Homes

Tour Embroidery Artist Sarah K. Benning’s Colorful 1873 Victorian Home

Overflowing with art, plants, and thrift-store treasures, embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning’s colorful home in Keene, New Hampshire, represents a dream come true.

By Katherine Keenan

Mar 29 2022

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Art and plants abound at embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning’s 1873 New Hampshire home.

Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
When embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning and her husband, Davey, bought an 1873 Victorian home in Keene, New Hampshire, in 2018, the first thing Sarah did was begin painting. “Everything was butter yellow,” she says with a rueful chuckle. Still, she claims it was love at first sight.Though parts of the spacious home are still works in progress — like the second-floor stairwell, still butter yellow — after only a few years Sarah and Davey have definitely made their mark on the space. Sarah started creating embroidery art in 2013, right after college. Her apartment at the time didn’t look anything like this, Sarah says, so she used her embroidery to envision the space she dreamed of living in one day, a home filled with plants and midcentury modern furniture. In Keene, she was able to begin making that vision a reality. “Before moving here, we’ve never really had a space that we’ve had control over, in terms of hanging artwork or painting walls,” Sarah says. We recently visited Sarah’s home for an “Open Studio” feature on her artwork, which appears in Yankee’s May/June 2020 issue. If you’re curious to see how her art reflects her home (and vice versa), scroll on for our bonus photos of her eclectic abode.
Embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning at home in New Hampshire.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley

First, some quick facts about the home:

Where is it? This Victorian-style home is located in downtown Keene, New Hampshire. When was it built? 1873. Who lives there now? Sarah K. Benning; her husband, Davey; and their cat, Quiqueue (pronounced KEY-cue).
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“I started stitching interior scenes of places where I wished I was,” Sarah K. Benning says of the years before she and her husband bought their 1873 Victorian home in Keene, New Hampshire.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley

And now, the tour:

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Sarah’s work station in her upstairs studio. Hanging above the desk are completed embroidery pieces, which she sells on her website and at craft fairs.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley
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The entryway sports two different shades of pink, an original light fixture, and a healthy helping of greenery.
Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
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This is one of the house’s many “gallery walls,” which feature an eclectic assortment of paintings from thrift stores and purchased from artist friends. (Shortly after this photo was taken, Sarah and Davey repainted the staircase treads and covered the risers with bright wallpaper. See the results here.)
Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
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Another of Sarah’s workspaces.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley
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In the downstairs living room, the gold fireplace offers an elegant counterpoint to the bold blue walls and wild botanical wallpaper.
Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
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The spare lines of a wooden coffee table and daybed contrast with an array of pillows, throws, rugs, and artwork.
Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
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Details from the living room gallery wall.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley
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On the second floor, sun streams through the big windows, casting light across the furnishings and, yes, more plants.
Photo Credit : Katherine Keenan
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The doorway to Sarah’s upstairs studio.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley
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In the studio, bright white walls are enlivened by colorful accents and a touch of greenery.
Photo Credit : Megan Haley
To learn more about Sarah K. Benning, see our “Open Studio” feature in the May/June issue and visit her website. This post was first published in 2020 and has been updated.