Couple Stumble Across New Home On Lockdown Walk

Posted 24 December 2020 by Helen Christie

New dog owners Lenna and Evan wanted a home with outdoor space, and stumbled upon Bower & Barnabas during a lockdown walk...

Lockdown has caused many to reassess their living circumstances, with searches for homes with outdoor space rising significantly. This can be a tough find in London, as homes with garden access are in high demand with significant price premiums.

For new dog owners Lenna Soifer and Evan Shapiro, this was of extra importance for their home search, after lockdown revealed the challenges presented by their rental property, which had no outdoor space.

While out walking their dog, Lenna, 24, and Evan, 25, came across Bower & Barnabas, where they eventually reserved a one-bedroom apartment with a large terrace. Their apartment is one of 21 homes in a restored former Edwardian church in Woodside Park by Cullen & Davis. The apartment cost £550,000 and the couple used Help to Buy. Their home at the rear of the building includes ornate windows, original Travertine stone columns and original doors. They moved in in mid-October 2020.

The couple had been renting close by with their King Charles Cavalier spaniel, Renzo, in a two-bedroom home. Initially, the young couple didn’t expect purchasing a home to be within their reach but found it a lot more affordable than expected.

Lenna, a jewellery designer, comments: “Buying is very expensive here so we first thought we wouldn’t be able to afford it. We spoke to an agent who put us in touch with a mortgage adviser. Young people, particularly in London, think they cannot afford a home due to the prices but we have been able to make it work. We would really recommend those thinking about it to speak to a mortgage broker as there are many ways to become a homeowner and they will tell you what you can afford.”

Financially it made sense, as the couple’s rental home set them back £1,600 per month, exclusive of bills and council tax. Their new monthly mortgage cost is just under £1,000, marking a significant saving to free up their disposable income.

Not long after they reserved, the government announced a Stamp Duty holiday. Lenna comments: “At first we were not sure if the holiday applied to us because we thought we had missed out. However, when we found out we were eligible, it helped massively.

“We saved £15,000, which is a lot of money and we were able to put £4,000 into new additions in the kitchen such as an integrated microwave and breakfast bar. Without the Stamp Duty holiday we would not have been able to do that.”

The choice to purchase a new build home was an unexpected one for Lenna and Evan, who usually prefer older architecture. Evan, who works in Fintech, comments: “We are not really into new builds. They’re everywhere and very similar. However, buying at Bower & Barnabas was the middle ground for us. We have a new apartment in such a unique building, an old building that has been restored so well. It’s great to own our own restoration project, no two flats here are the same, so we feel like we have something different even than to our neighbours.”

Proximity to parks for Renzo and other amenities was also of great importance to the couple. Evan adds, “Location really is the most important thing when buying. You can change a property internally but you cannot change your surroundings. Here we are so close to the tube, a high street and lots of green space so we’re really lucky.”

The garden suburb of Woodside Park lives up to its name with plenty of woodland, grasslands, allotments and nature reserves on the doorstep. For those who like to take advantage of the great outdoors there is plenty of opportunity. Hampstead Heath and Alexandra Park are also close by as well as South Herts Golf Course, an equestrian centre, cricket ground and tennis club.

For those who like a more bustling scene, Finchley High Road is a 10-minute walk away offering shops, cafes, restaurants and independent businesses. Families looking to be close to excellent schools will not be disappointed with a selection of great primary and secondary schools nearby.

Now that they’ve moved in, Lenna and Evan plan to decorate and enjoy their own finishing touches on their new home. Lenna says, “We lived in a furnished flat before so we are having fun buying everything from scratch here. We both have a collection of art and we can now put things up on the walls, so we’re both excited about that.”

Three-bedroom apartments are priced from £875,000. 

For more information, please visit or call 0203 143 8200.


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