ORLANDO - On a recent visit, Dean Marisco and Derek Stearns, hosts of the DIY Network's Indoors Out, were charged with transforming a small screened porch at the lakefront home of Tal and Charmon Shuford into an outdoor family room.
The indoor family room, Stearns explained, had been turned into an untidy and crowded rumpus room by the couple's two rambunctious sons, Wyatt, 8, and Carson, 5. The parents wanted to reclaim the interior space for quieter adult pursuits.
Working with a team of local carpenters, stonemasons, and landscapers, the DIY duo set about upgrading the porch and extending it outward with a wide deck. They also decided to improve the second-story deck off the master bedroom by adding railings and replacing the sliding glass doors with patio doors. Finishing touches would include laying a walkway around the house, improving the landscaping, fine-tuning the irrigation system, and installing a misting system to discourage mosquitoes. Total value: about $25,000.
The original porch was cramped, and the framing for the screen hindered the lake view, Stearns said. "It did nothing to enhance the backyard."
The team first tore out the screening. Then they laid low-maintenance, composite decking over the porch's masonry floor and replaced the white vinyl ceiling with tongue-in-groove pine. Next, they built a deck frame, topping it with more of the same Trex composite decking.
"My advice is to go with composite decking, then dress it up with beautiful railings and high-quality furniture," Stearns said.
The piece de resistance, said Marisco, was the installation of an outdoor pool table from All Weather Billiards in Naples, Fla. Made from aluminum and slate, it was fitted with custom-designed fishnet pockets to reflect the family's love of fishing. Four patio chairs around a small table from Lowe's created a comfortable seating area, and an outdoor TV was hung in the former porch area.
"The kids will love the TV and pool table," said Tal Shuford. "But I'm most excited about the mosquito system. It's made it possible to get rid of the porch screens."
The system, installed by Mosquitoes & More, automatically delivers a fine mist of biodegradable insecticide through strategically placed spray nozzles in 30-second bursts four times a day. Additional spray times can be added as needed. A basic 30-nozzle system costs about $2,500 installed.
The makeover team also laid a walkway from the front of the house to the rear deck using a composite made from stone and epoxy by EcoSystems Grout.
"It's a real easy DIY project," Stearns said. "You just dump the composite between wood forms, let it dry, and you've got a good-looking, water-permeable walkway."
Finally, City Beautiful Landscaping replaced the sod and installed new foundation shrubs.