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Surprise! Chris and I just moved into a new apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia and we signed a YEAR-LONG LEASE. Wow… I haven’t signed one of those since I lived in China!
It was a big decision, but with a second Tbilisi lockdown imminently approaching (more about that in my next monthly recap…), we decided that if we’re going to live here indefinitely, we might as well have a bit more space, and take advantage of all the lower prices due to COVID and the borders being shut.
After a few days of searching, we ended up finding the PERFECT new place, and I’m so excited to show it to all of you!
First, Let Me Tell You About Our Old Tbilisi Apartment…
As many of you already know, I moved to Tbilisi, Georgia in January 2020 with the intention of staying for about four months, before heading back to the US for a bunch of weddings (including my second wedding with Chris for all our US friends and family).
Not wanting to outlay a ton of money buying things for an apartment we were only going to spend a few months in, Chris and I found the perfect place for $500 USD/ month in Tbilisi’s Vake neighborhood.
Our one-bedroom apartment was cozy, but offered everything we needed for the next few months, including most kitchen supplies and bedding! We also had a cute balcony great view of the tree-covered mountains and the giant Ferris wheel. Our landlord usually rents the place out on Airbnb but was happy to have us stay for a few months for a reasonable rate, especially since we were renting during the low season.
We turned the kitchen table to create a desk space for two, bought a few bowls since for some reason our kitchen came with ten thousand plates but no usable bowls, and we were set for the next few months!
Feeling a Bit Claustrophobic in Our Old Apartment
Once COVID lockdown hit, Chris and I started feeling really claustrophobic. Our old place was pretty tiny, and being stuck inside all day every day was not something I was expecting when I signed the lease.
Eventually, I took a job interviewing Chinese students for their college admissions applications, which meant that I needed my own room for conducting interviews. The recordings need to have no background noise, so it just made sense for me to purchase a desk and work in the bedroom.
But then Chris started doing paid online Dungeons and Dragons games as a new form of income, and we had a problem: we couldn’t work at the same time, because you could hear his voice in the background of my interviews! This really limited the games Chris could run to “nighttime”, which meant that we really couldn’t spend a lot of time together.
Then, we added not only one rescue cat, but also a KITTEN to the mix, and things got really tight.
Wanting a Bigger Kitchen
In addition to space, there were a few other things we really wanted with a new place. Firstly, our kitchen was TINY. Sure, it was perfect for 4 months when we were planning on eating out a bunch and enjoying the local food, but it was NOT fun for cooking elaborate meals, especially during lockdown.
Now don’t get me wrong, compared to our places in Hoi An, and some of our kitchens in China, this place was great. We had a stovetop with four burners, a full-size fridge, and a DISHWASHER, but we also had zero counter space because 90% of it was taken up by our microwave and portable electric oven.
Because our kitchen was in a corner (with an extra wall because….???) it was impossible for Chris and I to both be doing kitchen-related things at the same time. Chris couldn’t help me cook dinner even if he wanted to!
… and no aircon in the bedroom!
Next, we had no air conditioning in the bedroom, which was totally fine for living in the apartment from January – May, but NOT fine for July – August.
While not having aircon in the bedroom is really common in Georgia, the layout of our apartment made it impossible to keep our bedroom cool. The only air conditioning unit was in our living room, as far away from our bedroom door as humanly possible. We would have to turn the air conditioning aggressively low so it could travel in the U-shape necessary to get to our bedroom because there was no door connecting the bedroom and living room.
During the day I had admissions interviews, and I wasn’t able to have the door to the bedroom open, OR the balcony door-window due to street noise. I also couldn’t have a fan blowing on me, because you could hear it in the recording, so I basically sweat to death daily.
Starting to Look at Other Tbilisi Apartments
As COVID continued on and the borders remained closed, many of our friends moved to more affordable apartments or even got discounts on their current places. Meanwhile, we were still paying our $500 USD/month.
Chris and I had a month-to-month lease and were still paying pre-COVID short-term rental prices and we had now been living there for NINE MONTHS!
Now, I didn’t want to complain or ask for a discount because COVID is hard on everyone. But COVID also hasn’t been super easy on Chris and I either, and we really wanted a bigger space for our money.
I’ve joined a few housing groups on Facebook, and I was seeing the deals we could get if we left and moved to a new place, so I started putting my feelers out there to see what was available.
Sorry, No Pets!!
Now, our biggest problem was that all of the nice apartments we wanted to see wouldn’t allow pets. This really shocks me considering SO MANY PEOPLE have pets here. Seriously, it’s like every person owns a dog.
In a matter of two days, Anna found five apartments in our budget that met all our requirements AND allowed cats! I was also able to find another four places to see without Anna’s help.
Finding the Perfect Tbilisi Apartment
Chris and I started the day apartment hunting with Anna, and we were immediately impressed by every place she showed us. Upping our budget to $600 instead of $500/month, and agreeing to sign a year-long lease during COVID made the world our oyster, and we found plenty of amazing places in our budget.
