This Small SF Apartment Has a Toilet in the Shower

Dystopian rentals are back in fashion for The City by the Bay

Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

I love tiny life. (I love tiny houses; I love watching queer YouTubers transform old airstreams; I love container homes; I love the idea of ​​condensing your life to make it more manageable.) But there’s an undefined line in the sand, that exists between it and practicality is difficult to define.

However, this only applies if, for example, a said limiting beam shines through an iPhone or Macbook Pro screen. Case in point: Zillow recently posted a listing for a low-key, prison-like room on Lower Nob Hill that’s roughly twice the size of the average jail cell in an American prison.

At 116 square feet — an area measuring approximately 10 feet by 12 feet — the studio apartment at 698 Bush Street, Unit 405 is one of the smallest living spaces to hit the market in recent memory. Worse? It’s $1,500 a month. Even worse? It only includes a wet bath; The shower head hangs over the toilet.

Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

WWhile this isn’t an example of a single-room occupancy (SRO) unit, which often measures less than 100 square feet and bills itself as the last remnant of quasi-affordable SF housing, it’s heartbreaking to find such a compelling condo on the market too this price.

(I was fortunate to find a rent-controlled 160-sq-ft SRO for $1,100 during the “pandemic price” spell of 2021. The unit I currently live in was originally put on the market for $1,800/month brought – a criminally high price – before Covid-19 entered our collective lexicons. It sat there for a month at that price. Then it was reduced to $1,499. Orchestra of Crickets. For a single month, the listing was edited to To reflect “special pricing” at $1,099 I fell like a snow leopard on a mountain goat…because I could justify the price of the place [within the context of San Francisco’s livability].)

Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

TThe listing, authored by SF Bay Rental Company, notes that the kitchenette has “stone countertops, a stainless steel sink, a mini-fridge, and modern cabinetry,” though no oven or stovetop is included. The living space itself can be swallowed up by a hinged folding bed – but at least by a “high-end” bed.

The self-described compact wet bathroom has “modern fittings and shower”. Ironically, what my eyes can’t miss isn’t the shower curtain rod that hangs over the toilet, but the frosted bathroom doors that separate the living space.

Oh, and that kitchen sink? Good luck installing something larger than a mixing bowl.

Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

On For a salary of $60,000 a year, most financial experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your gross monthly income on housing. This equates to $1,500 per month — the same rental rate for that unit that would be considered inhumane and exploitative in most cities.

In San Francisco we are jaded to such examples. The slump in rents caused by the pandemic to reasonably digestible prices proved to be only temporary. A thin piece of gauze over the machete wound that defines the state of the city’s affordable housing.

Will SF bleed out? I mean, people still leave in droves (although a good farewell to the six-figure, 20-year-old techies who came here chasing a check rather than a cultural bastion). It is more likely that the real estate bubble will burst before then.

However, this abode is not a place to spend the end of days indoors at such a high price.

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