The upper deck has sat empty for 3 years. Yet every time I went up there, surrounded by the trees, with the sound of the “stream” I would whisper “this is such a missed opportunity, what do you, upper deck, want to BE ??” It is right off our bedroom, above the dining area overlooking the yard – surely we could give it a purpose. So with the help of Sunbrella on some PERFECT-for-us Blu Dot furniture, it now has a purpose – a truly gorgeous, chill, grownup hangout area. In fact, I’m writing this from here, and feel like the luckiest person on the planet.
But let’s revisit it empty – so you can see how it was BEFORE any reno. I almost forgot how much we did, it’s wild.
I didn’t know what the purpose of this space would be or what we really needed until recently. I had a girl’s weekend up here and while 8 children played down below safely we were desperate to hang somewhere within earshot but with a little bit of privacy (outside). So creating an outdoor living room started to make sense. So these are the wants and the challenges:
- We need ALL-weather furniture. Brian and I aren’t “furniture cover” people so I really wanted something that could last through the snow in the winter and heat in the summer. Sure, I can put cushions away for the big storms in winter, but we know our limitations as people. So we needed really weather-resistant (not even teak) that we knew could withstand the elements.
- This area gets blasted by the sun in the middle of the day – so we need shade if we want to use it during the day.
- Due to said sun blasting, we need fade-resistant fabric (thus the Sunbrella partnership which was so perfect)
- We wanted it to be mostly dark and tonal so it didn’t pop off the house so much. There is something odd about having a dark house in the woods then seeing a big white umbrella – just feels off.
- We believe in comfort – I’ve found that we don’t use the rooms or furniture that aren’t a joy to sit on.
So the goal is VERY comfortable, monochromatic, durable, with a warm modern vibe. Nothing too cold or stark – still with depth and texture.
Enter Sunbrella into the equation, by way of that dope Blu Dot furniture.
That sofa and those club chairs from Blu Dot literally couldn’t be more perfect for this space and the vibe and function that we wanted. They are dark and modern with their slim arms and legs, but the added all-weather wicker on the backs and seats makes them so cool and warm. The proportions are so generous and the Sunbrella wrapped cushions make them unbelievably comfortable. We grounded the area with a rug, found a strangely good matching round coffee table from Target.
We kept the layout super simple with the sofa facing the chairs, threw in a couple of side tables, and then layered on Sunbrella pillows to add warmth. Add a dog for personality.
While you can purchase Sunbrella fabrics by the yard, (for interior or exterior upholstery projects) there are a ton of readymade furniture pieces from a lot of our favorite retailers, like Blu Dot to choose from already in Sunbrella. I simply put in “Sunbrella” in the search bar and up came all the different items that come already in the fabric, including the pillows, pouf, and umbrella.
We warmed up the black and green color palette with this terracotta and rust tones, as well as the wood and “wicker” (resin) to keep it feeling balanced. And of course, I needed some dark burgundy Japanese maples to pull it all together.
I planted the trees in that amazing Blu Dot pot (and did it by myself which pulled my back out, whoops) and while I might have to move them below if the sun blasts them too much they add a ton of life and texture up here.
The stump side table and round coffee table are both from Target. The tray is Skagerak and the copper cocktail shaker is from Tom Dixon that I’ve had forever (and has graced the photos in the blog like 200 times – so good).
The smaller pot on the ground as well as the one on the side table are both from Hilton Carter’s collection at Target, and they pull in more of that warm tone that we needed to offset the harshness of the dark tones. It’s hard to see in these photos but we strung string lights around the perimeter. It makes it so pretty to be out there at night. Dare I even say romantic:)
This is seriously one of the easiest and most successful spaces I’ve designed. I suppose it’s because buying a “set” checks a lot of boxes as you know they “work” together (and these clearly do). The clear color palette of rusts, copper tones against the black of the deck and the dark green of the house make it look so pulled together in just a few accessories. Designing a space doesn’t have to be hard, just intentional. A decided color palette will ALWAYS do that (and mixing up the textures:))
Brian and I now have “date nights” up here while the kids play below or watch a movie. And you bet I’ve been using this as my afternoon office on days when I wasn’t able to go on a walk or get any exercise – just being outside is helpful.
It’s just so wonderful to know that A. another space I neglected, is totally complete and B. I don’t need to worry about this performance fabric and furniture. While nothing is indestructible, I’ve been using Sunbrella for YEARS outside (remember my old Glendale deck?) and literally nothing stained it – not even the sap from our trees. It seemed impermeable to moisture and resistant to muddy paws. After being sent so many of the fabric books, I’ll be using some inside of the farm to keep those muddy pup paws from ruining our furniture. But just know that there are a lot of readymade pieces out there you can purchase if going custom isn’t your thing – and if you can’t tell I highly recommend this Blu Dot line.
O and remember my obsession with hammocks???
It’s truly one of our most cherished spots in the yard. It’s hard to not feel at total peace when you are in a hammock (or at least for me). It’s also our family cuddle/reading spot which is clearly enjoyed but ALL of our family members…
Buttercup is obsessed with the hammock which is, you guessed it, also made with Sunbrella. So neither the sun nor muddy paws can mess with this treasured Henderson piece.
Thanks to Sunbrella for partnering on this makeover. It will get so much use this summer as we start to invite our friends safely up here for one last hurrah (and having this all decked out will certainly help to rent the house out). Another box checked. Here’s a quick get the look for all you interested!
1. Planter | 2. Sofa | 3. Natural Woven Pillow | 4. Abstract Lumbar | 5. Circle Pillow | 6. Umbrella | 7. Stump Table | 8. Rug | 9. Coffee Table | 10. Indoor/Outdoor Cast Pouf | 11. Cocktail Shaker | 12. Mugs | 13. Tray | 14. Stripe Napkins | 15. Chair | 16. Square Pillow | 17. Side Table (similar) | 18. Lumbar Pillow | 19. Planter | 20. String Lights | 21. Hammock | 22. Accent Table