Open-plan space persuades downsizing couple to make a move to modern living

Geoff Murgatroyd, 72, and his wife Chris, 71, had not expected to downsize from their large family home in Drayton, Portsmouth, where they brought up their three children, and which held so many happy memories. However, going for a walk during lockdown led to a complete change of heart – and a smaller but more modern and comfortable new home at Dandara’s new Novo development just a mile away.

Retired BT operations manager Geoff explains: “We were just out for a walk one day when we came across the new estate and we stopped and were having a bit of a look around when the guy came out of the sales office and said he was having a quiet moment, so if we wanted to come inside then he could show us around.

“Now Chris had always said she would never leave the family home, but as we were walking home afterwards, I said to her that I could really imagine living there, and to my surprise she said that she could too! So we made the decision, we went back the next day and put down a deposit and put our house on the market.”

Geoff and Chris, a retired paediatric nurse, had loved their big 1930s four-bedroom home, and had even converted the loft space into an extra bedroom and en suite. But now the kids had all left home they were finding it too big, as well as being expensive to run. “We had more or less shut down the top floor as we no longer needed the space, but we still had to keep heating it to stop it getting damp,” says Geoff. “It was a great home when we had a growing family, but now it was just the two of us, it was too big.”

When the couple looked around the show suite at Novo, what really impressed them straight away was the modern, open-plan layout. “When we’ve been away on holiday, we have stayed in a lot of rented properties that were open-plan and we’ve always liked the modern way of living – so when we saw the house we were sold.”

They bought the three-bedroom Heron house-type which has a U-shaped kitchen leading into a spacious lounge-diner with a door that leads out on to a patio in the garden. Upstairs, the home has a master bedroom with en suite, two further bedrooms and a family bathroom, giving plenty of room for the couple’s children and grandchildren to come to stay. It also comes with a garage and space for two cars.

The couple bought the property outright from the sale of their previous home. “We completed just within the Stamp Duty holiday period, so we had a bit of a discount and we have a bit left over in the bank to put towards new curtains, carpets and furniture, as well as to put up a conservatory and transform the garden with some decking,” says Geoff.

Living just a mile away from their old home means that Geoff and Chris have stayed within the area they know and love – but they have also found themselves making some new friends. “The neighbours are smashing; when you all move to somewhere completely new, everybody seems to be more sociable than when you move into an established area.”

When the housing chain collapsed early on in proceedings, Geoff found everyone at Dandara was very supportive. “The sales team were really helpful, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Dandara,” says Geoff.


Nicki Dennis, Head of Sales & Marketing at Dandara’s Southern division, comments: “The new homes at Novo appeal to a wide demographic; from young families to downsizers like the Murgatroyds. With Cosham railway station just a short walk away, commuters can be in central Portsmouth in 10 minutes, at Southampton Central in just half an hour or at London Waterloo or Victoria in less than two hours. With beaches, nature reserves, leisure opportunities and fantastic shopping all within easy reach, it really is a great location.”