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Charlie Allen Renovations, Inc. | 91 River Street, Cambridge, MA 02139
617.661.7411 | info@charlie-allen.com | www.charlie-allen.com



Project Spotlight | South Boston HomeThe front door of this South Boston home opened directly into the living room, letting cold air into the house in the winter and producing puddles whenever homeowners and visitors came in from rain or snow. The kitchen, meanwhile, was a cluttered and challenging workspace. The homeowners needed smart fixes that would produce big results.

We began by creating a foyer.  Re-orienting and expanding the coat closet, which had been part of the living room, allowed us to carve out a separate entry hall, maintaining the privacy of the living spaces when opening the door to strangers and giving homeowners and visitors a chance to remove outerwear before entering the home.  Slate tile better accommodates the wear-and-tear of foot traffic while a new Therma Tru fiberglass front door sets a stylish tone.

In the living room, a Valor gas fireplace insert, placed within clean white cabinetry for electronics, games, and mementos, creates a cozier feeling.  The cabinets provide a visual link to the bright and clean kitchen, where the same wood and paint color is used for new tall pantry units, wall and under-counter cabinetry, and an island.  Topped with a granite countertop, the island provides extra storage space, along with room for food preparation and support for dinner presentation.  The entry, living room, and kitchen walls were all repainted in subtle sand tones.

Finally, the partial wall that had divided the kitchen from the rest of the home’s gathering spaces was removed, allowing light from the kitchen’s expansive windows and glass doors to shine throughout.


Do you have a project you've been hoping to get done?
Give us a call at 617/661-7411 or email us at info@charlie-allen.com — we've got space for one or two projects of any size to start in the next few weeks and would be happy to help.



Events CalendarTHE INNER BELT: Thursday, April 19 from 6 - 8 p.m. and Wednesday, April 25 from 6 – 8 p.m.
First session at the Cambridge Public Library, 449 Broadway, and the second at The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 113 Brattle Street, Cambridge.
Hosted by the Cambridge Historical Society, this series of seminars looks at “what may have been the largest political fight in Cambridge in the 20th century” — the successful campaign against the Inner Belt, a proposed eight-lane highway that would have linked the Mass Pike with Route 93 by leveling parts of Area 4, Cambridgeport, and Central Square. On April 19: a look at the community organizers who stopped the project, and on April 25: a reflection on the legacy of that protest. To register, email innerbelt@cambridgehistory.org.

CULINARY JOURNEYS: Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 3 – 5 p.m.
Central Square, Cambridge.
Join a walking tour of our many multi-ethnic eateries in Central Square. Another offering of the Cambridge Historical Society, the tour will expose your palate to the diverse and delicious tastes of our community. For more information, visit the Historical Society online: www.cambridgehistory.org.

BOSTON CIVIL WAR PRIVATE TOUR: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, from 1 – 3 p.m.
Boston Common Visitor’s Information Center.
More than 150 years ago, abolitionists in Boston led the way in ending slavery in the United States. From the Unitarian Minister who led a prison break to free captured slaves to the book that changed public opinion, to the local connections of figures like John Wilkes Booth, John Brown, and Jefferson Davis, this walk along the Freedom Trail will bring history to life. Visit http://hiphost.com/experiences/179?src=zvents for more details.



Charlie spoke with Design New England about the differences in remodeling since the beginning of the new century, just twelve short years ago.

This Old HouseThis Old House profiled our renovation of the front room, entry, and staircase in an Avon Hill, Cambridge home.

Money magazine surveyed how to estimate your next remodeling project and Charlie weighed in.

Charlie spoke with the hosts of Sirius/XM’s Martha Stewart Channel Morning Living show about renovation solutions, and took calls from homeowners throughout the U.S.

Did you know that Charlie is the new president of the Cambridge Historical Society?  The Cambridge Chronicle shared the news in its February 9 issue.



For this issue of The Homeowner’s Guide, Charlie answers questions about the company and its origins.

Charlie Allen1. You came to Cambridge to study social work at Harvard. How did you wind up founding your own renovation firm? After graduating, I began doing social justice work, but I was also making home repairs. I realized that I really enjoyed home remodeling. I’d grown up working with my hands, and even had a house painting business during the summers in high school, so it fit. It didn’t take long before I was totally smitten with New England architecture and working with old houses.

2. What are the pros and cons to running your own business? In this economy, we’re all pinched. I’m not the only one who knows that maintaining steady work that puts food on the table can sometimes feel like a ‘con’ of running your own business. But being in a position to ensure that our team delivers on the promise of economical, high quality renovations, and supporting the talented people that achieve that, is certainly a ‘pro,’ and in fact, it’s what gets me up every day. Older homes always need work and I enjoy assuring our customers that with Charlie Allen Renovations, their needs will be well accomplished, whatever their budget.

3. What changes have you seen in the kinds of renovations people are looking for since you first started? People have always been looking to update kitchens and baths, find needed storage and living space, and generally maintain their home. But today, there’s a great deal more concern that these projects have legs. One concept that we address now is “aging in place,” to ensure that the changes you’re making today will satisfy your needs in the future. Also, we always guide our clients against making “trendy” design selections and caution them on making changes that could challenge their ability to sell their house down the road, if that’s a consideration.

4. What is your take on the current marketplace? Understandably, our customers are being very thoughtful and careful with their resources, taking longer to think about, research, and decide what to do. Often they are breaking down projects into smaller pieces, prioritizing general maintenance and waiting on the “nice to haves.” Fortunately we have a great deal of experience working with homeowners to sequence projects in a way that is affordable and minimizes disruption.

5. What do you enjoy most about the remodeling process? I most enjoy collaborating with a homeowner to find smart, economical solutions for their home. Remodeling is a real pleasure when I can act as a homeowner’s trusted advisor, sort of like their house doctor.

6. Is there anything about Charlie Allen Renovations that you wish more people knew? I wish more people knew that day in and day out we will do whatever the house and homeowner need done with the budget at hand. We have been doing this for many years now, through recessions and boom times. We know how to give you what your house needs with real consideration for your finances.


Charlie Allen Renovations is on Facebook!
We hope to see you there



Federal Style HouseHomes built in the Federal style — most popular between 1785 and 1815 — are among the oldest still standing here in the Boston area.

The Federal style emphasizes strict symmetry, in both the layout of interior spaces (usually with four rooms and a central hallway on each floor) and exterior design features that include smooth facades, ornamental pilasters, and restrained decorative detailing.

Federal architecture draws many of its signature architectural elements from classic Greek and Roman traditions, thanks to both the outpouring of affection for those cultures from America’s founders and citizens in the earliest years of the young democracy, and a renewed interest in ancient architecture following the discovery of the long-buried Roman city of Pompeii in 1749 and the recovery of many of its structures over succeeding decades.

The Federal style also informed many of the most prominent public buildings of the era, including the Massachusetts State House, designed by Charles Bulfinch and built in 1798.


Charlie Allen Renovations | 91 River Street, Cambridge, MA 02139