Saturday, March 25, 2017

Soviet apartment.

Tonight, I have invited a few friends over to play board games. It will be the most people we have ever hosted in our tiny 35 square metre, hodgepodge  apartment. It led me to reflect on our time living here.  It has been more than two years since we moved into our rental apartment, in a district of Tallinn with a large ethnic Russian population. We were pretty desperate for our own place when signed the lease. It was a 15 minute bus ride to the city centre, was available straight away and it was cheap, very cheap. Unfortunately, the apartment was also very old and rundown and like many old apartments in Tallinn, seemed to be stuck in the soviet era. We had a carpet on the wall..Yes, that's right, on the wall.  Combined with the 3 different types of aged wallpaper, the floor carpet and the sofas, it made for an interesting look. 

But it was our own little place, our sanctuary. So much better than sharing a room at a hostel. 
After a few months, we decided the bathroom was just too disgusting to live with any longer so we (mainly my husband) did some retiling and painting. Our landlord was happy to cover the cost of the materials. After the bathroom, the kitchen soon followed...

 The next step was to get rid of that hideous carpet wall...
 In honour of this momentous occasion, we had a Russian style send off party, complete with herring, potatoes and vodka. 

 Next, we decided that we would re-wallpaper the whole apartment. 
It can't be that hard, we thought....

 ....That was before we discovered that there was some areas with up to 7 alternating layers of wallpaper and newspaper on the walls....

At the end of a long, exhausting weekend of bleeding knuckles and frustration, we decided to call it quits on the renovations, since we were not getting paid or owned the apartment. 

Our apartment is still pretty strange looking... Our wall-papering job was less than perfect and our apartment is still filled with a mix match of old furniture our landlord seems to think is ok to store here. 

But it's a little place to call our own, our home.
And even with all it's quirks and faults, we love it.


  1. Such a great description of your home and I loved the pictures to help me visualize what you see everyday.

  2. Old apartments are always so unique...glad you guys have fixed it up and made it your own. Is rent expensive in Estonia?

  3. This wall
    is many-layered,
    years of living
    manifest beyond sight,
    and with each one removed,
    we feel like deep-forest loggers,
    reading the years in circles
    at the heart of the tree.

    --Kevin, lifting a line to build a poem as a comment to your post :)

    1. Thank you, I enjoyed your poem. We felt a bit like historians, uncovering Russian newspapers from the 80's.

  4. I love the part about the wall papering layers. If only the walls could talk.