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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



Renovation is stressful. Wouldn’t it be nice to let someone else oversee product selections, manage day-to-day issues, and bring your project to a successful completion? The owners of a two-family in Arlington recently did just that, flying off to Florida just as we began renovating their first floor unit.

  Newton Simple Fixes  

Of course, before they left we thoroughly discussed all aspects of the work order, which included renovating the kitchen and bathroom, painting the bedroom, and adding a laundry closet.  We reviewed color and material selections, and set up a schedule for regular briefings.   

A handful of issues did come up.  But because we had planned ahead, we were able to resolve them with very little stress for our clients.  For instance, the client had chosen a bright yellow paint color for the kitchen walls, but once the new cabinets, countertop, and flooring had been installed, it was clear that yellow would clash.  We suggested a more complementary Benjamin Moore Lancaster Whitewash shade instead.

  Newton Simple Fixes  

In the bathroom, the clients had selected a deep inset mirrored medicine cabinet.  But when the wall behind the vanity was opened, it revealed a pipe running up the wall, too close for the inset model. In this small space, a bump-out medicine cabinet would be awkward, so instead we placed a mirror over the sink and two smaller inset cabinets on either side — a solution that pleased the homeowners, who now have his-and-hers storage spaces. 

Finally, the homeowners had resigned themselves to the fact that the laundry closet would be too small for storing detergent and other needs. However once the units were in place, we realized that a small custom shelf could be built and had it installed to the delight of the homeowners.


10 Things to ConsiderAsk Mark: Hardwood floors are one of the signature features of period homes. However, they can be damaged by heavy traffic or exposure to water, and in the past century many homeowners placed tile, vinyl, or laminate over the wood floors in their kitchens and bathrooms.  But today, thanks to protective treatment options, some homeowners are once again installing — or restoring — hardwoods in these two rooms.  Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to do the same:

1. First of all, you’ll want to refinish your floors. If they’ve had tile laid over them, you may need to remove adhesive, piece in any damaged flooring using the same species of wood and re-fasten any loose pieces. The floor will need to be sanded down to bare wood and refinished. Note: Most old flooring is blind nailed and if the nails are starting to show, the floor cannot be sanded down anymore and will have to be replaced.

2. Next, it’s time to apply a protective sealant. Most often, polyurethane is used, and you have two options: oil-based or water-based. The benefits of using oil-based are that it’s cheaper and somewhat longer-lasting than water-based. Issues are that it takes longer to dry, the odor of the finish will linger longer, and there may be health concerns (oil-based poly is high in VOCs — volatile organic compounds which spread into the atmosphere and can cause or exacerbate health problems.) Water-based polyurethane is much lower in VOCs, dries quickly, smells aren’t as strong and they dissipate quickly. On the other hand, it can be a bit more expensive.

3. Another option for protecting the floor is wax. This traditional method can be hard work — you’ll need to rub it in by hand, and it can darken the color of your wood. Note: If, after using wax products you want to refinish the floors, you will need to sand the floor to bare wood. You cannot do a screen and coat because the wax will prevent any finish from adhering to the wood.

4. Once your floor is sanded and sealed, you still want to take measures to prevent water damage — standing water finds its way under even the best seal, so take care to wipe up spills and keep an eye out for leaks. Adding a rug to potential problem areas — near the sink, especially — will provide a bit of color and insurance, too!



Charlie was interviewed in New England Home’s “Trade Secrets” column, sharing thoughts on the collaborative nature of the renovation process.

Boston Globe reporter Katie Johnston profiled the CAR offices, located in an 1899 flatiron building at 91 River Street in Cambridge, that was restored by Charlie based in part on a newspaper article written when the building was new, describing its attributes.

In its August issue, Traditional Building editor Martha McDonald also profiled our office building.

The website Houzz included a children’s bath that we designed for an 1850s Greek Revival in a round-up of ‘small vanities that pack a punch’.



Events CalendarCheese 101
The Cheesemongers at Formaggio Kitchen will talk about the history and process of cheesemaking. Learn about the basics of tasting and building your own cheese plate, and sample a few wines and beers. The evening concludes with a visit to Formaggio’s cheese caves. $45 on Sunday, December 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. At Formaggio Kitchen, 244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge. Order tickets here.

Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff
Get an up-close view of a 65-million-year-old Triceratops fossil — one of only four complete Triceratops skeletons on public display anywhere in the world. Until February 1, 2016 at The Museum of Science, 1 Science Park, Cambridge.

Christmas in Medieval England
A festive program of Christmas music from 15th-century England, including motets by Leonel Power and John Dunstaple, English carols, and Sarum plainchant. Saturday, December 19 from 8 – 9:45 p.m. at First Church in Cambridge, 11 Garden Street.


Social Media Facebook Houzz Twitter SOCIAL MEDIA
We love to share photos of our work, links to interesting design stories, and expert renovation tips on Facebook, Houzz, Instagram, and Twitter, where you’ll find us as CARenovationsMA.


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

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