Having done a little research, Andie Weathers knew the handsome brick home up for sale at 2142 Wappoo Road dated back to the early 1950s.

She also was aware the property owners - who run a wedding photography business - had bought the house a few years earlier because of their interest in its history and an eagerness for the property to maintain its roots.

That still didn't prepare her for what she saw.

"When I walked in, I was so stunned," says Weathers, Realtor with Carolina One Real Estate and the listing agent.

The owners sought a retro theme in a muted but dramatic way. They didn't cut corners on modern features such as a new heating and air conditioning system. But when removing the old floor registers where air comes out, they painstakingly matched new oak wood with the 64-year-old original hardwood. Outside, they planted topical azaleas, camellias and iris bulbs. Most dramatically, however, the couple made over the kitchen in period style. They bought a Big Chill brand refrigerator, specifically designed with a throwback rounded look. They also installed a gas stove, this time an original 1952 Chambers model that had been stored in a climate-controlled facility.

The couple just completed the three-year project and are listing the 2,518-square-foot home at $525,000.

"Having a home that's already renovated and updated appeals to buyers who look for 'move-in-ready' homes," Weathers says.

The James Island home is an extreme case, but every day in the Charleston area at least a few property holders are adding a room, redoing the deck, sculpting new plants and lawn and otherwise renovating their residence for overall enjoyment reasons, to accommodate a growing family or to prepare for a sale.

Even if the upgrade has nothing specifically to do with selling, the work can provide value to the home. The added worth can play an important role if the property does go on the market.

Further, buyers can wind up with dwellings filled with modern features but not as pricey as brand new homes.

A case in point involves New Leaf Builders, a local home builder that recently remodeled and restored a 1970s home in the established, "coveted" Clearview neighborhood on James Island, according to information provided by the company's marketing rep Alyssa Maute of Vestige Communications.

"New Leaf was closing out sales and construction of new homes in the popular James Island neighborhood, Eaglewood Retreat, when we came across the house on Ayers Drive," says Jennifer Zinkon, office manager at New Leaf Builders.

"We saw this vacant Ayers Drive home as a wonderful opportunity to restore the home to its former glory and complete a project that would benefit the Clearview community and James Island as a whole," says Zinkon, whose husband is a company partner.

Situated off Harbor View near Fort Johnson roads, Clearview stands as a popular James Island neighborhood of older homes with large yards and eye-catching oak trees.

In the past decade, many people have shown interest in older home remodels, Maute says. She suggests the trend results from buyers' desire "to have a well-built home, on a large lot, with well-crafted and detailed finishings, without the new home price tag."

Also, new homeowners can reside in neighborhoods that have withstood the test of time.

Scores of renovations similar to the Ayers Drive work have taken place in Clearview in the past few years, says Randall Sandin, agent with Carolina One Real Estate and head of sales for New Leaf Builders.

The neighborhood benefits from a prime location and well-regarded school zone for younger families. "In the past year I have sold about five homes in this neighborhood," says Sandin, "and the average person has lived there for 20 plus years."

Adam Baslow, partner at New Leaf Builders, says it's important when remodeling older homes "to create a design that melds easily into the existing neighborhood and landscape. This is what we tried to accomplish at Ayers Drive."

New Leaf Builders redesigned the 2,637-square-foot, all-brick home "from top to bottom," Maute says. Work included a demolition; master bedroom addition; new 30-year architectural shingled roof; new heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit; subfloor; insulation; electrical fixtures; and landscaping.

Interior highlights consist of a two-car garage, large family room with gas fireplace, a kitchen with eat-in breakfast nook and pantry, formal dining room, master bedroom suite, study-home office and three guest bedrooms.

"Our homes stand the test of time, transcend fads, and hold their own as investments," Baslow says. "At Ayers Drive, we have taken a broken house and put a lot of money, sweat and love into her to transform this house into a home for a young, growing family."

Grant Zinkon and Baslow launched New Leaf Builders in 2011. To learn more, visit www.newleafsc.com.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.