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The Perfect Outdoor Deck Makeover

Outdoor patio deck makeover with layers of blue and orange pillows and wicker furniture

Dealing with everything that 2020 threw at us emphasized the importance of home, for Seana Freeman. While riding out the pandemic, this executive leadership development expert by day / designer by night has continued to turn her four-bedroom Charlotte, North Carolina residence into a space that keeps her mood elevated and her spirit soaring. “My whole mood this year has been about bringing happiness, surrounding myself with things that make me happy and that evoke a feeling of happiness, both inside and outside,” said Freeman.

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Her first big project was having a couch she scored for a mere $150 reupholstered in a bright yellow velvet—a project the “Glamohemian Girl” behind Instagram’s @bellybaila called #ProjectSunshine. A bright yellow couch is a natural fit in Freeman’s color-infused space, with its magenta work-from-home office and blue den with gold ceiling. “For me, I like color, but I don’t like chaos,” said Freeman “I visually need some white space. That doesn’t mean you have to always be safe and neutral—which I never have been anyway—but I’m pushing myself a bit more toward color, and I think you can do that in a way that’s still elevated and still has that glam component.” 


It's the same spirit of edited drama that Seana brought to her fall deck makeover.

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While the rooms in her home are glamorous and evolving spaces with African and African American artifacts alongside references to Louisiana (where her people are from), Virginia (where she was raised), and Brooklyn (where she lived for 14 years), she has been solely focused on the inside. But when she fostered a dog over the summer, she suddenly found herself outdoors—a lot. “Until this year I was not a person that had spent much time on my deck, or in my yard, or outside at all,” said Freeman. “I’m a relocated New Yorker, and I just don’t like bugs and I especially don’t like snakes—both of those are out there somewhere—so the outside part of my home, I hadn’t really thought about.”

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While living as a single woman has given Freeman the freedom to decorate however she wants, it also made having the ability to entertain more important than ever. “The question quickly became ‘How do you connect with people in a socially distant way?’,” said Freeman. “My deck became my vehicle to the world. Especially during the heart of the pandemic, it was necessary. All my visitors and all my friends that came by, we hung out on the deck.” And since she’s based in Charlotte, with its mild weather, Freeman’s deck will be the go-to destination for months to come. Sturdy seating with chocolate brown cushions sits on top of freshly stained wood—brown on brown on brown—provided a safe and comfy gathering place, but one that left Freeman wanting more. With her house alive with color and plants (she has nearly 40!), the deck felt disconnected from her interior.

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“I want to enjoy it while I’m out here, but I also want to enjoy it when I’m inside because it’s very visible from inside the house,” said Freeman. “I also wanted to think about what I’m feeling in a fall moment, like, what is the autumn version of a deck refresh, what does that look like?” She started with a rug that she already had, some small furniture—little tables and stools—and bringing some of her indoor plants out. She knew she wanted to add pillows—with lots of color and pattern, of course—but finding the perfect pillow is difficult enough when you’re not in the middle of a pandemic. “The pillows were the big thing that was missing, and you know that’s the best part, that’s like the icing on the cake,” said Freeman. “And that’s when I saw these pillows from SmithHönig. They’re the perfect fit, both in the way they look and the quality.”To give her deck life and create that fall mood, Freeman chose eight of our outdoor pillows: two Neela Blue, two Tabriz Autumn, two Vintage Checks Orange, one Flag 1 Navy and one Flag 3 Navy. (You’ll also spy a Henna tassel and our brass nesting bowls set out there, too.)

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“I love that SmithHönig boldly embraces color and pattern and influences from around the world, and actually spends time talking about where they came from,” said Freeman. With all the pieces now in place (well, in place for now because spaces are always an evolution for Freeman) she has achieved her signature “Glamohemian Girl” vibe: a bohemian look, a feel of worldliness, with soulfulness and vibrancy coming together in clarity through a glam lens. “In another year, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten so many different bright colors and prints, but to me it’s a fun challenge, it’s like a puzzle,” said Freeman. “How do you make all of these things work together?”

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That “make it work together” approach is what has guided Freeman from when she first moved into her house years ago, tackling an endless sea of greige walls to bringing inspired life to her deck today. Coming from a one-bedroom apartment in NYC those years ago meant she didn’t have a house full of furniture and decor, so she has been creating happy and harmonious spaces as she finds the right treasures along the way. She’s an enthusiast of second-hand goods for uniqueness and sustainability reasons, but there are pieces that she believes you should always make the budget for. “It really makes sense to invest in pillows, because there’s a difference in the way they sit, the colors, the fabric, all of that makes a lot of difference. And with outdoor pillows, you need to be sure that they’re durable, which these are,” said Freeman. “Which is especially good since we’re just moving into fall now. We’ll be able to be outside for another couple months. A little jacket on, I’m ready to go.”

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