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HOMEOWNER'S GUIDE | New Name, New Logo, Cambridge Residential Renovation, & More

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



These may be dangerous days for the iconic clawfoot tub. This year two different clients undertaking bathroom renovations decided to remove their tub and replace it with a shower. One set of homeowners never found time for a bath. The others had safety concerns: they were renovating a guest bath to be used by elderly parents and felt that a shower would be a safer option.

Here’s what we did in these two instances:

South End BathroomSouth End, Boston
Neither of these homeowners used their bathtub very often, and agreed that a large walk-in shower would provide a better use of space. They preferred the clean lines of a stationary glass panel extending all the way to the ceiling as the only divide between the shower and the room. To provide a safe curb-less shower transition, we flush framed the area as low as possible so water naturally drains toward the center of the shower. And with an eye to future needs, we installed blocking in the wall to eventually support a grab bar. Two recessed lights in the shower provide overhead lighting. Lucien glass tiles from Ann Sacks line the shower walls, and a Hans Grohe showerhead with separate hand held unit round out a luxurious shower experience.


Cambridge BathroomCambridge
When we renovated the guest suite in this historic Cambridge home, the en-suite bathroom was completely gutted and remodeled with new floor tile, shower tile, and wall tile, including a decorative stone pattern. The homeowners anticipated that elderly relatives would use the area most often, and wanted to eliminate the need for climbing in and out of a slippery tub. For comfort, the shower features enough room for portable bench seating. Towels and toiletries are stored within arm’s reach on an open shelving unit, allowing for easy visualization and access.



Considering a new home?Considering a new home? In this issue, Project Development Manager Mark Philben offers his tips “If You’re Buying an Old House”:

1. Before things get serious, have a qualified contractor or home inspection company look at the house inside and out.

2. Planning on making changes? Check local zoning ordinances and historical designations first. These will shape what you can or can’t do in terms of future renovations.

3. Carefully consider the layout and function of the house. Older homes did not have much closet/storage space, and smaller bathrooms, kitchen areas, and basements can be cramped. Basements may not be as well sealed against nature as a modern concrete basement, too.

4. Understand that older homes will likely require more maintenance going forward. This needs to be budgeted into future plans for the house.

5. Curious about the home’s history? Check with your local Historical Commission: they could be a great source of information.



Events CalendarOn Saturday, January 11 from 4 to 6 p.m. we hope you can join us for a special event at the Cambridge Historical Society, 159 Brattle Street in Cambridge. For anyone considering – and fearing – a renovation, “Renovating Without Fear” is an interactive discussion with Charlie, interior designer Dee Elms, and architect John Altobello. The talk will be moderated by Design New England contributor Bruce Irving. If you’re interested in attending, please rsvp to: rsvp@cambridgehistory.org.



Saving Cambridge• Charlie wrote an article for Kitchen & Bath Business using four of our renovation projects to illustrate strategies for updating your bath while preserving period charm and appeal.

• The DIY Network included a guest suite project in their online round-up of noteworthy renovations.

• Once again, we participated in If This House Could Talk, an annual Cambridgeport event spotlighting the unique histories of our many historic buildings. Signs were placed outside Charlie’s home, Julie’s home, and our office.

• Charlie is among the contributors to a new book from the Cambridge Historical Society. Saving Cambridge: Historic Preservation in America’s Innovation City examines “the evolution of the preservation movement in our city.” To purchase a copy, visit the Cambridge Historical Society website.



Christmas DecorationsIt took time for Christmas to become an occasion for celebration in America. The Puritans ignored it completely because there was no reference to Christmas in the Bible. But over time, the arrival of European immigrants increased observation of the day, and with it, a number of home decorating traditions. The Christmas Tree first found widespread popularity in the 1830s and ‘40s, when decorations were simple: oranges and lemons placed in the branches, strings of popcorn, and homemade ornaments. By the 1870s, stores began selling manufactured ornaments – at first imported from Germany and later produced here. An article on the subject at HistoryToday.com notes that an ad from the time read “So many charming little ornaments can now be bought ready to decorate Christmas trees that it seems almost a waste of time to make them at home.”

Decorating the outside of the house came much later, following the advent of electricity. Starting in the 1920s but more prominently by the late ‘40s, cities and towns kicked off the trend by stringing lights on trees and along storefronts in public squares. By the 1960s, the habit had expanded to residential neighborhoods.


Find more home maintenance and renovations tips from Charlie and the team on social media.  We’re on Twitter as CARenovationsMA, and on Facebook and Houzz.  Speaking of Houzz, if we’ve worked together please consider offering a review of our services there.  If you need help, just let us know.  Thanks!


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

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