Create a coliving. The beginning

How we decide to create a coliving

How to create a coliving ? We are both from Burgas. We lived and studied for more than 7 years in Sofia. But at one point we realized that we can’t live without the sea. We turn back to Burgas and start our carrier there. Katya is a successful urban planner with a lot of projects for the Municipality of Burgas and for the private sector. I was a commercial director in Wine company and then started work in craft beer business. I am co-founder of Beer Bastards (craft brewery) and Papa Beer (Craft beer bar).

When we decide to begin this journey we were enough busy with our work. Bur something was pushing us to create something different.

Everything started in 2019 when we have read an article about the amazing life of the “digital nomads”. At this point there weren’t any colivings in Bulgaria, only coworkings and we were thinking that this can be interesting opportunity to create a coliving. The person who convince us to make the first step was Katya from Chateau Coliving. At that that time she was staying in coliving in Tenerife. So we decide to make it.

How we found the perfect place for our coliving?

Since 2002 we have been owners of a great property located in “Mineral springs of Burgas”. The Burgas Mineral Springs are one of the most ancient Bulgarian balneotherapy resorts, dating for more than 2500 years . Visited by patients from all over the Roman and later Ottoman empire, convinced in the healing power of the hot 41.5°C water. Our property was created during communism in 1954 near the old bath. During the 90’s the property was closed and have started to destroy. For long time we have wondered what can we do with it. It couldn’t be just a guest house or ordinary hotel. NO, this place which has used to gather people for thousand of years , to healing them, to pull together them and to make a community must be something different, something significant, something worthy of it.

The location of the place was unique. Close to the city and in the same time quit and green place. With a lot of things close to it

So in the beginning of 2020 we started to make this dream come true. But the situation was much worse than we expected.

Our coliving at the beginning of renovation

Renovation of old building

We have heard that is better to build a new house than to renovate old one. For several months we changed everything which we could. We changed the entire roof, windows, isolation, electric system, pipes, and etc. We did more of this during the first Covid-19 lockdown which was crazy. Everything was very difficult to arrange and we have experienced huge problems with the supplies of materials. The costs were doubled than expectations. To create a coliving was more difficult than expected.

Luckily we succeed to finish the first stage of the project and in the middle of 2021. Yes, one year for the renovation of the exterior is long time. But half of this year we spent on our coaches waiting for the end of the world.

Coliving interior design and furniture

We have good background with interior design and decoration. I even have worked for a while as interior designer in my student years. It was easy to decide how we want our coliving to look like. We didn’t wanted to buy everything from Ikea and finished for 1 month. We chosen different approach which was more difficult but fun. We found local iron wielder and decide to give the whole project to him. At the beginning everything was a huge comedy. We were giving him the technical drawing without realizing that they are too complicated. But after long conversations and some small mistakes we had a sample of the metal frame of each piece of furniture.

With some creativity and imagination we used the old wood which we found in the backyard and bought new one for the shelves. The combination was good and we were happy with the result. The only problem was that this were only the prototypes…. And we needed furniture for more than 13 rooms, common spaces, dining area and etc. It doesn’t sound like big job, but when this is made by one man it takes time.

Meanwhile we were working on the walls, floors and bathrooms and the lightning. It was a slow and hard process. During the day we have been working in our normal jobs in the city. Then we were going to the coliving and worked till late.

Painting the walls of the coliving rooms

When you have a deadline

We were sure that we will finish the project but we hadn’t idea when. Then we received a call from our friend Katya from Chateau Coliving. We were in good connection during the whole process and she was our mentor for us. But in this call she had a crazy idea to make preopening in April with a testing group of her digital nomads friends. And were stupid and said yes.

This was in December 2021 and we really can’t remember what happen in this 4 months. It was like a rollercoaster. From January to April we have a worked without a single day off, from early morning till late night.

What you should know before decide to create a coliving

If you want some day to open a Coliving you need to resolve two big problem:

-MONEY-maybe it is a well known cliche, but is always try. Take your well made budget and add 30% extra cost. In our case it was more than 50%. The two mad years of Covid-19 raised construction and material cost dramatically. And this was something which you can’t predict.

-TIME- when you want to make everything by yourself you need to have a lot of time. If you buy a table from IKEA you will need 15 minutes to assemble it. But if you want to restore an old table you will need several hours to make it properly. And you need to multiply this with every object. But it’s pays off. Everybody will notice the different and will feel better with this unique things.

Our custom table

The most difficult part

To create a coliving is hard. To create a home is hardest. And for this you need details, decoration, paintings and all this small things. And if you want to decorate every room you will need a lot of things.

So Katya decide to do a campaign and ask people in the social networks for help. The result was unexpected. For short time we received huge support. They gave us their beautiful paintings (most of them professional), puzzles, photos and plenty of decoration. We were amazed and grateful. We couldn’t believed. We still can’t.

This huge support was the thing which helped us to believe in our project.

We finished everything successfully several hours before the arrival of the first digital nomads.