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We've been living in our studio apartment for two years now and it's the first time we've ever renewed a tenancy in the ten years we've been living in Dubai; previously we've always spent a year in a property and then moved on.
Our current property is a rented studio, as Deira isn't a freehold area so expats can't buy here. We chose this particular apartment as my mom and sister live in the same building, so that means we have plenty of family support around us, and it's also near to our son's school which is really important for us.
We love living in Deira because we have pretty much everything we need around us. Within walking distance are grocery stores, supermarkets and a couple of malls, as well as smaller pharmacies, salons, bookstores and medical facilities such as clinics. We have hospitals in the area as well. There are also some of our favourite Filipino restaurants that we can walk to. Deira is very multicultural; you'll find people of all nationalities living and working here.
Rush hour traffic
Traffic can be a problem in our area and in Deira in general, especially during rush hour. But luckily we are within walking distance of the Metro stations so if we're planning to go out during busy times, we'll just use the Metro. We have access to both the green and red lines, so we can get to pretty much anywhere in Dubai. It's also very easy to just walk out of the apartment block and hop into a cab.
We're close to major malls such as Deira City Centre and Mirdif City Centre, with all the leisure and entertainment facilities. We can get to other areas in Deira, as well as areas including Al Garhoud and Bur Dubai, and if we want to go to the beach we're not too far from Mamzar beach in Sharjah.
Smart use of space
We've tried to make our living space as personalized and homely as possible. Because we have limited space, we've made sure to choose furniture that's multi-functional; our chairs and table are foldable, for example. To avoid the cluttered look, we've kept everything white and just used accents here and there. Shelves and storage boxes have been invaluable; they've enabled us to organise our space in the most practical way possible, while keeping our home stylish.
A bit of a compromise
While we do love our apartment and love living in Deira, the apartment is small and this means we can't really invite friends over to socialise. Also, there aren't any facilities in the building; no kids' areas or pool, or anything like that.
We'd like to have facilities — and it would be nice to have some more greenery around us. But right now our priority is living close to family, so we don't mind compromising on facilities and greenery to have that element in our lives.
Melany Demetillo-Reyes, who is from the Philippines, lives with her husband and son in a studio apartment in Al Muraqqabat, Deira. Properties in this area of Deira are typically medium- to high-rise apartment blocks and studio apartments similar to Melanie's are available to rent for Dh35,000-Dh40,000 per annum, according to the Rera rental index.
Source: Catherine Rankin Harper, Special to Property Weekly