Since the initial 200 sq. ft. space, I have moved to a bigger 400 sq. ft. space with (surprise) hardwood flooring - from $300/mo. to $350/mo. including utilities.
I had the idea in the back of my mind for a while, and one day I just started looking - and the first place I looked at was it. Definitely some luck played into it.
Key elements for success:
- Be in good terms with the landlord - they have bills to pay too and they do not want to see vacancies. Get a sense of the limits and boundaries of what will be tolerated while you stay.
Location, location, location - an isolated space away from other offices is a plus, preferrably with its own entrance and exit.
Stealth / dressing up - It's an office! Make it look like one. I purposely chose furnitures that could be used at home or in the office - even the sofa bed! Secondhand Ikea furnitures helped a lot.
Locks - there is no privacy and the landlord has the right to access the office at anytime. Most of my storage furnitures have locks on them. Also, prepare to use keys for everything, including restrooms.
Keep a low profile - This won't be much of a problem, because when I'm in my space after work, most people have gone (and vice-versa). But since this is a 24/7 facility, some people remain. I have befriended few, but I keep a professional distance. This isn't a place for socializing. They're here to earn a living.
Find ways to deal with lacking necessities - While I had a choice of several restrooms, there is no shower facility. I alternate between: shower at work, at a gym, at a family member's and a home-made shower.
- Food / Cooking: a small office microwave, an electric kettle, induction cooktop (no fire!) should be able to take care of most cooking basics economically. Looking forward to this next step.
Food storage: Current thought is Engel AC/DC freezer/fridge but the price! Need to think about this more.
Exercise equipment: the office hardwood flooring is a courtesy leftover from a dance studio that was converted into several smaller offices. I intend to take full advantage of this lovely flooring with appropriate exercise equipment.
The office pad experiment has been a success.
I'm quite happy with the place, and the increae in savings has been a joy to see. And no roommate to deal with at an affordable price point.
Who'd thought such would be possible in the heart of California? I got the idea from reading about Apple and HP as a start-up, when they did the same. Where there is a will. . .