Imagine you’ve rented an expensive apartment on Kreshchatyk. Even though the rent may top that of a townhouse in Washington’s prestigious Georgetown-Foggy Bottom neighborhood, most likely you’ll find the interior lacking tasteful decor, a sense of modernity, comfort and most importantly safety.
Even in the top-end luxury apartments with heated Spanish ceramic tile floors, there are bound to be problems with the plumbing and electricity. Less life-endangering but equally unpleasant problems include ugly curtains in need of emergency replacement and white leather and velvet couches in need of constant cleaning.
If a grouchy landlord continues to rip you off and you’d rather not keep a handyman on your payroll, here are some professional establishments that can be called in for the rescue.
Almost all water and sewer plumbing in the city stems from the good old days of the Soviet Union. So, despite having a gorgeous, geometrically shaped Kohler toilet, odds are it will leak at some point. Rather than wait for problems to start, call the Center of 1000 Services, a professional establishment specializing in, well, the name kind of says it all. And that includes small domestic repairs. Their website promises “We’ll be at your place within an hour!” This should give anyone hope that small problems do not have to become big ones. They can fix leaks, unclog toilets, check the out-flow of all household plumbing, or even replace a shower head.
Overloaded branch circuits (especially in winter) and incorrect wiring jobs (it’s common here) can create fire hazards, or at least blown fuses or power failures. Once again, the Center of 1000 Services can help, in this case by sending an emergency repair team to check the condition of apartment wiring, fix circuits and fuses, add additional electrical sockets or change light switches.
The company can also help with various household essentials, such as hanging picture frames, mirrors and bathroom hooks and repairing broken furniture, door knobs and locks. Prices start from Hr 120 per service call.
With the overtly sexist slogan “Husband for Rent,” the Domodel home repair company also specializes in similar services. They are very flexible and can deal with many minor service calls for just Hr 80 per visit.
Center of 1,000 Services
7 Izyumska, 251-7847, 237-7048.
26 Shota Rustaveli, #9, 531-1332.
Carpet, fabric/furniture cleaning
Domovichok cleans carpeted floors (Hr 13 to Hr 20 per m2), as well as couches and armchairs (Hr 20 to Hr 35 per m2). Call one day in advance.
3 Radistiv, 247-9063.
Style and Comfort offers a fabulous assortment of curtains for any room and of any type. They have an in-house interior designer, as well as a full crew of installers. They’re not cheap, as all fabrics are of well-known international brands, but on the upside this is a professional company with a proper pricelist.
Style and Comfort
1 Gorkoho, 287-3262.
Human life seems to have been undervalued in the former Soviet Union, and so not until recently have people started thinking about child safety products. If you need safety gates or magnetic tot locks for cabinets and drawers â€“ and if you can’t get used ones from a member of the International Women’s Club of Kyiv â€“ go to Mothercare. This British children’s store is probably the only place in town that sells these and other related items.
Globus mall, 3rd Line, top floor.
For those who can’t bring themselves to hire one of the “Husbands for Rent” and believe they can realistically tackle household problems on their own, get all the essential tools and materials at Epicenter home goods mega stores and Budmax home-repair warehouses. While Epicenter locations are quite far from the center, try Budmax, which offers a nice range of electric tools from Bosch and Skil, as well as lots of manual basic home repair tools: hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers, levels and measuring tapes as well as everything else you might need for major repairs.
143/2 Chervonoarmiyska, 537-2395.
I was certainly disappointed that the corporate execs from Epicenter K snubbed the Post when we asked if we could take photos inside one of their gargantuan home improvement stores. (They probably figured we’d give away trade secrets such as where their forklift operators can and cannot go.) But I was more than pleased to at least have a look aroundÂ (unannounced, of course).
In the same way that Metro Cash & Carry have the middle-income bracket figured out when it comes to food sales, so the Epicenter K people have realized that many, many Ukrainians want to improve their homes â€“ and have the money to do it. Epicenter K, which has three locations across the city, is nothing short of a Ukrainian version of Home Depot, with football field-sized stores in which one can find power tools, lawn chairs and portable heaters, everything for the garden, light and vanity fixtures, siding, flooring paint, cement, and even shower boxes that have lights, a seat, a stereo and jets that shoot water at you from three sides.
Ultimate shower boxes aside, Epicenter stores are neat, well-organized and have pretty decent prices on most goods. Collapsible cherry wood lawn chairs from Hr 150; propane barbecues from Hr 700; portable radiators from Hr 500; rattan mats from Vietnam from Hr 6; Makita and Bosch power drills and other tools; axes and saws for outdoors enthusiasts; paint matching and custom mixing; in-store DIY videos on everything from laying tile in the bathroom to installing a kitchen sink; wall safes in all sizes and shapes; safety clothing and other protective gear, and a store teeming with staff at every turn ready and willing to help you.
I’ll tolerate the snub. I’m writing this, aren’t I?
11 Bratyslavska, 561-2750.
1/B Kiltseva Road (next to the Metro Cash & Carry), 206-2603.
40 Hrihorenka, 594-5145.
Open daily from 7:30 a.m. till 9:30 p.m.
by Yulia Boyle, Kyiv Post Staff Writer Paul Miazga, Kyiv Post Staff Writer