Option 10! Last week I shared a glimpse into our apartment search in Tunis. I’m excited to share that my personal favorite, the apartment with the fantastic views was the winner!
Negotiating and signing the lease for the apartment was a process. You might remember that the apartment was originally being offered as unfurnished, which we were not willing to accept. We asked the broker whether the landlord would be willing to rent the apartment furnished and when the answer was “yes” we had to negotiate the furniture to be included. Omar and I tend to be pretty minimalist in our tastes so we didn’t ask for much, but we needed the basics. A bed, a couch, a dining table, and a desk for me to work from home.
Our landlord, a successful Tunisian attorney, invited us to his home to “pick out” the furniture. Yes, you read that right. On a Sunday afternoon, we went to our landlord’s
home mansion and selected the furniture to furnish our new apartment. It was an experience. I mean, have you ever been to someone’s house to take their furniture and use it as your own? It’s a little awkward.
Our landlord has a beautiful home with a view overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. As we arrived, we where given a small tour of the main areas of the home, the indoor and outdoor pools, and even rode in the private elevator. He and his family welcomed us for tea, cookies, and small talk. After the tea, we walked to the lower level of his home where his wife and son showed us an area next to their indoor pool and gym where they kept some older furniture they were no longer using. Tables, chairs, beds, rugs, couches, it was all there. We sort of just politely pointed, and asked for it. “Can we take that desk?” It already felt like we were a bit of an intrusion so I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures. You’ll just have to take my word for it.
A furnished apartment doesn’t mean just furniture and appliances, it also means cookware! The idea is that the apartment should be 100% move-in ready and liveable. Having met the landlord’s wife at their home helped on this front. I casually mentioned that I really enjoyed cooking when we were taking a tour of their home and she and I talked food and kitchen ware for a few minutes. She assured me that she’d talk to her husband about supplying the right cookware, flatware, and serve-ware. Then, when we arrived at the new place, I found brand new serve-ware, cook-ware, bake-ware, and silverware! Teapot? Check. Cake pans? Check. Serving platters? Check. Plates? Check. Salad Bowl? Wine glasses? Check. Juice carafe? Check. Check.Check. I felt like a newlywed coming home to a kitchen with brand new items from another anonymous couples’ wedding registry. Ah.maz.ing.
Our new place has three bedrooms and these days I spend most of my days in our home office.
Of course, what you get in convenience with renting a furnished apartment you lose in design preferences. We tend to have simple, modern, preferences. But, beggars can’t be choosy and our furnishings are all a tad elaborate and a bit formal for my tastes. You can see for yourself, it isn’t exactly the furniture in a typical American home.
Ok, so silk upholstery doesn’t scream comfort, but it is has a luxe quality that is actually quite exquisite. Tea, anyone?
In our bedroom, we’ve got an antique dresser, night stands with marble tops, and a dressing table.
I’ve grown to love the dressing table because it feels so…Parisian.
It’s all a bit grand and formal, but it also underscores the differences of everyday living as an expat. It’s not the *things* it’s the experience, right?
We’d never consider furnishings like this if we were left to our own devices, but I mean, it does feel kinda *regal*.
But my favorite part of it all? The sunsets. Definitely, the sunsets.