Benjamin began the search for his own place, quickly identifying that he wanted to be downtown, with all the walkable amenities of coffee shops and markets he was used to back in Brooklyn. He stumbled upon a 700-square-foot bungalow on Zillow at a moment when hoards of millennials were moving to the city and rentals were difficult to come by. “The photos were absolutely terrible,” he says. “But I knew the location was good, and I could tell it had great light.”
After signing the lease, Benjamin found that every wall was painted a different color and linoleum flooring covered a majority of the space. The home was built in 1915, and though its synthetic materials, dark tones, and overcrowded layout revealed an outmoded affect, ultimately, its well-worn bones had potential.
Benjamin spent the next year making the house his personal project—coating walls in fresh paint (Behr’s Light Truffle), replacing window shades, incorporating natural textures wherever possible, and tackling the dreaded linoleum. “One night my sisters and I went for margaritas down the street. We came home, and one of my sisters just went for it and ripped up a tile. I thought, All right, here we go. We ended up finding the original hardwood underneath,” he says. Within a month, Benjamin removed all the tile, sanded the wood, and stained it, restoring authenticity and warmth to the interior.