Charlie Allen Renovations, Inc.





Things can be downscaled in a bathroom for children, and that’s what designer Julie Palmer, president of Charlie Allen Renovations, says was a driving factor in the design of this Boston bath for two toddlers….“With small bathrooms it’s important to avoid trying to squeeze too much into the room,” Palmer says., “Vanities That Pack a Storage Punch” | October 19, 2015, Julie Sheer

If you live in or near Boston, MA, and you have an old house, you probably know Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen Renovations…His firm specializes in repairing and restoring older homes, trying to keep the historic quality while making the homes work for today's standards.
Traditional Building, “An Investment in History” | August 2015, Martha McDonald

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Charlie Allen of the design-build firm Charlie Allen Renovations, in Cambridge, Massachusetts…avoids stress by involving professionals from all disciplines at the very beginning of each project.
New England Home, “Trade Secrets” | July-August 2015, Louis Postel

Charlie Allen specializes in restoring period details in old homes, so when the time came for the general contractor to move his business out of his Central Square basement, it made sense to find a historic property he could return to its former glory. In 2002, he found what he was looking for in an 1899 flatiron building just blocks from his house….
Boston Globe “Restoration of 1899 Store Recalls Building's Glory Days”| May 13, 2015, Katie Johnston

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Charlie Allen, of Cambridge-based Charlie Allen Renovations, has worked extensively on large-scale preservation projects, but he has a special fondness for more modest homes. This particular triple-decker in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had been reconfigured into two living spaces. Allen was brought in to return the property to its three-unit origins, creating a modern first-floor living space while retaining the house's character.
Yankee Magazine “The Restorers: Meet New England’s Most Talented Old-Home Guardians”| March/April 2015, Bridget Samburg

This winter seemed to catch all of us by surprise. In late January, we’d had only 5.5 inches of snow, and, at that point, the ground was bare. The optimists among us looked forward to an early spring. Then came the first big storm, and the next, and the next one after that, and—well, I don’t need to remind you….Now, as we look to the arrival of spring just over a week away, a new fear grips many of us: What is going to happen when all of this snow melts?
Boston Building Resources Advice Blog “Preparing for the Deluge”| March 11, 2015, Mark Philben

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In this Cambridge home, the open third floor served as a playroom and storage space, and it offered a not-so-private place for guests. It had potential, but the layout and design were largely uninspired. From July-October of 2014, Charlie Allen Renovations worked to redefine the space.
Boston Magazine “A Catch-All Bonus Room Gets a Redesign”| February 10, 2015, Olivia Rassow

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When the time came to overhaul the kitchen of their 19th-century Victorian in Cambridge, the homeowners hired historic renovation specialist Charlie Allen to handle construction, maintain and replicate the home’s treasured moldings and white oak floors, and advise on period-appropriate paint colors.
Boston Globe "Home Design: Perfect Patina"| February 9, 2015, Jaci Conry

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The small space didn't allow for a tub, so Palmer opted for a prefabricated, angled shower. The clients had acquired an inventory of antiques, and they wanted to highlight at least one piece in the bathroom. “This small piece fit perfectly,” says Palmer, who adds that, in this particular space, it is a better option than a built-in. “It can be a temptation in a small bath to put in lots of built-in storage. But that can take up a lot of room, and it can end feeling a little closed in.”
Kitchen & Bath Design News “Living Large in a Small Bath”| October 2014, Kim Berndtson

Mark Philben, project development manager at Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge, MA is certified in Aging in Place remodeling by the National Association of Home Builders. He shares some tips and strategies below…. | “Aging in Place Renovation Strategies” September 19, 2014

“Bathroom spaces are often those that as an architectural and interior photographer I'm most frequently asked to capture. The detail and care taken to rework this space here made a big difference over the prior setup… ”
Boston Architectural Photography “New England Home Remodel” | August 21, 2014, Roberto Farren

