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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



Challenging TimesFor more than thirty years, we’ve worked with area homeowners to craft solutions to almost every home issue imaginable. Even in this deep economic downturn your home needs to be maintained and updated. Our company’s experience can help identify several solutions for any home repair dilemma. Finding the solution that fits your budget, along with our ability to customize a menu of services, allows us to achieve success within a wide range of needs and budgets.

Recently, we worked with an older couple in Brookline who wanted to update a bathroom, adding improvements to make the space more ergonomic and accommodating of future needs while incorporating an attractive design. And, like most of us, they had a specific amount of money set aside. Together, we reviewed options, and priced materials, to identify areas where the homeowners could save money, or in some cases, reassign costs.

Here’s how we did it:

Functionality: Bill and Gloria wanted to be sure that future mobility issues wouldn’t prevent them from using their bathroom.  It was cost-prohibitive to enlarge the room to allow wheelchair access, but we were able to introduce grab bars, placed carefully to provide support when entering and while using the space.  Access to the shower was another concern, as it required stepping over the door-frame, so we incorporated a curbless shower into the new space.

Design: To create the feeling of a bigger room, the ceiling in the shower was raised, making it seem larger and more open.  A frameless glass door contributes to the lighter, brighter feeling.  Adding a fan to vent air out of the room was a simple improvement that made the bathroom much more comfortable to use.

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Greek Revival 1820-1850

Challenging TimesGreek inspired architecture became all the rage beginning in the 1820s. Former President Thomas Jefferson had been an early champion of Ancient Greek culture, incorporating its architectural stylings when designing his Virginia estate, Monticello. Years later, the Greek Revival style became increasingly popular as America sympathized with the struggles of contemporary Greeks, waging their own war for independence. Concurrently, American affection for all things British had declined precipitously following the War of 1812, resulting in a movement away from the Federal architectural style. Many new settlements during this period were named after Greek towns like Ithaca and Athens. The Greek Revival architectural movement spread throughout the country by means of popular architectural pattern books, including Asher Benjamin’s The Practical House Carpenter, reaching such popularity that it was eventually renamed the National Style. Some of the distinguishing characteristics of Greek Revival homes include: pedimented gables, symmetrical shapes, and entry porches spanning the length of the home, supported by columns.

Hellenic-inspired architectural details weren't limited to residential dwellings either—in fact, they were particularly popular on public buildings, including many Capitol Buildings, banks, and courthouses.



Charlie Allen - NewsCharlie recently shared renovation solutions with viewers of two local morning news shows: Fox25’s Morning News and New England Cable News’s Good Morning Live. Fox’s Gene Lavanchy was particularly impressed by Charlie and company’s work on a kitchen in an 1850s stone house in Brookline, while Mike Nikitas at NECN expressed his excitement over another kitchen renovation, this one in a Shingle Style home in Cambridge. You can see both segments on our home page.

Challenging TimesSEASONAL TIPS

Each season comes with opportunities for homeowners
to save money. Here are some that you might think
about this summer:


  • If the heat is getting you down and you’d like to reduce your reliance on air conditioners, consider a whole house fan. Charlie recently installed one in his attic. The unit is powerful enough to draw hot air up and out through vents in the roof, and located far enough from sleeping and gathering spaces to keep sounds levels low. It’s cost-effective and better for the environment, too.
  • While you’re in the attic, make sure that the space is well ventilated — this will let heat out in the summer, and will keep the roof from getting too much snow build-up in the winter, reducing ice dams and potential damage to your home.
  • Consider replacing lawn space with a perennial garden. Healthy grass needs lots of watering and fertilizer, but there are many attractive landscaping options that are less thirsty. A local gardening expert should be able to point you to flowering bushes and plants, clover and other grasses that require less maintenance. And mulch your gardens—mulch retains water and helps prevent weeds.
  • If you are using an air conditioner, don’t forget to close your chimney damper. While we usually remember to close doors and windows when the a/c is on, we often forget to stop cool air from escaping through the fireplace! Not using some rooms? Close those doors to cool the spaces you are using more efficiently.
  • And of course, summer is a good time to give your home’s exterior a once-over and make sure that everything is in good shape for next winter.

We’re also on Boston.com. The area’s largest online news site recently featured more renovation tips from Charlie, along with examples from our portfolio in
"10 Ways to Fix Old Homes"


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