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HOMEOWNER'S GUIDE | Shared Living Space, Workers Cottage, & More

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



Separate Living SpaceA recent project in Cambridge demonstrates the improvements that can result from thoughtful planning on a modest budget.

The owners of a townhouse in Cambridgeport had been using the first floor of their home as office space. They asked us to remodel it as living space for their college-aged daughter.

The space had been rather dark and dated from a previous renovation in the 1980s. To introduce a more appealing residential feeling, our first step was to bring more light into the home. We replaced a solid wall between the kitchen and dining area with a half wall, allowing natural light to flow better throughout. Trim and closet doors, which had been stained in dark colors, were repainted white. New inset ceiling lights – replacing existing fluorescent lighting – contributes to the now bright and homey feeling.

New white oak wood flooring and fresh paint throughout the space brings added appeal.

In the kitchen, apartment-sized appliances provide necessary function without taking up valuable storage and room for food prep. The new half-wall between the dining and kitchen areas also allows for the introduction of additional counter space. The bathroom was refreshed with a through cleaning of tile and grout, new flooring, toilet and pedestal sink.

The result: A fully private and welcoming living space within the family home.



Cambridge Historical SocietyThe Cambridge Historical Society, located at 159 Brattle Street and dedicated to preserving and promoting the history and heritage of Cambridge, is one of our favorite local community resources. In fact, Charlie recently served as President of the organization.

The CHS has placed its digital archives online. These photos, dating back to the mid-1800s, provide a fascinating look back at Cambridge and its people. This photo (left) provides a view of Harvard Square, circa 1908.



Events CalendarJAZZ BRUNCH BENEFIT AT THE CAMBRIDGE COMMUNITY CENTER: Sunday, June 9, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.,
5 Callendar Street, Cambridge
Enjoy live music, a delicious brunch catered by Ethan Leake, a silent auction, and more. Proceeds will go toward the renovation and maintenance of the Cambridge Community Center’s 65-year-old gymnasium. Tickets are $35 per person or $250 for a table of eight. For more, visit www.cambridgecc.org.

Thursday, June 13, 5:30 – 9 p.m.

University Park Common & Sidney Street, Cambridge
The 11th annual Taste of Cambridge features 100 of Boston’s best restaurants gathered in one spectacular setting, providing samplings of delicious, creative, healthy, and award-winning cuisine. Proceeds to benefit local non-profits. Tickets: $50 in advance, $60 at the door.

Friday, June 21, 5:00 – 9 p.m.

Harvard Museum of Natural History, Cambridge
Celebrate the longest day of the year with live music, solar telescope viewing from the roof of the Science Center, food trucks, hands-on activities on the new Harvard Plaza, and free admission to all four of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture. Free parking in the 52 Oxford Street Garage. For more information, call 617/495-3045.



Julie PalmerIn February, Julie Palmer was named President of Charlie Allen Renovations. Julie started working with CAR in 1999 as Office Manager and most recently served as our Director of Operations. Congratulations to Julie! Of course, Charlie is still an integral member of the company he founded in 1978. He remains as CEO, and will be focusing on business development and client relations. 

The Boston Business Journal took note of Julie’s new position in an article about female leaders in Greater Boston’s renovation/build community.

As many of you know, Charlie’s wife Anne Strong died on April 4 after a long battle with lung cancer. On May 4, the Boston Globe published a tribute to Anne’s spirit and her many accomplishments.



Today, we think of a cottage as a getaway spot – a vacation home usually located near or on the waterfront. But the origins of the cottage were more closely associated with work. Centuries ago, ‘cottage’ described the small homes located on grand feudal estates to house the families who worked there. Centuries later, the ‘workers cottage’ referred to modest housing built for factory workers close to their place of employment during the industrial revolution.

Quickly and simply built, workers cottages typically offered living space on the first floor with room for sleeping – and little else – contained within the pitched roof of a smaller second floor. The kitchen in these homes was often placed in a small extension of the house in the back. 

Cambridge is home to a pair of noteworthy workers cottages. The Valentine Soap Workers Cottages, located at Cottage Street and Pearl Street, were built in 1835 to house employees of Charles Valentine’s soap factory. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the two homes are the city’s only remaining examples of the housing style.


Charlie Allen Renovations can be found on Twitter at CARestorations. We’re also on Facebook and Houzz. In fact, if you’ve worked with us before and would like to offer a review of our services on Houzz, we’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you!


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

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