14 March 2014

TAKE ME HOME: WHERE DO WE SIGN?

I never thought that I would find my dream house in Papua New Guinea, but oh my goodness, I found my dream apartment in Papua New Guinea. I give Paul all the credit for looking into places that I would have passed every time. I had absolutely no idea what awaited us inside.

We absolutely have our first pick in mind and, luckily, we also have a few backup options in which we would be quite content, just in case we do not actually get to live in what we deem is the best place ever.

Before we get to our dream locations, let’s talk about our wants and needs. First, we need at least one bedroom – a full bedroom with walls and a door. We need a kitchen with an oven and enough cupboards to handle my version of Williams Sonoma that will be arriving via sea shipment. Ceiling fans were also a requirement – they are actually a stipulation of Paul’s pilot agreement (we are currently sans ceiling fans and we no likey). And having a washer and dryer in our unit is a requirement on our end – I don’t want to share appliances here.

With the requirements set, we discussed the things we want but absolutely under no terms actually need in our new place. First, we want a view. We don’t really care what the view is, we would just like to look out to something, preferably something pretty. So whether mountainside, seaside or (fingers crossed that it’s not) airport side, we would like to take in some sort of view...preferably on a porch or balcony.

Two bedrooms would be nice for the space and Paul prefers townhouses for the appearance of more space. I don’t know where developers and contractors got the idea that people in a one-bedroom unit only require 10 square feet of space for the kitchen, living room and dining areas combined. Those people need to go back to school and learn about real people requirements. Looking for a two-bedroom apartment was actually much easier than viewing one-bedroom apartments; one-bedroom apartments have been hard to come by. Most of the places we saw were two- or three-bedroom units.

As far as bathrooms go, I am a "the more the merrier" person and having a tub would be fab but not necessary. I have survived three years without one. Just so you know, my ideal ratio is one bathroom per bedroom plus at least a half bath on every level. I don’t care how many bathrooms I need to clean; I would gladly clean five bathrooms in a three- or four-bedroom house. And, for the record, they would be the cleanest bathrooms in the entire city because that’s how I roll. I would win awards.

While I do not require much more than a refrigerator, stove and oven in the way of kitchen appliances, Paul is pretty adamant about having a dishwasher. Again, it’s not a deal breaker. Speaking of doing the dishes, Paul would prefer to have a housekeeper on site but many places did not offer the service. Security is obviously a factor and we definitely wanted on-site security but we were not picky on all of the security features offered. Our top location did have the most security elements but those elements were not yet functional when we toured the property.

So there you have it: our mini list.

First up is a property in which I would be quite content; Paul, on the other hand, wasn’t so much a fan, mostly because he had already fallen in love. The property was located near Ella Beach with a view of the sea. Set higher on the hill, there was a row of condos and two roads between the townhouse and the sea but the sea was there. 

The view from the balcony off the main floor

The complex is called either Queensview or Queensway; it’s managed by Strickland Real Estate. For the record, if anyone is looking into an apartment, I recommend just calling Strickland – they have a ton of properties, listing agents and they manage a lot of buildings across the city so they are practically a one-stop shop.

The Queenswhatever was a townhouse with a carport adjacent to the unit. 

The exterior isn't exactly pretty but the interior was quite surprising

Inside was a massive kitchen and living space on the main floor and three bedrooms on the top floor, along with two bathrooms. I was impressed with the size offered and the great kitchen features. 



Hello, amazing refrigerator!!

There were three bedrooms; two had a single twin bed and this is the master



The screen between the master bedroom and the master bathroom was quite odd but I did like the tub. And can we talk about the closet?!

The only downside was the fact that the wash room was enclosed in a tiny room outdoors. Having to go outside to do laundry in the rainy season would not be ideal.

Can you spy the laundry room?


It's teeny tiny

The Ela Vista, located high on a hill behind the Ela Beach Hotel, is a great new condo development that is surprisingly very quiet for its location. The rooms are spacious and quite cheap for their level of quality. There was a multi-level parking area so the lack of elevators (yeah, no elevators) was made O.K. knowing that we should be able to park on the same level as our unit.

The Ela Vista is seen through these pillars

Inside we were met with the nicest place we had seen to date. The d├ęcor was definitely more modern but I decided I could live with it. The two-bedroom unit again looked over the sea from high upon the hill. The two bedrooms were equipped with massive wardrobes and the bathrooms were pretty classy.


If I am in the photos, you know who is taking the photos



We do not have any photos of the Peninsula residences because they were under construction when we met the developer. I was astonished when we were driven to the site and asked to follow the developer around the inside of the scaffolding and cement blocks that were getting covered in drywall. I did not think that my flip flops were up to code and I was actually surprised that I was not given a hard hat but what the heck. I went with it.

We toured the space, climbed raw stairwells, were pointed toward elevator shafts and led into a two-bedroom and a three-bedroom unit. Though they were surprisingly similar, we actually preferred the two-bedroom unit due to the site and layout of the master bedroom. We were impressed with the features, the on-site power and water, the backup generators and the security features. The one thing that the three-bedroom unit had over the two-bedroom’s head was a giant wraparound deck that the two-bedroom lacked since the smaller apartment was located in the middle of the building and the larger units were placed on the ends.

What we did not like about the Peninsula was the amount of construction going on in the area for the next several years. The condos were said to be opening the end of April but then two more developments are planned for the next year at least. Plus the new U.S. Embassy is under construction behind the ever-developing property and that is not supposed to be completed until 2016. Who will be able to nap with all of that construction going on?

Our top contender is going to remain a secret for the time being because there were only two available units when we toured the property and I feel like being selfish. I can tell you that we found a townhouse with almost everything on both or needs and wants lists: lots of space, as close to a gourmet kitchen as possible, great furniture, brand new, massive fridge, spacious bedrooms, great wardrobe in the spare room, balconies with views and great shared amenities on the property.


I am leery about posting photos at this time because I do not want to give anything away. I know I am being totally selfish but, hello, there were only two units available! I think I have the right to be selfish here.

I hope you enjoyed the home tours. I can’t wait to move into a place and really make it our own. Living in a place that I know is not mine definitely takes a toll on my creativity, my moods and my own sense of style. Plus, I miss having people over. We need a place that can hold more than 1.5 people. 

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