Alex Romanowicz [of Charlie Allen Renovations] worked on a door in Cambridge on a street with many home construction projects under way.
Boston Globe “Home Remodeling Rebounds as Economy, Housing Market Improve” | August 20, 2014, Pryanka McCluskey

A Massachusetts couple sought quietude when they converted a small workplace attached to their historic home into a stylish guest suite….”The biggest challenge was getting the existing space to work the way the owners wanted it to,” says Julie Palmer, president of Charlie Allen Renovations, which designed and executed this project.
Qualified Remodeler “Sound Barrier” | August 2014, John Caulfield

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To find out the best way to fix this…we checked with Charlie Allen of the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based firm Charlie Allen Renovations, who surmised that the bricks and other debris could be trapped in the chimney either by the damper or an offset in the flue…
Old House Journal “Restore” | July 2014

...there are many contractors out there. To narrow down your choices, there are several acronyms that you'll want to consider, and “BBB” (the Better Business Bureau) is a good place to start. But don't stop there: following are several other initials you should expect to find on your contractor's website. “The ABCs of Looking For a Contractor” | June 10, 2014,
Mark Philben

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If you're living in an older house, turning your kitchen into a modern and appealing space can pose many challenges. Over the years, this has been a consistent and welcome challenge for my team at Charlie Allen Renovations, and we've found a variety of solutions…
Kitchen and Bath Business “Mixing Old with New” | March 2014

Julie Palmer, president of Cambridge, MA-based Charlie Allen Renovations, says that she's never had any issues with men questioning her professional authority. Starting as an office manager 14 years ago and being promoted through the ranks, Palmer says that she has always been treated fairly and respected by co-workers, subcontractors, tradesmen, and vendors. “I think a big part of it is that I worked my way up and proved that I know what I’m doing,” she says.
Remodeling Magazine “Female Remodeling Execs on the Rise” | February 2014, Diane Spivak

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We've learned that while our clients want contemporary amenities and design solutions that accommodate modern living, they're also committed to preserving the distinctive charms of their old houses….Following are the solutions we devised to answer four recent calls for help…"
Kitchen & Bath Business “A Time and a Place: The Gentle Art of Updating a Bath and Sustaining Its History” | November-December 2013

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When this Cambridge, MA family decided to turn their carriage house (which had been used as a pottery studio) into a guest suite, they asked Charlie Allen Renovations to include space for storage of musical instruments…"
DIY Network “Accommodating Guest Bedrooms and Bathrooms” | November 25, 2013, Michele C. Hollow

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In February, [Julie] Palmer was promoted to president of the company, one of only a handful of Boston women who hold leadership positions in the building and renovations industry....Women with strong management skills bring valuable insight to the construction site, Palmer said. “We tend to look at a project as more than construction, we approach it as a relationship,” she said.
Boston Business Journal “Women Building Careers in Construction” | April 26, 2013, Susan Johnston

I was a good student activist at Harvard, but then I had to make a living. I had an on-again, off-again thing with remodeling through the '70s. And in about 1978, I said this is good, this is what I'll do, and that's what I've done. Trying to answer those seemingly competing interests—“I love my old house and want to retain its authenticity or its charm or its style, but I need to change it”—that still gets me up in the morning....It's really heart-and-soul stuff for me.
Boston Globe Magazine “First Person”| January 13, 2013, Joel Brown

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Christ Church is one of many historic buildings in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, but it holds a special place in history and in the community....However, the icon had become a bit worn, especially the wood clapboard exterior, and the congregation...brought in Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen Renovations, a long-time member of the parish who had done other work on the building, to restore the exterior.
Traditional Building “Happy 250th Birthday” | December 2012, Martha McDonald

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As a renovation firm specializing in period houses, we bring a lot of older kitchens up to date....Rather than being the overriding design strategy, the kitchen triangle has to be integrated within a larger design that includes space for entertaining and sharing cooking duties with friends and family, for kids to do homework and parents to check email, and for dining and watching television. - Charlie Allen, president, Charlie Allen Renovations
Remodeling Magazine “The Kitchen Work Triangle: Still Relevant” | November 2012