That said, a lot of the places were great, but not 100% right for us. For example, there was an AMAZING three-bedroom apartment with a private bedroom office alcove and a fantastic kitchen with the best view…. but it was kind of in the middle of nowhere, we’d want to have a car, and there was really loud construction in the lot right next door.
Or there was the beautiful 2-bedroom with GIANT balconies and a view of a waterfall… but it had no kitchen appliances, and there were no shops or restaurants close by.
Next, there was a GIANT place in our current neighborhood of Vake that was almost too big for our needs, but it just felt a bit unfinished, like it was part of the way through a remodel and they just gave up.
We even went on our own to a beautiful apartment in the touristy section of Old Tbilisi, with a fantastic rooftop area, right next to a shopping mall, with a view of some of Tbilisi’s most historic buildings, walking-distance to Rustaveli Square. But… the bedrooms were tiny and dim, and we’d have a hard time fitting desks in them.
But finally, Anna introduced us to our dream home and I’m so excited to share it with all of you!
Introducing Our New Tbilisi Apartment!
Our new place has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a giant living room and kitchen, two balconies and so much storage space! It also came completely furnished and decorated, and we’ve only had to buy a few things like sheets, small bins, hand towels, etc.
The apartment is 2,000 Georgian lari per month, which is about $620 USD, and it’s literally THREE TIMES the size of our old place.
Not only that, but it’s actually only three blocks away from our old apartment, so we can still make the trek over to our favorite shops like Europroduct and our local fruit and vegetable place.
Now we have air conditioning in EVERY ROOM, a nice big kitchen with a real oven (but no microwave so we’ll probably end up buying one), and actual mirrors all over the place (the only mirror we had in our old place was a small bathroom mirror so I never knew what my outfits looked like). We even have a sliding glass door to lock the cats out of the kitchen while we’re cooking!
Finally, we don’t look out over the main street here, which is so great for street noise. No more honking for us!! We do have construction in the lot next door, but you can barely hear it, and the building they’re working on is only going to be a few stories tall.
Let’s Do a House Tour of our New Apartment!
Now let’s move on to what you were waiting for: some photos of our house!
When you first walk in, there’s a large entryway with a chandelier and three large cabinets where we can store our coats, shoes, shopping bags, and cleaning supplies. This space is literally heaven for me, and it makes me want to buy more shoes (in my defense I arrived here with a travel capsule wardrobe…).
Since there was nowhere to put keys and masks, we installed two adhesive hooks to hang them when we walk in the front door.
This hallway has also become a cat zone. We keep their toys in a small basket, and this is also where I feed them.
The Large Bathroom
Immediately to your left when you walk in the front door is our large bathroom with the shower. I’m not sure why this bathroom isn’t over near the bedrooms but… oh well.
This bathroom has a rainfall shower, a large sink with actual storage, and a washing machine. We also put one of our litter boxes in here.
We ended up buying two cute floor rugs for the bathroom which I love and got a suction-cup hook to hand a hand towel since for some reason there was NOWHERE to hang one.
Finally, our kitten also sleeps in this bathroom since he can’t be trusted at night. He slept in the bathroom at our old place because we needed our bedroom door open (for the aircon), and he’s a big fan of knocking things over when we’re not looking. He’s also broken two plates and a bowl and likes to play in our kitchen sink because… why not?
In this new place we planned on leaving the hallway and bathrooms open to him at night, but it really stressed him out being shut out of our room, and he ended up tearing a large chunk of wallpaper off our wall trying to get into the kitchen (don’t worry I glued it back on). So we decided it would be better for him to have the big bathroom at night, and he’s much happier now. All I have to do is pop him in there with a few toys around midnight and he puts himself to bed on one of the rugs.
The Living Room and Kitchen
Our living room has a giant couch which looks towards our TV where we’ve installed our Firestick so we can watch all our favorite shows. We even installed Express VPN onto the Firestick so we can watch US Netflix, HBO, and Amazon Prime!
Next, we have the kitchen table which can actually be expanded larger if we have guests. For now, this is Chris’ desk, but we’re going to get him a larger desk (like mine!) when we have a chance. There’s a store here called Domino that sells nice wooden table desks for $20 USD.
But honestly, I have no idea what to do with these kitchen chairs so I just… lined them up against the wall? When Chris gets a desk we’re going to move this table over by the tv and break it out for special occasions.
In the same room as the living room, you’ll find our giant kitchen! Not only do we have a built-in oven and stovetop, but we also have a dishwasher!! (I’ve become so spoiled I can’t go back to not having one). Our refrigerator is also twice the size of our old one, and we have SO MUCH counter space. Now Chris and I can actually (theoretically) cook together!
In the living room, you’ll also see that we have access to the long balcony that extends along the length of our apartment, which I’ll talk about later on.
The Guest Bedroom/ Office
Can I just say, having a guest bedroom makes me feel like such an adult. WHO AM I??? So fancy. Too bad we probably won’t have guests for… a very long time.
