listing the problems. (Which they are then criticized for, dang Negative Nellies!)

Brian said...

Curiously, a search of that article for the words "fire" and "code" comes up empty.

rhhardin said...

Share it with the dog. Then you're not lonely.

Bob Ellison said...

That living arrangement would seem to require extremely good hygiene habits.

Box 2.0 (for apartment owners) will come with a little device on top that reports levels of ammonia and other stinky toxins inside the box.

Tank said...

One thing that money has always bought is more space. Space to live, to think, to get away from others' noise, garbage, etc. We've always had a small house, about 1,400 sq ft; but, it's a SFR, with a yard, on a quiet street, in a nice town. Enough space for us. A pod would not be enough space for me.

=========================

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, I thought of a dog crate too.

People always say the dog prefers it, the dog loves it.

Just say that about people and we're good to go.


We occasionally dog sit my daughters dog. He has a crate for being in when we're not there, or asleep. The funny thing is that, during the day, when he can roam wherever he wants in the house, he'll often just go in his crate, cuddle up in his blanket, and pass out. So, it seems true.

People, not so much I don't think. Although there is a similar comfort to "being home."

Bob Boyd said...

"Bring out the Gimp."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgryJhw8SzA

tim in vermont said...

It's almost as if they were looking for loopholes in the the overweening lefty regulation SF voters have chosen for themselves.

tim in vermont said...

You know how you can tell a poor neighborhood in South Florida? Not enough space to park all of their cars. That's because the Reagan economy since 1980 has utterly failed to produce more desirable land in America's cities.

Laslo Spatula said...

Isn't living in a Box just “cultural appropriation” of the Homeless?

I am Laslo.

RAH said...

Does the apartment lease allow sublet?

MadisonMan said...

Nice source of income for the owner of the space the pod is in. Wonder if it's on the tax rolls.

mikeyes said...

We just got back from visiting our son and family in San Francisco. He and his wife have a six figure income but can't afford to live there - they live in UCSF Mission Bay housing for now but the lease runs out in July - and are moving to Houston. SF is very desirable but the combination of geographic restriction (which means there are few places left to build and those places are filling up with high dollar apartments), lots of moneyed people and continued immigration to SF by more people with money makes housing very expensive. The number of homeless seems large with tents, bike drawn trailers and people living in boxes every place that is friendly. No Uber driver lives in SF, they all live in San Jose, the largest community in the area.
Until the app/dot.com community starts to become destitute, SF housing costs will continue to rise.

Bob Boyd said...

I left my pod in San Francisco
But only long enough to pee
My pod-mate snores and eats Nabisco
And insists that he's a she

Rocketeer said...

So, that dummy and his dummy landlord just went viral with all kinds of tenancy, building and life safety code violations. So much for the $508/mo "rent". Dummies.

Wilbur said...

I hold with Buck Owens:

Spent sometime in San Francisco
I spent a night there in the can
They threw this drunk man in my jail cell
I took fifteen dollars from that man

Left him my watch and my old house key
Don't want folks thinkin' that I'd steal
Then I thanked him as I was leaving
And I headed out for Bakersfield

Dude1394 said...

It sounds a lot like a dogs crate.

Sounds like the homeless, tents, bike-drawn trailers have it figured out. They live in a really nice area that folks are willing to spend a fortune for, for free! :)

Bob Ellison said...

People who live in dense cities do not understand how vast is America.

If you live in San Francisco or Manhattan, you tend to think that's the world, that's what we've got.

Go drive across Texas the long way.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do understand the problem that this is supposed to solve, but never understood the microhouse movement. For me, it just has never been worth it to live anywhere that is so land limited. Think about it - what is there in these places where this sort of thing might be viable that is so attractive? I just don't get it.

Jim Miller said...

In northern San Mateo County, close to SF, lots of folks live in RVs parked in backyards. Further south, close to San Jose, the model is converted garages. There's a house nearby we call "the dorm," with a big RV out back and maybe 15 cars parked up and down the street at night. Nice ones - BMWs and Lexuses.

Chris N said...

Overheard in a future high-speed trolley:

'Hey, it's Paul, the mural-artist.

