If you read my Setting Up House post, you will know that I am very excited about moving into our villa, even though the process has been very interesting. Here is a description of the villa we moved into.
We are renting half of a villa – our landlords live downstairs and we will live on the top two floors. You must have a key to get through the gate, as most villas are gated. Our particular villa is connected to a telebotique (a small convenience store) run by the owners of the villa.
Once you are in the gate, you enter the door and go up the stairs – tile over concrete (nothing is made of wood in a house in Morocco). At the top of the stairs, you will find the main living area – a living room/dining room (salon), two bedrooms with built in armoires (there are normally no closets in Morocco), a small kitchen, hallway, toilet room (containing just the toilet) and a bathroom (with a bathtub and sink).
All of the rooms are decent sized, except the kitchen, which is kind of tiny. Inside the kitchen is a sink, small counter, fridge, and stove (with attached propane tank – there is no such thing as piped gas or electric stoves). There are no cabinets, but shelves on the wall to help with storage. This has been the hardest part of the transition for me, because I love to cook and bake and there is little room to do it in this kitchen.
There are also two balconies, one off of the main bedroom, which overlooks the street and is the length of the villa. We plan to put a small table and chairs out here in order to sit and enjoy the cool ocean breeze that fills Casablanca on a daily basis. The other balcony is also the length of the villa and is off of the kitchen – this is where my washing machine will be located, and it overlooks the kitchen balconies of other villas.
The real gem of this villa, however, is not on this main level, but upstairs on the terrace. When you go upstairs, there is a large red tiled area, open to the air. In this area, there is room for clothes lines (dryers are available, but rare in Morocco, and in Casablanca with the constant breeze and limited rain they are highly unnecessary), a large planter and a nice big area to sit and enjoy the cool breeze after the sun goes down. Additionally, we scored an extra room, sink and toilet on this terrace area.
As with pretty much all houses in Morocco – the floors of the villa are tile and the walls are cement – drywall does not exist! The kitchen walls have pretty mosaic tiles on them, but the living room and bedroom walls are simply painted. There is no air conditioning, as this is big luxury in Morocco, and if you want it, you buy a small unit that is specific to one room. There is also no heat vents. In the winter, you use small space heaters.
Another thing missing – screens. For some reason, screens are an abstract concept here. There are however, large metal shades that can be put down to block all air and light from entering the villa – I am not a big fan of these, as I LOVE sunlight, but they are there and convenient if you want to sleep in late.
All in all, I am very pleased with the Villa we will be living in, even though it needs some work – it will be home for the next two years.