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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



Newton Simple FixesFor a small family in Newton, their modest sized home was just the right size. But with some smart changes, they wondered if it could be more enjoyable. Working with architect Joseph S. Artley, we came up with a number of solutions:

•   To make the kitchen a more comfortable work and gathering space, a bay window was removed and the kitchen itself bumped out slightly to allow for the introduction of an expansive island, as well as additional countertop and cabinetry.

•  The first floor half-bathroom was relocated to the end of the entry hall.  This allowed us to connect the kitchen with what had been a three-season porch.

•  The existing three-season porch was properly heated and remodeled as a sunny breakfast nook: the perfect spot for the family to gather in the mornings.

•  Near the entry to the breakfast nook, an existing electrical box could not be moved.  To conceal it, we suggested an oversized family bulletin board, which we provided as a gift to the homeowners.  Now, it offers a great spot to catch up on the day’s activities and enjoy some family artwork while heading in for breakfast.

•  This family loves to read and they asked for custom built in bookshelves in the living room that would look original to the home and match existing shelving on the other side of the room.

•  The den is a favorite spot for the family to watch movies and play games, but the room, which had also been a three season porch prior to an earlier renovation, was drafty in the winter and hot in the summer.  We introduced new, energy efficient windows and insulation throughout, resulting in a much more inviting and cozy room.

Today, after barely increasing the footprint of the home, the family has a new breakfast room, a usable den, a larger and more inviting kitchen, and a better-situated first-floor bath. Lots of simple fixes = a much happier space for the whole family.



Mark PhilbenFinally Spring! A short to-do list to spruce up your home, inside and out, now that winter has finally departed.

1. Wash Your Exterior: When the bright spring sun starts shining, grime on the side of your house can become disturbingly noticeable. Buy or rent a power washer but be careful of the setting: high water pressure can damage wood shingles. And be sure to keep the water jet moving across the surface of your house—lingering too long on any one spot is another way to crack or weaken shingles. And to eliminate mold and mildew build-up, add some bleach or house/deck cleaner.

2. Clean Your Windows: If you’ve got traditional multi-pane windows, first purchase a squeegee that fits the smallest pane. Mix a small amount of detergent with warm water and use a sponge first, using smooth, up-and-down movements. Make sure to get all of the gunk out of the corners of each pane. Then squeegee the water from the pane and finally, dry with a cloth.

3. Touch-Up Paint Inside and Out: After being cooped up in the house all winter, you're probably quite familiar with areas that could use a fresh coat of paint or a touch-up. Now that you can open windows again, set aside a day for freshening. And take a stroll around the house exterior. Are window frames, sills, and porch railings looking their best?

4. Check Your Gutters and Downspouts: Fall is when most of us think about our gutters, climbing up to remove leaves and debris before winter sets in. But winter, with heavy snows and ice, can put quite a burden on gutters. Check them for cracking and sturdiness and debris from winter storms before heavy spring and summer rains.

5. Sidewalk Repair: Snow, ice, and salt can also wreak havoc with your front walk. If you've got chipped or broken pieces, you can patch them yourself. You'll need to brush the hole clean to remove dirt and pebbles. Then create patching materials using cement and sand. For best results, you may need to use a bonding agent first, giving the new concrete something to adhere to.

6. Check Sump Pumps: Typically we don't experience much melting in the winter but come spring, the water tables start to rise. Check your pump for proper operation and most importantly, check the outside discharge line if you have one. Debris and animal nests can interfere with its operation.



Thursday, June 12 at 6 p.m.

This year, the Cambridge Historical Society's Spring Benefit will celebrate the great parties of Cambridge past and present: “From farmers markets to neighborhood block parties, to the city dance party, the Cambridge community uses urban spaces as a canvas and paints a picture of a vibrant and diverse community….We hope you'll join us in celebrating this history.” For more details, visit www.cambridgehistory.org.

Saturday, June 7 at 2 p.m.

David Bosse, Librarian and Curator of Maps at Historic Deerfield, explores the work of several Boston mapmakers during the 18th century, when mapmaking was a financially precarious undertaking. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, MA. For more information, visit www.nationalheritagemuseum.org

through January 2015, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Provocative, thoughtful, and haunting, these portraits of 19th century Americans show men, women, and children when they first began posing for what was then a brand new technology: the camera. The exhibit features more than 200 images from the collection of William B. Becker. At MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. For more, visit web.mit.edu/museum.



Saving CambridgeKitchen & Bath Business, which featured four of our recent bathroom projects last fall, decided to share four of our kitchens in their March issue.

On March 6, Charlie offered a presentation to the Century 21 Avon real estate team and their clients on older home renovation strategies at their Mass Ave offices.

Julie was featured in a profile of women leaders in renovation by the national magazine Remodeling.

Design New England magazine reviewed Saving Cambridge: Historic Preservation in America’s Innovation City, a new book from the Cambridge Historical Society featuring an article by Charlie.



StaircaseThe staircase is a feature of all multi-level homes, period or not, but in the 19th and early 20th centuries, many builders approached staircases as a chance to demonstrate woodworking skills and add touches of artistry to a very functional element of the house. In older homes, a staircase will often include distinctive decorative elements that give away its design period.

Among them is the ‘bullnose,’ or starting step. This first step in the staircase is often wider than the rest, and in period homes the sections that extend beyond the width of the staircase itself are sometimes rounded. (In the case of stairs that line a wall, the bullnose is extended only on the open side.)

The newel post, which is the large support at the end of the staircase that supports the railing, is often the most ornate feature, and in the past, it's where the home's architectural plans were traditionally placed, before the post was finished with a distinctive top piece, or “ball cap.” The handrail itself is held in place by balusters: narrow posts that run from railing to step and were typically designed as rounded pieces and sometimes carved into ornate designs. In some cases, older homes also feature carved wood panels on the wall alongside the stairs.

We love the artistry and character of period staircases, and in many cases (including the stairs seen in this Cambridge project) have replicated traditional elements when renovating them.


Social Media Facebook Houzz Twitter SOCIAL MEDIA
As our clients know, communication is important to us. Social media is a great way to stay in touch, and we’re active on Facebook, Houzz, and Twitter. On Twitter, where we're known as CARenovationsMA, we share links to interesting renovation articles, company news, and events in the Cambridge area. At Houzz, you can see photos of many of our favorite renovation projects, from kitchens and bathrooms to exterior restorations and just about every other home project you can imagine. And our Facebook page is another great place to see new projects, mentions of CAR in the media, company news, and more. See you there!


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

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