Great...great. No, I'm good, man. Listen, my pod number's E-27198.

Yep, Recycling Bay 4. Can't miss it. Starts at 5.

No, no, it's not Compost...it's near...the Green Plastics tower at the entrance.

Nobody's ever working there, dude.

Totally safe. Squatter camp's gone.

Eh, some junkies. Probably not safe after dark.

Yeah, all-English. Don't need your chip.

Cool, see you then.

Hail Seeger!'

madAsHell said...

Apodments!!

It's the new! living arrangement in Soviet Seattle. The in-duh-vidual rooms are organized in a cluster around a shared kitchen, and bathroom.

Hey!! Who farted??

Bob Ellison said...

Bruce Hayden, the microhouse movement, as you aptly name it, is a combination of several leftist tendencies:

1) Self-hatred: I am a horrible thing that must be minimized.

2) Enviro-wackiness: I must find the tiniest space to live in, because that's better for the environment. The tinier, the better.

3) Virtue-signalling: I must show everyone my small carbon footprint. See the footprint? Hard to even see it, right? amiright?

4) Big-important-city snobbery: I live in San Francisco, or Manhattan, or maybe one of the lesser places that still seem cool, like Portland, OR, or maybe Austin, TX. Therefore I must show that even though I could buy land for something like $100/acre, I choose not to, because I am a resident of this virtuous nest of leftists.

Todd said...

Those look like they could double-stack. An extra $1K a month for giving up that space could well be worth it. If that were my place I would insist on women though, would not want dudes creeping around my place at night.

Maybe Asian girls, they are smaller than "regular" girls so the space would not seem so cramped. If you can catch them right off of the plane from Japan, they would already be comfortable with the tight quarters.

Or maybe some of those girls that already starve themselves cause they want to be models or in the movies.

No overnight guests...

EMD said...

Does an Owl deliver to the renter an inordinate amount of mail?

virgil xenophon said...

This all gets back to land-use restrictions and the "green-space" movement. As Victor Davis Hanson (who teaches in Palo Alto but lives/farms in the central valley) there is PLENTY of empty land upon which to build apts for the hoi polloi: teachers, RNs, firefighters and police, etc inland just off the freeway between San Jose and SF, but the left always zones these areas out-of-bounds. No hoi polli for the coastal elites who already have theirs..

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

There seems to be consensus among veterinary authorities that crate training is the way to go.

I would have gotten that wrong on the quiz.

I'll keep reading.

Paddy O said...

Kramer was ahead of the trend.

BDNYC said...

Nice little stunt. This used to be called couch surfing. Anyway, I bet this arrangement violates numerous housing regulations or something, especially in a city like San Francisco.

Bay Area Guy said...

This morning I checked my basement, and I also checked the rumpus room.

I didn't have a tape measure, but I estimated comfortable space for 3 or 4 pods.

I hereby offer to let (old word meaning "rent") certain real property in my basement and rumpus room to 3 or 4 ambitious pod-seekers. I offer to provide suitable pod-living quarters for $500 bucks/month -- or the equivalent in free beer, liquor or spirits. We will not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender, class, dreadlocks or transgenderism. However, frequent bathing is a must.

Who needs a place?

Jane the Actuary said...

Eh, that's just an upscale version of Hong Kong's cage homes.

Abdul Abulbul Amir said...


Three cheers for California zoning restrictions that prevents enough new housing supply to meet the demand. Instead, it's the RV in the backyard, the pod, the tiny house, the converted garage, etc.

Look at the bright side. State intervention in the housing market has produced a wonderful diversity in alternative housing. No wonder the one way box truck rental is roughly twice as high to go from San Francisco to Dallas or Houston as the other way. That California is losing population to other states is not a surprise.

Titus said...

30% of all new condos in Boston/Cambridge are being purchased by Asians, paying in full and over asking price.

tits.

Ann Althouse said...

"Kramer was ahead of the trend."

I read that after I did the addition to the post.

I'm guessing you were influenced, like me, by Todd's stacking idea.

Danno said...

