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.
And while there are luxury homes with dedicated home offices already part of the specification, other more modest property owners have had to get creative to convert an existing space into a work sanctuary.
Estate agents have come across people who have turned spare bedrooms into studies. Others have abandoned the idea of a second reception room and turned that into a dedicated office instead.
With remote working and learning set to remain part of our lives for the foreseeable future, estate agents are experiencing a huge demand for homes with space to create an office.
Clare Greene, associate partner with Fetherston Clements estate agency, which has offices in Belfast and Bangor, says: "In most of our viewings since we reopened people have chosen the property because it offers space for an office.
"Some people want a space they can lock up and leave at the end of the day so that they can close the door on work and it is not spilling over into their family life.
"We have a four bedroom house where one of the bedrooms has been dressed as a study attracting a lot of interest because of that and another where one of the reception rooms has been turned into an office.
"With open plan living that can be tough these days so properties with two reception rooms are now very desirable as it offers the flexibility of a separate office space. Many people have talked about fighting over using the kitchen table during lockdown."
Clare has also had clients who have decided to move house simply to get the extra space now that lifestyles have changed so dramatically.
"It is something that is coming up all the time now with people viewing and asking 'where could we have our office'," she explains. "And people are looking more closely at floor plans to see what space they would have for working in their new home."
Beth Robinson, senior partner at Templeton Robinson, believes demand for home offices will influence the market for some time to come.
Her agency, which has branches in Belfast, North Down and Lisburn, has been dealing with a lot of buyers seeking space to work from home.
"We are finding a lot of people who will be working from home for the foreseeable future looking for extra space for an office," says Beth.
"We have some who worked in London and flew back and forward and are now planning not to go back to that after working from home through lockdown.
Many of them have realised they only need to fly to the office every now and again for meetings.
"We've been flat out since we reopened and viewers are definitely looking at homes differently. As well as space for an office, outdoor space has also become a priority because everyone has had to spend so much time at home."
Angela Dickson, who is a valuer and sales negotiator with McClelland Salter estate agency in Lisburn, believes a home office will be a priority for house-hunters for a long time to come.
"A home office was definitely something you really only found in the luxury end of the market before," she says. "But things have changed so much with the pandemic and there are firms who have realised their staff can work just as well from home who have no plans to bring them back to the office. These people need the space to work.
"This really changes how people live and we are seeing a lot of properties where people have set up work stations in bedrooms.
"People want a separate space so that they can shut their work off at the end of the day and enjoy family life."
We've trawled the market to find just some of the prime properties currently available to meet your home working needs.
1. The owners of this lovely mid terrace at 26 Ravenhill Park Gardens in Belfast have hired architects to design a stunning garden room ideal for home working.
The space also has central heating, a wood burning stove, a shower room with WC and double French windows opening onto the garden.
The high spec of the garden room is a reflection on the beauty of this property overall. Inside there is a superb modern ground floor with and open plan kitchen/living/dining room while upstairs there are three bedrooms and a large family bathroom.
This lovely home is on the market for offers over £227,750 with Templeton Robinson, 028 9042 4747. View the full listing here.
2. This superb apartment at 5 Chancellors Court on the Malone Road in Belfast has a fourth bedroom which had been turned into a dedicated office space during lockdown. Again, this has proved a big selling point since lockdown lifted.
It also has a superb balcony which has become another priority for house-hunters.
Inside there is a reception hall, large open plan living room opening onto the balcony, a modern fitted kitchen with dining and lounge space, four spacious bedrooms and three bathrooms, two of which are en suite shower rooms. Priced at offers around £295,000, it's on the market with Fetherston Clements estate agents, tel: 028 9066 1111. View the full listing here.
3. With accommodation set over three floors, 3 Berkeley Hall Court offers the flexibility and space needed for anyone who wants to set up a home office. It is a modern detached property sitting in this highly regarded development off the Saintfield Road in Lisburn. The ground floor is designed with just a utility room, WC and a bedroom or a second reception room which would make the ideal office away from the rest of the house.
Upstairs there is a living room with a dedicated study area and a spacious kitchen/diner.
The second floor comprises three well proportioned bedrooms, including master bedroom with en suite and a modern family bathroom. Priced at offers over £283,950 with Fetherston Clements, tel: 028 9066 1111. View the full listing here.