Charlie Allen Renovations on River Street recently completed exterior work at St. James Episcopal Church on Massachusetts Avenue....over the last several months, Charlie Allen Renovations stripped paint off the church's iconic tower, restored all wood elements and repainted the structure. They also conducted extensive roofing repairs.
WickedLocal Cambridge “Cambridge's St. James Church gets a facelift” | December 4, 2012

Sometimes when you jump on the latest social media craze you land with a thud (remember Friendster?) Other times, it can be a boon to business. The latter was the case for Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge, Mass., when it posted more than 30 project photo on the design idea site “We began posting images and quickly saw many of them added to user ‘ideabooks’ - personal pages where Houzz members save favorite images from the site,” Julie Palmer, CAR's director of operations, explains. “We began getting questions from users asking for product details and renovation tips....”
Remodeling Magazine “Houzz Calls” | September 13, 2012, Mark Newman

...Instead, I would create more space outdoors. Your photographs show a small side patio and some room at the back of the house. Leaving the chimney and maximizing outdoor space on the ground floor would be a better idea, and doesn't negatively impact your available living space. A patio at ground level would be less expensive to construct than a roof deck and also more accessible.
Old House Journal “Ask OHJ” | August/September 2012, Charlie Allen

....That's the case for contractor Charlie Allen, whose Cambridge-based firm, Charlie Allen Renovations, does a lot of kitchen and bath work. "We've got a lot of business now, but it's very different working in this economy," he said. "People are much more serious about the dollar figure they have to spend." ....Allen's team recently overhauled a kitchen in a Cambridge Victorian that hadn't been updated since the 1960s. The mechanical systems needed immediate attention, so the homeowners didn't have a lot of money left to spend on the kitchen. But by making conservative choices, they were able to give the room a new, modern appeal.
Boston Globe “Renovations Get a Rethink” | May 24, 2012, Jaci Conry

Sometimes one little request leads to a major transformation. Married neuroscientists Vivek Unni and Tamily Weissman-Unni, owners of an 1870s house in Cambridge, Massachusetts [were] saddled with a dark front entry next to a front room that served as an ad hoc mudroom, and a "treacherous" narrow staircase. The couple asked general contractor Charlie Allen and architect Margaret Booz to rethink the entire space.
This Old House “From Unused Space to a Home Office Full of Smart Storage” | March 2012, Allegra Muzzillo

Budgeting for a large remodeling project presents a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: you won't have a feel for the cost until you get bids from contractors. But unless you give pros a ballpark figure from the start, they'll have to guess at what to include in their bids.... "If I have a good feel for your budget, " says Cambridge, Mass., contractor Charlie Allen, "I can deliver maximum value within your financing."
Money “Remodeling? How to Get a Better Bid” | March 12, 2012, Josh Garskof

....Beyond computer-aided design, Charlie Allen, founder and president of Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge, Massachusetts, notes that technology has vastly changed the way contractors and designers do business. "We're now virtually available 24-7 for clients....projects run much more smoothly with all of these immediate methods of communication."
Design New England “Kitchen: It's Personal” | January-February 2012,
Gail Ravgiala

...this Episcopalian church in Harvard Square has undergone a painstaking exterior renovation aimed at preserving a building that offers a rare link to early America. "It's about as important as they get," said Charles Sullivan, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Commission, referring to the buildings in his city. "It's been touched by so many events in American history." The restoration was led by contractor and church member Charlie Allen. His affection for the building is clear as he explains his work, from repairing the wide siding boards to refurbishing the gold-leaf orb and cross atop its bell tower....Allen says he always tries to put the building "at the table" during restorations, giving it a voice of sorts when choosing materials and techniques. Beside a desire to be safe from the weather, Christ Church has made one thing clear to him, Allen said. "Don't we all want to look like we always used to?"
Associated Press “Massachusetts church shot during Revolution gets overhaul” |
October 8, 2011, Jay Lindsay

