No one would ever accuse me of being a gourmet chef, or any kind of chef for that matter. Really, I’m pretty much useless in the kitchen. So when we saw the apartment that is soon to become our home and there was no kitchen, I thought it was perfect.
The minimalist look
The open space appealed to me. It wasn’t cluttered with cupboards and appliances. There was a sink, so I thought if we added a fridge and a microwave that should be enough. But Jeff (who likes to cook more than I do) insisted that we should have a “real” kitchen. Finally, I conceded that he might be right because I do like it when he cooks and dishwashers are really handy.
We decided to go the simple route in our new kitchen. We bought free-standing appliances and two free-standing base cabinets. They look nice and don’t have to be attached to the wall. For now we are forgoing any wall cabinets and have opted for open shelving. If that doesn’t give us enough storage, we can always add some overhead units later. And when we do move someday, we will, of course, take our kitchen with us and the free-standing units will make this easier.
A little luxury
We have one thing in our apartment which is a real luxury in European cities, where space is at a premium – we have a small walk-in closet, called a “dressing”. And like the kitchen, it is an empty space. We are buying free-standing shelving units with rods for hanging clothes, and yes, when we leave, we will take our closet with us too.
What we’ve learned about renting an unfurnished apartment
(3 year lease) in France:
Unfurnished means empty
We were surprised to discover that in France when you rent an “unfurnished” apartment not only does it not have any furniture, but it also has no kitchen appliances, no light fixtures and sometimes, as in our case, no cupboards (well, there is the one little cupboard under the sink).
Renter as decorator
As a tenant (with the 3 year lease) in France you can do practically anything you want to your apartment as long as when you move out it is left in good condition. So if we wanted to, we could line the walls with attached cupboards and built in shelves, and we could paint the walls whatever colours we wanted. Compare this to the apartment we rent in the UK, where the only thing we are allowed to do is hang pictures – and then, only if we use a certain kind of hanger that doesn’t damage the wall.
When living in a foreign country you discover that there are many ways of doing things and your expectations are always being challenged. At times it can be frustrating, but I have to say, it’s never boring. We’ve been learning a lot about renting and moving and with tomorrow being our moving day, I am sure we will be learning even more.
So wish us luck for tomorrow and next time I will share what we have learned about merchandise deliveries…
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