For decades Ormiston House in east Belfast lay empty, gathering dust, festering in damp and rot as its roof and floors grew close to collapse. But in an extraordinary undertaking, Ciara Denvir and her husband Pete Boyle took the house - one of the most historically significant properties in the city - into their hearts and through years of hard work, sweat and tears, transformed it into their family home.
Average house prices are stabilising, according to the latest figures released by Ulster University. But Northern Ireland will have to wait until the end of the year before the true impact of lockdown on the property market is really known.
It has been an extraordinary first year of marriage for the Earl and Countess of Erne. The man of the house, the seventh Earl of Erne - Lord Erne, John Crichton, or "John John" to his friends - wed Harriet Patterson in May last year, transforming the history of art graduate into a Countess on a sunny afternoon by the lakes in Co Fermanagh.
A home office has become top of the wish-list for many people moving house in Northern Ireland after lockdown. For many parents, months of trying to juggle space with children home schooling while they work from home has meant a dedicated work space or office is the new must-have for many house hunters.
A six-bedroom detached home designed at the end of the 19th century by one of Belfast's most renowned architects has just come on the market to give home buyers with deep pockets a chance to live in a unique piece of history.
When Rev Richard Burgess Labarte, the rector of what is now St Mark's Church on the Holywood Road in Belfast, departed for a new incumbency in England in 1871, the entire contents of his residence, St Helier's on the Belmont Road, were advertised for auction, as was customary. Most of the sale items were unspectacular, but one would hope that a suitable new home was found for his "Thirty Singing Yellow and Splashed Canaries in fine health and plumage".
It's always nice to have a clean home - and right now, home hygiene is especially important. Although it's unclear exactly how long the Covid-19 virus lingers on surfaces - and the risk of infection depends on lots of things, including the type of surfaces contaminated and the amount of virus shed - but keeping aware and on top of cleaning routines is generally a good idea.
Lockdown has done wonders for our homes as most of us get stuck into cleaning to pass the time. The May bank holiday traditionally heralds the start of our annual spring clean regime and while most of our homes are already sparkling, for Northern Ireland's stately houses it is one of the busiest times of the year.
There is a certain irony to home improvements right now. On the one hand, our interiors have never been so central to our lives, nor have we had so much time to improve them. On the other, lockdown also means the nation's purse-strings are tightening, and browsing shops and showrooms isn't an option.
As NI’s most historic properties often rely on income from hospitality, weddings and other events, Lorraine Wylie asks three owners how they’ve been affected by the pandemic.
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