One of Cambridge's most revered historical landmarks is getting a facelift this summer just in time for its 250th birthday in October. Christ Church in Harvard Square is going under its first major renovations since the 1970s. Headed by Charlie Allen Renovations, a Cambridge company that specializes in the renovations of old buildings and houses, the church will receive new siding and molding and a fresh paint job...."In the case of this restoration, people are listening to the needs of the building, which is really exciting," Allen said. His team is excited for the citizens of Cambridge to see what's underneath the tarp, right in time for the church to celebrate its 250th anniversary of the inaugural services that took place on October 15, 1761.
Cambridge Chronicle “Historic Harvard Square Church Gets Rehabbed” |
September 6, 2011, Megan Murray

The 1915 Colonial home on historic Brattle Street in Cambridge, MA, held all of the period charm and character its two university professor owners desired...except for two glaringly outdated spaces: the master bath and its attached dressing suite....With a desire to transform the decades-old design into something sleek, bright and spa-like, the homeowners sought the talents of a local contractor, Charlie Allen Renovations, which specializes in renovating and restoring period homes...
Kitchen & Bath Design News “Bath Blends Spa Aesthetic with Historic Charm” | August 2011, Kim Berndtson

....Before a nail is driven into a wall, [Mark] Philben, who works for Charlie Allen Renovations Inc., meticulously plans renovations from concept to completion, making sure work gets done on time and on budget.
Boston Globe, “Successful renovations take careful planning" | August 21, 2011, Cindy Atoji Keene

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Charlie Allen, founder of Charlie Allen Renovations in Cambridge, Mass., an award-winning renovation firm specializing in the remodeling and restoration of period homes, has been bringing historic homes back to life for more than 30 years. But the charm of long-standing residences, he says, need not be restricted to existing housing stock. Take a look at some of his recommendations for design elements that will ensure new homes age gracefully...
Builder Design Details: Vintage Charm | July 7, 2011

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This small family loved the rich history of their 95-year-old house, but they weren't as fond of the dated design. Seeking a simple and bright spa-inspired space, they hired Charlie Allen of Charlie Allen Renovations to complete an overhaul of historic proportions, which started with a full gut of the room and reframing of the entire floor. To achieve the clean look, the room's lines had to be perfectly level—a real challenge in such an old house...
Signature Kitchens & Baths “Historic Renovation” | Summer 2011

This bathroom is an oasis of calm—it's also somewhat of a surprise...."The elements are sleek with straight lines," says historic renovation specialist Charlie Allen, whose Cambridge firm, Charlie Allen Restorations, renovated the existing bathroom down to the studs.  "It's quite a contrast from what you typically encounter in a creaky historic home—but it was fun to build a space in a way that was different for us."
Southern New England Living “Soothing Spaces” | June 2011, Jaci Conry

News/Press Page 2

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  February 22, 2013
Julie Palmer named President; Charlie Allen to remain as CEO
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  February 4, 2013
Annual Survey and Analysis of 11 Million Monthly Users Reveals Top-Rated U.S. Professionals
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  November 15, 2011
Firm honored for spa-style bath in Cambridge Colonial
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  July 7, 2011
Awards from Cambridge and Somerville Historic Commissions are the twelfth and thirteenth received by the Cambridge firm
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  January 6, 2010
Cambridge firm is region’s Best Restoration Contractor
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  June 1, 2009
Award is the 4th for the Cambridge-based firm
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  October 30, 2008
Programs from National Association of Home Builders and National Association of the Remodeling Industry Address Growing Demand For Services
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  May 13, 2008
Award recognizes nation’s best remodeling firms
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  Cambridge remodeling  
  January 7, 2008

Cambridge room praised for “classically styled yet high
tech” design

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November 13, 2007
Cambridge firm receives Gold Award for Residential Interiors
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