This certainly makes Madison's tiny houses look like McMansions. If lefties prefer cage-free eggs, you'd think they'd also be for cage-free humans.

CatherineM said...

Your Kramer post also reminded me of this http://youtu.be/nBaCdWDIBgc

Bobby said...

Bay Area Guy,

"Who needs a place?"

This might be a stupid question (given your handle), but where do you live?

damikesc said...

Astonishing what people would rather have than money.

I guess living in a "cool" city where the only hope you have of social interaction involves "somebody else's place" is worth it to some clowns.

They deserve to get ripped off.

Meade said...

Rhyming "San Francisco" with "Nabisco"

Haw!

Paddy O said...

"I'm guessing you were influenced..."

Likely so!

Bob Boyd said...

The crumbs, you know? On the mattress? Eating crackers in bed?

"disco" just wouldn't come together for me come.

Bob Boyd said...

Ignore the second coming of the word "come."

Meade said...

Ha. Totally got it. From Wikipedia: "Nabisco's trademark, a diagonal ellipse with a series of antenna-like lines protruding from the top (Orb and Web), forms the base of its logo and can be seen imprinted on Oreo biscuits in addition to Nabisco product boxes and literature. It has been claimed in company promotional material to be an early European symbol for quality. It may be derived from a medieval Italian printer's mark that represented "the triumph of the moral and good over the evil and worldly", or to represent the act of winnowing, separating grain from chaff.

Didn't even notice the second come even.

Robert Cook said...

"Bruce Hayden, the microhouse movement, as you aptly name it, is a combination of several leftist tendencies:

"1) Self-hatred: I am a horrible thing that must be minimized.

"2) Enviro-wackiness: I must find the tiniest space to live in, because that's better for the environment. The tinier, the better.

"3) Virtue-signalling: I must show everyone my small carbon footprint. See the footprint? Hard to even see it, right? amiright?

"4) Big-important-city snobbery: I live in San Francisco, or Manhattan, or maybe one of the lesser places that still seem cool, like Portland, OR, or maybe Austin, TX. Therefore I must show that even though I could buy land for something like $100/acre, I choose not to, because I am a resident of this virtuous nest of leftists."


With all your snark, you forgot to list the real reason: this is all I can afford.

jr565 said...

The lefty states. The states where you pay top dollar to live in tiny little closets. And the lefties living in those closets will act all smug about how they made it. People living in prisons have more space.

jr565 said...

(cont) by the way I live in a lefty state, and my apartment is pretty dang small.My apartment is just small in comparison to say a house. But its not one of these newer micro apartments which are REALLY small. I guess size is relative.

Meade said...

I left my blow back at the disco
Had unsafe sex in a stairway well
She claimed she lived in a pod in Frisco
Slipped me a 'lude, said, "shhh don't tell"

Bob Boyd said...

I'm slappin' my forehead, Meade. You make it look so easy.

Bob Boyd said...

The cross with two bars is also called the Patriarchal Cross....so watch out for creeping rape culture invading the safe space of your pod by hiding in your snack foods. When you are groping in a box of crackers, these crackers are groping you back and you don't even know it. Shudder.
Coincidence that Nabisco uses a "double cross" for their trade mark?

Titus said...

Want you flyovers don't understand is that being fab and living in fab areas cost money.

There is a huge demand for living and working in fabulousness.

Yes, there are other parts of the country where you have like land, and open space, but there is not as much of a demand or space.

So us fab's are willing to pay the price to have all the fabu amenities around us.

The real estate broker who lives next me on the PH floor, and caters to Asians, says the prices are so crazy because there is no inventory and the desperate peeps will do anything for a potential place.

True story-the Penthouse across the hall from me went on sale last week-500k above what I paid for my place in 20009. The Asian broker next door did one Open House and have over 20 offers above asking price. The unit was eventually sold for 275. over asking price.

The next day I come out of the building and there is this nice young women crying because she loves the building and never had an opportunity to put an offer in because there were too many offers. She asked me if she could put a note in the foyer asking if anyone was considering selling their unit and if they were to please contact her. She just relocated from DC and said the Boston areas housing prices are much worse than DC-which surprised me.