But this guestroom is also my office! I’ve never had my own private office before either, and I’m in love!
I’ve commandeered the drawers next to the desk for our microphones, cameras, and ring light, and the small drawer next to me has my makeup, nail polish, and other random stuff that’s just for me. I even stole a poof serving as a nightstand to prop my feet up while I’m working but my kitten usually steals it even if there is a small cat tower literally right next to my desk.
This room also has a door to the long balcony, and air conditioning for when it eventually gets hot again!
For some reason, this room is the coldest room in the house though, so I’ll definitely be getting a nice little rug to help keep me warm now that winter is fast approaching. I also really want to do something to decorate, since the view behind me while I work is kind of meh. I think eventually getting a nice patterned blanket for the bed, and maybe some decorative pillows will help spice it up. I’ll have to also see if they’ll let me hang a painting or something to make the walls less bland. Baby steps.
Next, you’ll see our small bathroom that’s between the office and master bedroom. I actually really like this bathroom, and this is where I brush my teeth, do my hair, and my skincare routine.
Originally we had the second litterbox on the balcony, but now that it’s getting cold we’ve put it in here. This is mainly so our big cat has somewhere to pee while our kitten sleeps in the larger bathroom at night.
My only complaint about this bathroom is that for some reason the mirror is stupidly high. Our landlords are very tall, so they might not have noticed that us short people can barely see our full faces without standing on our tiptoes.
The Master Bedroom
Okay, I LOVE this bedroom. It honestly makes me feel like a princess.
I love the blue and white blanket that came with the house. I love the flowy curtains, the patterned rug, the fancy poof seat, and all the space!!
Chris and I have plenty of room for our clothes (which means I can go shopping right…?), with a large wardrobe and a set of drawers.
Not only does our bedroom connect to the large balcony, but it also connects to a private balcony with chairs and a table, and a fantastic view. I can’t wait for the construction to be finished, because then the view will be PERFECT.
Thankfully the construction doesn’t wake us up, and it’s only a bit loud if we leave the small balcony doors open, which we don’t do often since it’s cold. They also stop construction reasonably early and don’t do any construction Sundays.
The Long Balcony
Our long balcony looks out onto a few apartment buildings and a small soccer field and has a really nice view down the side of a beautiful stone small apartment building and Chavchavadze beyond.
In addition to a foldable drying rack, we also have two wire strings where we can easily dry things like blankets and sheets. I just always get so nervous I’m going to drop a sheet down seven stories!
Unfortunately, the balcony is a bit narrow to fit chairs, although I might still try to find something. We’ve actually been using it more as a second hallway!
Future Decorating Plans
Chris and I did just shell out two months of rent for this place, so our budget is a bit tight for decorating, but there are a few things I’d love to do with the place over the course of the next few months!
Firstly, I’d love to get a microwave. While I’ve survived without one before, it is super nice to quickly heat up leftovers, or microwave a cup of cold coffee! I also need a little shelving thing to put under the tv so we don’t have a dangling charging strip and all those cords!
Next, I’d love to decorate my office a bit more. I want a cute blanket and throw pillows for the bed, a cozy rug on the floor, maybe a painting above the bed, and a corkboard or something propped against the wall on my desk. This bedroom is by far the least decorated room in the house, and if I’m going to be in here all day, I might as well make it feel homey, right?
The two of us do need to get an actual desk for Chris soon, and the plan is to move the current table over next to the tv as a little station where Chris can paint his Warhammer Miniatures (he STILL hasn’t painted any since we’ve been here), and then we’ll break it out if we have a dinner party or something. I still don’t know what to do with the kitchen chairs though…
We also really need to get a Duvet cover and pillowcases. Right now we only have the two silk pillowcases I bought for the Curly Girl Method and our other pillows and duvet are all bare. We did buy one duvet cover that came with pillowcases, but it’s way too small for our bed (but for some reason the sheets fit even though we bought the same size???). I may also just order a few extra pillowcases from Amazon or something if I can’t find any being sold by themselves in the shops here in Georgia. For some reason, only duvets come with pillowcases and sheets come by themselves.
I also really want to get a shower filter from US Amazon and install it in the shower here, because my skin and hair are both so awful due to the hard water. While apple cider vinegar rinses are helping my hair, my skin is SO DRY.
Finally, we might actually switch the mattress in our bedroom with the one in my office. Our current mattress (more like a box spring with a pad), seems to be a bit old, and the springs really cave in, to the point that Chris and I just slide towards the center while we sleep. Also, if one of us rolls over, the whole bed shakes! One of these days I’ll get around to switching them.
What Do You Think?
Overall, I’m super excited about our new Tbilisi apartment!
But I’m very curious, what do you think? Do you like the apartment? Does this make you want to move to Tbilisi? Do you think we made the right call?
Also, if you have any suggestions on how to decorate and organize the place without spending a fortune, I’d love to know!