#CSBASpotlight: Charlie Allen Renovations

It’s time for the latest #CSBASpotlight — Charlie Allen Renovations! This #CentralSQ business has been working with families in Cambridge and the surrounding communities for over 40 years and is more committed than ever to bringing joy to families through period home renovations. Learn more about their work from President Julie Palmer!

“The company was founded by Charlie Allen and has been in business for over 40 years. We used to work out of Charlie’s house when he lived on Cottage Street, but we’ve been in this office space on River Street for about 15 years now. We have six full-time employees and two part-time. Our company primarily renovates in Cambridge and the surrounding communities, including Somerville, Brookline, and Belmont.

Charlie sold the company to one of our longtime employees a few months ago, so we’ve all been able to stay on in the same roles. Charlie moved back to his childhood town in Washington and is enjoying his new life in retirement. Nonetheless, we remain as committed as ever to period home renovations and working with people to bring joy to their home and their family!

When someone is interested in a renovation, they will generally call or email us and I’ll go out to meet with them firsthand to talk to them about their house and whether I think our company is a good fit for them. It’s important that we’re a fit for their budget, their renovating goals, their family, and for their house.

There’s a big relationship aspect to remodeling. Project development takes about 8-10 weeks and the average construction project takes about three months, so you’re talking around five months of close interaction. It’s important to like each other! You get to know them and they get to know you. Developing an intimate relationship is inevitable when you work in their house every day for weeks on end.

One of the nice parts of working in the business of remodeling homes is keeping in touch with our customers and getting invited back into their home a second, third, or fourth time — eventually becoming their go-to contractor. It gives us the opportunity to get to know their house, see their kids grow up, or even mourn their pet when he/she passes. We get to know some families really well over time.

Our main goal is to help people live better and enjoy their homes more. A majority of the houses in Cambridge are old and don’t work for today’s modern families. We help owners create open spaces, closet space, and a facade of a house that they can be proud to walk into every day.

Central Square is so urban compared to other parts of Cambridge, mostly because of the T, the businesses, and the history. It’s very colorful and has that urban vibe. As Cambridge changes, I think it’s important for all of us to shop and keep our business local. Our company uses a local bank and as many local tradespeople as we can. The local piece of this community is important.

As the real estate values continue to increase in Cambridge, the type of people who can afford to buy property here has changed. Rather than working on remodels for younger couples, the type of person who can buy a house here is usually older and buying their second home. Central Square has evolved over the years, but I do think that the new art projects happening are amazing. They bring the actual color back to Central and add to the urban flair and charm. The key to me is that we continue to keep that element alive in Central Square.”

— Julie Palmer, President

Learn more about Charlie Allen Renovations: https://www.charlie-allen.com.