…patio love.

In the same way that it is a luxury to pay someone to refinish our hardwood floors, it is also a blessing to have a patio put in by professionals. We have had people working on our backyard for about a week now and every time I look out the window I’m slightly confused. Usually if there is a project it is Brent digging, cement mixing, drilling, hammering with me a few feet away assisting in anything & everything.


DH and I walked the yard yesterday to check out the work and could not stop giggling with relief. Dear Husband, we’ve come a long way, Baby!


Here is the progress we’ve made in a week on the backyard. When we moved in we did not touch it because we just had no budget. Landscaping is pricey!












I heart how my kids are completely unaffected by a bobcat in the backyard.


…how to refinish wood flooring

Hire someone!

I promised you – PROMISE – you do not want to attempt to refinish your own floors. If you listen to anything I say about home design it is this. Trust me, DH and I have done it and there are two problems:




Okay, that is three reasons.

DH convinced me that we could refinish our wood floors when we moved into our first home. Let me remind you it was a 1950s rambler that we purchased with torn linoleum in the kitchen and awful wood flooring. We did not have the money to hire anyone to refinish them so of course we did it ourselves. I still remember testing out stain colors in what became my daughter’s first nursery.


DH rented one of those huge sanders, telling me to stay close in case it stalled and cut a crater into the floor. Stain. Poly. Fumes. It’s all a nightmare. I have obviously tried to put it out of my mind because I have no pictures to show you.

God has been good to our family and we’ve come a very long way. We decided to pay PROFESSIONALS to refinish our wood flooring. Let me be clear, this is not easy either as we had furniture and a family to move around. It started with getting these delivered.


Pods give me anxiety just looking at them. But, there is only one way to refinish flooring and that is to move whatever is on the floor. It must be done. DH tried to convince me that he could move the contents of our home by himeself, but I am older and wiser. We hired the movers I had used for Blue Egg Brown Nest for the past six years.

So, here is what it looks like at the moment. Kinda makes me what to hire a band and invite friends over!




It’s a good thing cats are flexible and adapt to change well. HA! Right.



And there was definitely dancing to be had!



…picking paint sucks

Picking white paint sucks even more.

Do you know how many shades of white are out there? Like a ba-zillion. I have lived with a bedroom that was a Ben Moore color – Barely Beige. I picked out the color. I matched the color to the hallways and closets. It was meant to be subtle. However, my master bedroom gets so much wonderful, natural light that the Barely Beige read SUPER, ANNOYING, BIG TIME Beige. I hated it.

Small Room Design

I really wanted something softer and lighter. I wanted something more white. So, I returned to my beloved Color Wheel paint shop to find some more tile samples. Turns out they don’t sell those any longer, so I poured over the little, itty-bitty samples.




I narrowed my choice down to about four when one of the owners (3rd generation!) came to rescue me. She knew her whites. Thanks, Renate!

I brought home three samples to try in my room – White Dove, Marscapone and China Grey. I bought the pints, one of these sample boards and a little roller. Having a large board helps tremendously! Yes, a bit of hassle, but better to get the right color and view it on a large scale than to start your project and hate the color…again.


Here is the sample board that I did of my three colors. I use the word color loosely!


Painting walls require tape for most of us. Some people can paint a straight line, but if you can’t or are not sure if you can, then tape your trim. DH happens to be very good at this. He’s actually very good at painting walls too so I took the kids to church and he got down to business. He taped, then moved everything from the walls…


I ended up choosing WHITE DOVE and I am so pleased. It is a great white color with just a hint of….aged white. It is slightly warm, but without color to distract me. I will be posting images once, well, we are done with the room.

What started all this paint talk was because we are putting wood flooring in our master. After 6 years of kids and pets it was dingy and well, I can’t stand those buckles. Yes, we could have gotten those straightened out, but I have my heart set on wood. Here are the terrible buckles…


Of course, I then decided I needed a new chandelier, area rug and to paint a few things like my pedestal table, but I think I better post this now before moving onto more projects. The lesson today is that WHITE DOVE is a perfect white if you are on the hunt for one.


…DIY love.

There is one thing that you cannot say about DH and I and that is that we are lazy. We pour sweat out on the weekends working on projects. We’ve always been a bit crazy like this.


We purchased our first home when we were newly married and spent every weekend renovating our house. We spent more time at Home Depot then anywhere else in those days. We tiled, painted, framed a basement, sanded floors, landscaped, built a deck, a shed, installed doors and windows, installed countertops, knocked down walls and built furniture.

This was our first home. We were 25 years old. DH convinced me to move into a fixer-upper with the hope that we would eventually tear it down and build. That would come after many, many of our own projects.


When we were not at the hardware store we were working or watching DIY shows. We lived it. This is one of my favorite pictures and favorite projects. Tearing out all the mint green & black tile from our first bathroom. And we were LUCKY to have the green and not the pink like other homes in our neighborhood!

Demolition 1





Even my first birthday present as a married woman was a pedastal sink! (Yes, I still give DH grief about that one!)


We are still living the DIY lifestyle and teaching our kids that it is worth the time, effort and money to put into the space that you LIVE in. Home is everything.

All that to say that this is the summer of updating here in the Bensten house. We decided to replace all our carpeting, which led to refinishing our wood flooring, adding wood flooring to the master bedroom, red carpet to our new movie room, a backyard fence, patio and landscaping. I then moved onto the details, like a change of paint for the master, an area rug, and new chandelier. This then inspired me to repaint some of the pieces on our mail level. Needless to say we have not stopped.

Here a look at the chaos.


I will be posting on paint colors, rug colors/brands and the projects we have going on this week. It’s what I’m living and breathing at the moment. But don’t worry about us, we are used to breathing in a bit of dust from our projects & lifestyle so it all feels normal.



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