4. If you are in the market for a luxury home with lots of space to keep work and family life separate then 12 Windmill Road, Hillsborough, could well provide the answer.
This sprawling detached home comes with 12 acres of land, stables, a menage, a self-contained apartment and two barns. The stables, outbuildings and the apartment could all easily be adapted to suit home working.
The house itself extends to over 3,100sq ft with plenty of reception rooms and bedrooms offering additional family study space.
There is a reception hall, a drawing room, dining room, kitchen, family room and sun room as well as five bedrooms, an en suite, family bathroom, utility and cloakroom.
This prestigious home is on the market for offers over £785,000 with McClelland Salter estate agency, tel: 92674121. View the full listing click here.
5. If money is no object then you will find space aplenty at this luxury abode in Cultra. Killiney, at 14 Circular Road East, has a price tag of £1,297,000 and is a marvellous four bedroomed detached home built in 1923 and extended in 1988. It comes with a garden lodge with a vaulted circular ceiling which has access to a sauna and a dedicated study area.
But if more than one person is working from home then this property also offers an annex which has its own living room/kitchen, shower room and first floor bedroom. This is another space which could easily be turned into a home office without impinging on family life.
The house, which is surrounded by an acre of mature gardens also has a flexible layout with a drawing room, dining room, timber conservatory, kitchen, utility, four bedrooms, master with en suite and a shower room.
For more information contact Rodgers & Browne estate agency on 028 9042 1414. View the full listing here.
6. This modern home in Drumbo has a purpose-built office which would make anyone happy to work from home. It is a luxurious home offering 6,000 sq ft of designer living space on a generous one acre site sitting at 41 Drumbo Road.
As well as a dedicated home office complete with bespoke floor to ceiling bookcases and "secret door" leading to a family room, this impressive property comes with a glass lift to a basement theatre and games rooms.
The accommodation also includes a reception hall with sweeping staircase, drawing room, dining room, family room, kitchen/dining room, five bedrooms, all with en suite shower rooms.
This luxury home is on the market for £1,800,000 with Templeton Robinson estate agents, tel: 028 9042 4747. View the full listing here.
7. You don't have to be a millionaire, however, to enjoy the luxury of a home office as this charming Victorian townhouse demonstrates. The back garden of this lovely property at 4 Church Avenue in Holywood is home to a fully insulated garden office with power and wifi connection.
Inside, one of the four bedrooms is also currently being used as a dedicated office space. Another of its four bedrooms currently serves as a bright first floor drawing room. There is also a ground floor sitting room open to a magnificent kitchen/diner, a master bedroom with en suite and a family bathroom.
Offers around £365,000 are invited. Contact Templeton Robinson, tel: 028 9042 4747. View the full listing here.
8. Nestled in the lower Mournes, this traditional cottage offers ideal home working space with a converted barn again allowing you to separate work and family life. Slievemor, at 141 Bryansford Road, is a charming three bedroom cottage sitting on a spacious site close to Trassey Valley outside Bryansford.
It is packed full of original features such as granite windowsills and lintels, stable style doors, internal timber ledge style doors with metal latches, stone fireplaces and farmhouse rough cast plaster.
The house has underfloor heating powered by a wood pellet boiler and solar panels for heating water. The converted barn is a superb space with two floors ideal for home working and a WC and shower. The first floor space comes with beautiful country views. This unique property is on the market for offers over £310,000 with TL Graham & Son estate agents, tel: 028 4372 2407. View the full listing here.
9. 12 Finaghy Park North - a beautiful period three bed semi on the market for offers around £279,950. The current owners have turned one of two lounges into a dedicated office space and this alone has sparked huge interest from viewers.
The property, which sits in a quiet residential area, has an impressive hallway, a modern kitchen/dining room, utility room, three bedrooms and a family bathroom. It also has a floored attic room offering even further potential for people working from home. It's on the market with Fetherston Clements, tel: 028 9066 1111. View the full listing here.
10. This family home at 2 Avonmore Court in Donaghadee has a dedicated home office in the garden.
The self-contained unit has power, light and is wired for the internet and telephone, perfect to close the door on and leave behind at the end of a working day.
The house itself is a bright family home extending to over 1,800 square feet over three levels. It has four generous bedrooms (so scope for further study space), two bathrooms, a lounge and open plan kitchen/living/dining room. It is on the market at offers around £215,000 with Reeds Rains estate agency, tel: 028 9146 3721. View the full listing here.