Aislinn Higgins receives her award from Tanya McGeehan of category sponsor MCG Investments

A dream come true for Aislinn as she won a social media award for her DIY home project – Armagh I

Aislinn Higgins receiving her award from Tanya McGeehan of MCG Investments

A Lurgan woman, who has been charting her handicraft efforts to restore her Victorian home, has won a major influencer award.

Aislinn Higgins said she was surprised but “over the moon” was awarded this year’s Home Influencer at the NI Social Media Awards last Saturday night.

Islin and her husband, Seamus, bought the seven-bedroom property—built in 1876 and named Lentara—nine years ago, and it’s since become a love-filled business.

The videographer, who runs her own company, Dream Media Ireland, keeps followers updated about the restoration project on Instagram and Facebook, under the name Dream DIY.

“I opened the page a long time ago, but I didn’t do anything about it,” she explained. “Then during Covid I started making some videos and getting a great reaction. A lot of people in Lorgan would know the house – he was an old man – and they were really interested in him.

“It was like documenting it for ourselves and then I started really enjoying it.

“I try to show my followers how to break up the project, because the bigger picture is sometimes intimidating, but if they take each job step by step, it will be more manageable and achievable.

“Thrift, recycling and sustainability are very close to my heart. With the cost of living crisis right now, I hope I have made it clear that it is okay to get your furniture from charity shops and do the crafts.

“My followers love seeing my daily finds and how they are designed, and now we have great conversations about the best place to get our treasures.”

For every free minute Aislin spends working in the home and garden, whether she’s painting the door, the tiling, or the wallpaper.

“It’s a lifelong project. I’m putting everything back in the bricks, doing the insulation, fixing the roof, putting in new windows, and I’m about to insulate the attic too.”

“Last night I was taking leaves from the garden and doing a kitchen show for fall.

“I do most of the work by myself, and that saves a lot of money. My husband helps me a little bit with the heavy stuff, and my dad Gerard – DIY Dad – comes over to lend me a helping hand every now and then. My mum Imelda is great to go shopping with so it’s a real family affair.”

Aislinn has loved DIY since she was little and has been spending summers helping her beloved grandfather, Patsy Hagan, who passed away two years ago.

“When I was a little girl, my darling bought me my first toolbox and a pink hammer; little did he know then, but he kindled a fire in my stomach. He would have been very proud of me having won this award,” she said.

Her next big project is to repair the garage, which currently has no roof, and convert it into a workshop and utility room.

“Fingers crossed, it will be our forever home. We hope in another two years to get the interior done basically and then we will focus on the garden, which is my greatest passion.”

“If I could combine my actual job with this, it would really be a dream come true.”

Aislinn has about 9,000 followers on Instagram and about 3,000 on Facebook, but those numbers are going up every day, and she also has a number of companies inviting her to work with them.

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