Christen Bensten is an author in the making and design blogger at Blue Egg Brown Nest. Christen is an aspiring author, so her design blog is a great launchpad for her dream. She has always had a passion for the arts, after being influenced by her jewellery designer father. Her readers will know of her love of chalk paint, but she also likes potting and even has her own studio. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Christen Bensten.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
I would describe my aesthetic as European Cottage. My favorite pieces of furniture that I refinish as well as the items that I put in my own home are vintage or antique. I love hunting for interesting pieces and refinishing them to look aged through the Chalk Paint process. I pair old furniture with vintage books, baskets, burlap pillows to create an interesting and inspiring space.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
The pieces of furniture that I refinish have to be vintage. I want to take older pieces that are no longer beautiful and transform them to take center stage in a room. After refinishing a piece with Chalk Paint or chalk paint, I will distressed and sand the piece until it looks worn and has a European-look. These pieces need to have curves and detail. I also want to take ownership of the piece so if I can replace a vintage cupboard’s glass with chicken wire then I feel as though I’ve enhanced the piece. I prefer working with neutral paints so that they blend with the look of a room and quietly call for admiration.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
I have worked with hundreds of clients, designers and writers. I have to say that it is my dear husband that competes with no one else for more creative and respected. Brent Bensten is the CTO of an internet hosting company, but grew up designing and building homes with his family. He learned everything there was to know about the building process, design, engineering and architecture. He built two homes for our family and plans on building more. He is humble in attitude, but known for his ability at solving any design issue. He is a true craftsman.
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I blog about my business, Blue Egg Brown Nest and it is in the process of writing that I am flooded with new ideas for design and refinishing. The writing and the painting feed into each other and make me feel motivated and excited. I am a mom of three little kids and having an area of my life where I can create is essential.
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I grew up playing in my dad’s own studio where he bended and soldered wire to create the most beautiful and original jewelry. I have always craved the cool space of a studio and consider this space in my own home my sanctuary. It was not until I designed my own home with my husband that I created a business that took my necessity and made it into a career. I had no budget for furniture for my new home and so I went out and purchased some vintage pieces and painted them. Everything started from that place. I know that there are many home owners that want to create beautiful spaces and rooms in their homes. Painting furniture is a way to transform the old into something new again. It is also more inexpensive to paint than to buy new furniture. I always tell clients that are nervous about painting their grandmother’s beloved coffee table, “Would you rather keep it in the basement because you don’t like the ugly brown wood or would you like to paint it and place it in the middle of your family room in a place of honor.” Paint transforms.