We are building these ginormous luxury building condo skyscrapers everywhere in the city. Cranes for days.

If you want to live in Jesusland you can get a baagain. Otherwise, coastie living costs.

thanks and have a terrific day.

Unknown said...

I was watching one of these tiny housing shows on whatever channel has house hunters. The lady on the the show was looking at 250 square feet places. One of her requirements was that she wanted some space between the bathroom and the rest of the unit. That made me laugh. Newsflash with a 250 sq feet house everywhere is right next the bathroom.

Meade said...

"You make it look so easy."

Inspired!

buwaya said...

" there is PLENTY of empty land upon which to build apts for the hoi polloi: teachers, RNs, firefighters and police, etc inland just off the freeway between San Jose and SF'

Yes there is. Ride Caltrain to San Jose and you will see lots of open space, old suburbs and otherwise underused land. There is no reason other than development restrictions that prevent a multiplication of housing in the area. Heck, there are 20 square miles on the hills east of Livermore (Altamont) dedicated to no-longer functional windmills from the 1980s.

Also most of the city of San Francisco by area, by far, is tract houses. 25+ square miles of tract houses pretty much, by my rough calculation. SF could easily triple its residents by relatively small changes in various rules. It will require a local government capable of organizing improvements in roads, transit and other facilities, so that's another reason this hasn't happened, because the people in charge probably (and rightly) doubt their ability to handle such a change. The last time SF had a government capable of this stuff was in the 1960s-70s.

As an owner of one of these tract houses, I have benefited

Unknown said...

I live in the bay area and live in Petaluma and commute in to SF everyday. 1 hour plus commute each way. The real estate market is such that commercial real estate is at 95% capacity with growth now spilling over into Oakland. Everyone hoping for an earthquake which will magically leave them unscathed. As I tell them when you shake the tree you don't get to pick which apples fall. :-P

buwaya said...

And lets talk Oakland.
That place is just going to waste. Dead downtown and tract-house slums.
Many more square miles perfectly ready for Manhattanization.
It goes on and on.

rehajm said...

Titus said...
Want you flyovers don't understand is that being fab and living in fab areas cost money.

There is a huge demand for living and working in fabulousness.


As a flyover who paid up to live in fabulousness I have to say it's not the worst financial decision I've ever made.

buwaya said...

OK, if someone wants a CHEAP home in the SF Bay Area, try this -
Close to BART, easily drivable to downtown SF, etc. etc.

http://www.trulia.com/property/3226131344-1547-23rd-Ave-Oakland-CA-94606
3 BR/2 ba condo
$198,000
The downside is a home in this sort of place is truly a "home of the brave".

el polacko said...

@buwaya: guess you haven't been to oakland lately. it's where all the cool kids are now. downtown is booming with clubs, bars, restaurants, theaters,and galleries. don't know where these "tract house slums" are...? oakland is currently the hottest real estate market in the country with beautiful victorian-era homes already tipping the million dollar mark. if SF is manhattan then oakland is brooklyn.

buwaya said...

Oakland has nice places - I used to live (as a bachelor) off Grand Avenue.
But the rest - I have been downtown Oakland often enough, those buildings are underused, and the West Oakland neighborhoods are just the way they were. Look out of the BART train going in and out of West Oakland station and you will see them.

buwaya said...

Oakland tract house slums -
http://www.trulia.com/property/3229021420-1753-Church-St-Oakland-CA-94621
http://www.trulia.com/property/3226131344-1547-23rd-Ave-Oakland-CA-94606
http://www.trulia.com/property/3223181232-985-76th-Ave-Oakland-CA-94621

You are right about Oakland downtown, its flipped from depressed to full over the last year
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/blog/real-estate/2015/12/oakland-sf-office-market-4q-sq-schw-ua.html

jr565 said...

Titus wrote:

We are building these ginormous luxury building condo skyscrapers everywhere in the city. Cranes for days.

If you want to live in Jesusland you can get a baagain. Otherwise, coastie living costs.

thanks and have a terrific day.

And yet the dems keep arguing about income inequality. Why are all the lefty places to live ones where poorer people can't? Unless they live in an apartment the size of an average bathroom?

