x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Furnishing a dream home

After marriage comes the fun of furnishing a dream home.

It feels like I'm getting married all over again, except without the nightmare-inducing stress of an impending wedding for 150 guests.

Mr T and I have finally found the apartment of our dreams, complete with both sea and city views, floor-to-ceiling windows to facilitate the enjoyment of said views, a state-of-the-art fitness centre and rooftop pool, and the pièce de résistance: a kitchen with room to spare, with a designated spot for an honest-to-goodness dishwasher.

Instead of ordering invitations, dreading the dress fitting and arguing with the clueless DJ, we are instead shopping for dining-room furniture, measuring for curtains and discussing which, out of the three bedrooms and massive living room, would be our preferred location to eat ice cream.

I wish I could contact all our wedding guests and inform them that we are now ready to register for gifts. Wedding china, in particular, would be welcome.

Our first flat, furnished and minuscule, did us well for that first year, but its limited room for movement had since become old. Still, a year ago, I could not have dealt with renting and furnishing an apartment as roomy as the one I currently have on my hands.

Between wedding expenses and honeymoon costs, and the endless search for a decent place to live, Mr T and I had enough on our plates. Perhaps I didn't acknowledge it then, but the "perfect timing" of the situation has hit me full-on. There is no way we could have survived furnishing a home a year ago, and no way we would have enjoyed it.

I used to feel sorry for myself, comparing my plight to that of newlywed friends around the world. Other couples were hiring contractors to build walk-in wardrobes, laying down hardwood floors and considering paint samples. "Don't be materialistic," I would chide myself. "Who cares about that stuff as long as you're happy with Mr T."

But it was about wanting to feel settled, wanting to create a home that would reflect both our personalities and wanting to discover the interior decorator inside me. It was really about wanting to feel married and grown-up, instead of feeling like we were making do in college dorm-like accommodation.

Having been fortunate to live in beautiful homes all my life, I am amused at how decadent and luxurious I am finding this new home, perhaps because I have experienced the horror of apartment hunting in Abu Dhabi first-hand. I have built it up into a dream palace in my mind, afraid to tell anyone about it that I might jinx it, and bursting at the seams to show it off to the world.

Of course, it doesn't hurt that we will no longer be fighting over who gets to use the bathroom first. We've only been there a day, and already Mr T has tried out all of the three-and-a-half bathrooms in the place. He calls it "research", so he can choose his favourite.

This is going to be fun.