Old Northern Ireland schoolhouse goes on sale after restoration
An old schoolhouse dating back to 1862 which was transformed into a luxurious home has come on the market.
The property, situated on the Dunkirk Road near Waringstown, Co Down, was used as a school until the 1970s, and then as a youth club and hall.
But it slowly declined into a state of disrepair, and was targeted by thieves and vandals.
Its current owners, Vincent and Amanda O'Brien, came upon the near-derelict building by chance - but immediately recognised its potential.
They transformed the property, which was once at the heart of the local community.
- View full listing on www.propertynews.com
Mr O'Brien said that when he and his wife saw the Old Schoolhouse, it was love at first sight.
He said: "My wife always wanted an old stone house and we had been looking out for something suitable, but we discovered the Old Schoolhouse by accident.
"She took a wrong turning one day and there was the house, but it was a sorry looking sight.
"The plaque on the outside of the house says 1862, so we think that is when it first opened as a schoolhouse, and it belonged, as far as we know, to the Presbyterian Church at that time.
"It continued to be a school until the late 1970s but it was used as a youth club for another 10 years.
"I'm not sure what happened between then and us buying it, but we loved it the minute we saw it and saw its potential right from the start."
Mr O'Brien said the building needed serious repair work.
He added: "We went to see it that night and went in through a broken window.
"The slates had been taken from the roof, the windows were broken, copper taken, the grass was up past the windows - it was such a mess.
"The house is very deceptive - from the outside it looks small but inside it is like a Tardis.
"We bought it in January 2013 and over six months we turned it around completely.
"The whole roof needed to be reinsulated, it has been replumbed, rewired, windows restored and the garden completely redone.
"We're delighted with the way it turned out, it is a one-off property and I hope whoever buys it loves it as much as we do."
The house is being sold by Ulster Property Sales on the Andersonstown Road in Belfast, with offers invited of around £324,950.
Agent Gareth Hughes said its location will give the new owner the best of both worlds.
He said: "The Old Schoolhouse is just 20 minutes from Belfast city so it is in an ideal location for those seeking superior living accommodation in a beautiful countryside setting but close to the main towns, cities and arterial routes."
Mr Hughes said the property has been sympathetically restored, combining period features of the original building which can only be fully appreciated by seeing inside.
There are five double bedrooms and one reception room, or four double bedrooms and two reception rooms.
He added: "Among the many magnificent features of this house are a large reception hall/entertaining space and the luxurious fitted kitchen with range of appliances and feature island and further dining area."
To view this house, contact the agent on 028 90605200.