In Silicon Valley, homes cost so much that they now rent capsule beds

Large, furnished and accessible homes that can accommodate up to 14 people. With the single tenant paying an affordable monthly fee and having the necessary tools and space to live well while the landlord ends up earning more than he would earn by hosting a couple or a family. A solution that works successfully and satisfactorily for everyone, the one who is devised by Brownstone Condominiumwhich in Silicon Valley has opened the doors to two houses, in which 6 and 14 people live in order.

One of the special features of the sharing model developed by the startup, which aims to offer a solution to the rise in house prices, is the lack of a bedroom, at least as it is understood in the traditional way. Instead of a double bed and two or more single beds are there bunk beds inspired by capsule hotels appeared in Japan in the early 1980s. The author has tried the experience during a stay in Tokyo, so there is curiosity to understand how you can sleep every night in a room that is conceptually different from the classic bed.

Affordable cost in California for many is the primary factor for a home

“Our pods are therefore a further 2.5 meters they also offer people enough space to sit and move because they are larger than Japanese capsules“, have explained Christina Lennoxinterior designer who was responsible for furnishing the two houses controlled by Brownstone Shared Housing, a startup founded together with James Stallworth. A house is located in High barnear the Stanford University campus, the other in the center Bakersfielda city of nearly 400,000 inhabitants north of Los Angeles.

A picture of the capsules in the Palo Alto home

But why rely on capsules instead of expanding the number of rooms? The answer is simple, because with the price of real estate continuing to rise, there is in Silicon Valley urgent need for accessible housing for those who can not afford to pay $ 2,000 a month for a studio apartment. In the Palo Alto house, the 14 tenants pay $ 800 per month, without deposit and prepayment of one or more months. For one of the 6 vacancies in Bakersfield, however, they are required $ 500. Many, too many? Depends.

If the number in absolute value can be considered too high to sleep in a capsule equipped with lighting, shelf, hanger, controlled temperature and sockets (but do an online search or ask how much it takes on average to rent a room in an apartment in Rome and Milan, you will find few cheaper deals), for the California reality it is a golden opportunity.

The monthly rent for a furnished house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, like the one in Palo Alto, is $ 7-8,000. It is therefore clear that how to manage with $ 800 is perceived as a stroke of luck. Also because the monthly rent includes supplies, internet subscription and bike parking in the yard (as in Palo Alto, it is the preferred means of transportation for almost everyone for short-distance travel).

Not just students, the next step is to expand the range with views of New York

In the idea of ​​the founders, the common house should have attracted most students, trainees and other categories who were used or forced to make a living from saving, while those, as Lennox specified, in the two houses inaugurated in 2021 also existed “researchers, graduate students, poets, entrepreneurs and residents who just need a place to livebecause it’s very difficult to find one and we’re trying to fill that void “.

Driven by personal needs, with repeated difficulties in finding quick and affordable housing, the two founders found themselves with the same idea after they met while working as accountants for the state of California. “We started trying to find a way to do that hosts the largest number of people in spaces that guarantee them comfort, dignity and privacy“, explained Insider Stallworth. With self-financing, the couple created the business model, and after meeting an owner who was excited to experiment with the project by responding to a Craigslist rental ad, the 14-person Palo Alto home was born.

A picture of one of the common rooms in the Bakersfield house (which costs $ 500 a month for each tenant)

Positive reviews and word of mouth have given the duo the opportunity to make themselves known, with various expressions of interest in the project, many of which come from California and others from New York. Getting to the big apple is a priority for Brownstone Shared Housing because for the average cost of living and housing, it is the place in the United States that more than anyone else would need affordable housing.

Not surprisingly, the original project by Lennox and Stallworth was born in 2020 in Brooklyn, with 400 people interested in joining other roommates (the startup does not accept anyone who requests because the tenants’ wishes also count). Changing the maps was a newspaper article that in part misrepresented the intentions of the two founders and, above all, the laws that in New York set a limit on the number of roommates in a house.

So it was decided to go to the west coast and look towards Silicon Valley, where sky-high prices and less restrictive rules allowed Brownstone Shared Housing to start the project.

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