Danno said...

Blogger jr565 said...Titus wrote:........

You must always treat anything by authored by Titus as braggadocio to the max. However, your point of why income inequality is the worst in all of these lefty enclaves is spot on.

RigelDog said...

I'm glad you brought this up, because I've been puzzling over the practical and aesthetic issues in this particular apartment. The size and configuration of the separate pod living area make no sense to me. Why is the box only so-high? Why make an expensive six-sided box with a low roof---like a coffin---instead of just using the side wall of the living room as one side of a roughed-in room with walls to the ceiling made of plywood, paneling, or wallboard? You could still put in a rudimentary window or two and some ventilation. Also, isn't there room in that living room to give pod-dude a few more feet in length, so that he could have a small chair and desk-arm at one end? And why wood to begin with---why not just a tent, or heavy curtains hung from the ceiling? I also wondered if pod-dude is expected to stay in his crate at all times when he is not using the bathroom---kinda like Harry Potter under the stairs.

buwaya said...

What makes no sense is making boarding houses effectively illegal.
That was common in the old days - people would set up their home as a boarding house and let out bedrooms, and people would use the common areas, and usually get meals, laundry, etc. in the bargain. This one move would multiply the available lower-rent capacity of SF in one go.
Retired people, widows (as traditional) would have an extra source of income, etc.

buwaya said...

"Why make an expensive six-sided box with a low roof---like a coffin---instead of just using the side wall of the living room as one side of a roughed-in room with walls to the ceiling made of plywood, paneling, or wallboard"

Very likely its to get around a rental regulation.

rcommal said...

Oh, Lord. What crap.

We have moved from inconvenient extended-family arrangements to "it's just too inconvenient" to have roommates, even if that sort of thing, roommates for example, makes better financial sense not just in the short-term, but also in the mid-term and long-term planning sense of organizing one's financial affairs and planning for the future.

Is there no end to the bad advice? The piss-poor sense of perspective?

We'd be better off, and far more honest not to mention virtuous, eating our young outright, IMO, than putting them on a spit to 1) burn up quickly over a flaming fire, bellows all a-blasting or 2) roast slowly over barely glowing coals.

So much bullshit. Too little sense.

rcommal said...

Just to be clear about something, by the way:

I admire my grandparents etc. for many, many, many reasons, and certainly big time for how they took care of their own, including those up and down in the chain.

It's 2016, and I owe them.

---

If not for my grandparents, when I was a little girl I would never have met, for example, a great-grandparent, born in the 1880s, for example. ; )

---

And I certainly would not be in possession of a collection of books, bequeathed to me, that originally belonged to a guy who spent his life on ships and boats--y'know, an uneducated guy WHO ALSO APPRECIATED self-education specifically on account of reading, and fancy that!--had I not, long ago, put my loyalty there.



rcommal said...

TBC, I ^ referenced two of my uppers there, not just one. I am an extra-lucky gal, and make no mistake about it: I am very, very, very proud of my historical family on account of their guts, their work ethic, their commitment to self-education when general education wasn't available, their abilities to use tools to make whatever they needed, their abilities to grow and raise whatever they needed to eat, and, most important, how they managed to imbue me with their values.

RigelDog said...

I am "aunt" to my best friend's son, a seriously intellectually gifted young man who graduated last year from a good school with a dual major in computer engineering and computer science--and a masters degree in computer engineering. All in 4 years. He's working in the San Francisco area for a company whose name you would probably recognize, and making great money. The best compromise he could find between paying most of his salary in rent and moving too far away to commute is to rent a room. He's living in a small house that is occupied by a lot of unrelated individuals. He has a tiny bedroom on the second floor and has the use of a bathroom down the hall, plus there is a tiny converted kitchen on the second floor. That's it. He is not permitted to use the downstairs living room, which is used by the owner of the house. His brother, who is almost as accomplished as he, is about to graduate with a degree in computer engineering and go to work for a major company in Silicon Valley. My friend is helping him research every possible apartment and says the efficiency apartments within commuting distance are about $4000 per month.