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Homeowner Testimonial – Manor & Braganza, Kennington

Nuo, Julien and Jack decided it was time to put down roots, the draw of Southwark’s regeneration and public realm improvements proved too appealing to pass them by. They tell us the story of buying their first Durkan home…

Nuo and Julien were living in a one-bed new build flat in Islington, before they found a three-bedroom townhouse to call their own at Durkan Homes’ Manor & Braganza development, near Elephant and Castle. “We’d lived in our flat near to the Emirates stadium for almost 15 years,” explains Nuo, an investment banker working in central London. “It had been our dream for many years to move south of the river because we have lots of friends there, and socialising is really important to us. We wanted to be closer to the LGBTQ+ community too.”

The couple has bought a three-bedroom townhouse from Durkan Homes on the charming Manor & Braganza development, just a stone’s throw from Kennington tube station and with London’s most diverse and vibrant new cultural quarters right on their doorstep. Nearby is the former Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, where giraffes, tigers, bears and white rhinos walked side-by-side, in what is now Palsey Park.


Surrounded by green space, and with a network of walkways weaving through the new mixed-use neighbourhood, it felt like the ideal place to make a fresh start as Julien explains, “We’d been living in the same place since 2010 and the Covid lockdown helped us to realise that it was time to make a change. We needed more indoor space and better outdoor spaces for our dog to enjoy. Here, Kennington Park is less than a ten-minute walk away and Palsey Park is right on our doorstep – we love that it used to be a zoo! While we love to travel, party and have active social lives, we’re also keen to find somewhere where we can settle, and our new home helps us to do exactly that.”

“Our three spacious bedrooms, with terraces to both the front and back –give us the space that we always dreamed of. We love having outdoor space on every level. We’ve got a great garden space for hosting and relaxing too.”

They explain how they fell in love with the area instantly and never looked back, “We love how the facades and design fits with the neighbourhood; the look is modern but doesn’t clash with the existing street scene. The site was not in use before, so it’s great that Durkan Homes have brought it back to life. It’s in an ideal location and for Nuo, is close to the Northern Line of the tube, which makes the commute to work quicker despite it being further away than our previous flat.”

For Nuo, buying a new build was particularly important to him, “When moving we were just looking at new builds, as Chinese culture believes that properties are less valuable if someone has lived there before. That made our search for the perfect new build really important to us and we found that Durkan’s homes ticked all of our boxes.”

“Since moving in, we’ve been able to add our own personality to the high spec throughout our home. We’ve added our own smart technology, through light and sound systems, pops of colour to the interior and a hot tub in the garden too. Our friends even say that our home is a bit like a club!”

“The thing we love the most about our new home is the addition of our ‘#hausofbraganza’ neon sign. We both loved the name of the street and it felt right to live in a home that had such a quirky name – so we had to match that with a vibrant and quirky neon sign for our living space! ‘House of Braganza’ didn’t quite have the right ring to it, but Julien suggested that the German spelling is cooler – so ‘#hausofbraganza’ was born. Our friends now even just call our home the Hause of Braganza!”

Our moving day was a positive experience for the couple, as Nuo explains, “The whole Durkan team was fantastic, super friendly, helpful and really responsive. Any initial snagging issues were addressed really quickly. Stacey from Durkan Homes Customer Care team made us feel right at home, we loved our welcome basket; our experience was positive, personal, and warm.”

As Jack, Julien and Nuo continue to settle into their new home, they are looking forward to exploring more of the local area, particularly socialising with the LGBTQ+ community and welcoming friends over. Nuo explains, “We’re so proud of our new home. Everyone here is so friendly and we’ve already had all our friends and family over. We even had a house warming party to show off our home– everyone loves it! Durkan’s homes blend history with the modern day and respect the local heritage, which we thought was very powerful. You really do get the best of both worlds, living here, and we’re so excited for what’s ahead.”

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