Designer Spotlight: Emily Henderson's Upgraded Mountain Home Deck

Emily Henderson, a professional stylist, designer, NYT best-selling author, and blogger, recently used Sunbrella fabrics to upgrade her mountain home’s upstairs deck. “My plan for this space was to create a little ‘outdoor parent’s retreat’ for me and my husband. It is the perfect area for entertaining friends, enjoying a little alone time, and watching the kids play in the backyard," said Emily.



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Being family-friendly is an important factor to consider when beginning the design process: “I have two kids that have definitely changed the way I design. Now, I try to put function on the forefront. But with that said, I am VERY big on how I want my spaces to feel,” said Emily. “For me, that’s always completely comfortable, functional, and of course, beautiful.” 
“I think about how to implement the feeling I want in a way that’s functional and durable (for me, that meant choosing an outdoor coffee table instead of a 1,000-pound tree stump that no one could haul up the stairs). After that, choose a color palette and go shopping, but leave some mental wiggle room to find those final ‘weird’ pieces that’ll really make your finished space sing.” 



Bringing the Indoors Outside

Emily recommends approaching design for outdoor spaces in the same way that you would for indoor spaces: “I think comfortable seating with plush but durable fabric is a total must. I’m also big on lighting and plants because is there anything better than a nicely lit lush outdoor area? It really helps to create an awesome ambiance,” she said.  
Carrying on this approach, Emily recommends incorporating items like rugs and bar carts: “A rug not only makes the space cozier, but it helps to create a ‘zone’ for the area you are trying to design. I promise it helps. Then a bar cart can be used for anything - drink station, dessert area, storage, craft station.” 


Close up view of a black outdoor couch with mauve and pink patterned pillowsClose up view of a black outdoor couch with mauve and pink patterned pillows


Creating Your Space

Emily chose two of the Dog Days lounge chairs, sofa and Bumper small ottoman from Blu Dot to create her 'zone': “I love how the chairs and sofa were both modern but textured, creating a lot of visual warmth. I chose the darker fabric because it added a nice moody vibe that really helped to elevate the design, making it perfect for the ‘adult retreat’ feeling we wanted," she said.
The makeover has been a complete success. “I write up there all of the time which has been a total dream. My husband, Brian, and I have drinks or just hang out after the kids go to bed most nights. Then more recently, we’ve had friends come up to visit and it really is the perfect place to be able to parent (since we can see the kids from up above) but also be able to have more privacy and talk about whatever we want.” 



The Sunbrella Difference

Speaking of parenting, the Henderson family has benefitted from the easy-to-clean durability of Sunbrella fabrics: “I am so impressed with the furniture pieces, the fabric especially, and how easy it is to get out anything. I actually chose the darker color knowing we are not a ‘spill-free’ kind of family, but I honestly don’t think it would matter if it was a lighter color. The dogs also love lounging around up there but you’d never be able to tell - any muddy paw prints or white fur just wipes right off,” she said.


“An added plus that I couldn't have predicted with this sofa and chairs is that the squirrels can't rip them open and take out the stuffing for their nests, which they typically do to ALL of our other upholstered outdoor furniture. For whatever reason, likely the high quality material, they leave this set alone.” 


Find Your Design Style with Sunbrella

Read more of our Designer Spotlights or check out inspiring Design Ideas to find your style with Sunbrella fabrics.