When you build your business in one of America's oldest cities, there's no shortage of historic renovation work. “I came to the Boston area in 1978, got off the subway, and that was it for me,” says company owner Charlie Allen. To keep focused on a 30-year mission to deliver quality craftsmanship in period-home restoration, Allen runs the business from a renovated 1899 flatiron building, creating a space that helps the company practice what it preaches. In addition, he identifies a specific range of project sizes where he feels his company can do the best work.

“Our sweet spot is in the $200,000 to $500,000 range,” says operations manager Julie Palmer. “We like to have all the product selections made before construction begins; we don't go to contract until 90% of those decisions are made. Clients may not understand why they need to choose things like lighting fixtures so early, but . . . knowing all that in advance helps us stay on time and on budget.”

Of course, plans are flexible. “There's always something to be found in an old home,” Allen says. “We may open up a wall and find that there used to be pocket doors there, and we'll figure out a way to save those details. By the end, the homeowners are thrilled to finally see what they worked so hard to specify.”

- Lauren Hunter