Porch / Sunroom Addition

Working one room at a time, it took Scott Kaysen, forty-eight, and his wife, Julie Chavez, forty-four, four years to fix up their 100-year-old bungalow in Elizabeth. By 2009, the interior was in great shape, but some- thing was still missing. A previous owner had tacked on a den that made accessing the backyard a chore and left the exterior feeling unfinished. "The house didn't really have a connection to the backyard, so we didn't use it much," says Julie. "The mosquitoes can get kind of nasty from late spring into fall," says Scott, "so we wanted a bug-free outdoor area."

Luckily for the pair of finance professionals, the architect who helped with the interior renovation, architect Peter Tart, also happened to live across the street. With his help and the design talents of Laura Casey of Laura Casey Interiors, LLC, the couple added a 144-square-foot screened-in porch that makes the backyard more accessible and cleans up the rear façade. "The house is very traditional, but we have a more modern aesthetic and he did a great job of melding the two," says Julie.

Since the project was completed last year, the couple and their two-year-old son enjoy easier access to the yard and more usable space for entertaining. "The den sits right off the kitchen," says Julie, "so if you're in there cooking, you still feel like you're part of the party on the porch."

Average job cost $68,428
Resale value $36,304
Cost recouped 53.1%

What the realtor says

"Outdoor living is a safe return on your investment, especially in a climate like the Carolinas; however, screening the deck/patio is a must to [keep out] the bugs. A screened deck/patio can add instant value to any home, especially if outdoor lighting and even a ceiling fan is added. Wall mount a TV and you've added an additional living area to your home for much less than a costly living room addition."
—Bryant Stadler, Realtor, Helen Adams Realty

Where They Added Value

  1. Increased usable space. The twelve-by-twelve-foot porch can be used from spring through fall.
  2. Curb appeal. The back of the house now offers a cleaner exterior aesthetic.
  3. Accessibility to the outdoor living space. The house is better integrated to the backyard.
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