Peter Berkowitz is my new favorite guy. The 25-year-old illustrator recently moved to San Francisco and instead of settling for some landlord’s price-gouging, he found some other cool kids who let him build a box in their living room. Peter’s rent is just $400 a month.
That sounds good to me! The median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco is a stunning $3,670 a month, and a bedroom in a shared apartment will set you back at least $1,500 for a decent location on the peninsula. And if you have to battle it out with all of the other recent college graduates from Craigslist for that room, you’re probably going to need to bribe somebody, too. I’ve heard it’s pretty standard to bring a gift like wine or envelopes full of cash when you show up to check out a room. Sometimes the resident roommates invite all of the prospective roommates for a demented party to see who they like. It’s like fraternity rush for desperate assholes.
But this box-in-the-living room idea, now that’s something I can get behind. You’re lucky to have any space at all to yourself in San Francisco’s housing shortage, but it’s damn near impossible to find such a cozy little sleep pod like this. Peter built the thing with his bare hands for only $1,300 and even included a little window and some fairy lights so that it feels less like coffin and more like a magical escape from the dystopia that is the city by the bay. It’s eight feet by 3.5 feet (a little longer and wider than a coffin). The real perk though is that it’s 4.5 feet tall (much taller than a coffin). And look, there’s a cute little shelf for his MacBook.
One time I lived in a closet in London for £250 a month, roughly the same as what Peter’s paying for his box. I was able to stand up straight in my closet, but I was not able to stretch my arms out in both directions. It was no problem, though, because I was broke as hell and got to use the living room from time-to-time. I even had a girlfriend for a little while.
In all seriousness, it’s absurd that Frisco living has come to this. It’s bad for everyone who’s not some overpaid Facebook employee, and it’s bad for America. The housing crisis also isn’t entirely the tech companies’ fault, although they could be doing a lot more to fix it. Take a hint from Peter. He seems like a real get-up-and-go guy. Well, more like get-up-slightly-hunched-over-and-crawl-out-of-your-box-and-into-a-living-room kind of guy. I like this guy.