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The Most Genius Ideas in Phillip Smith and HB Style Director Robert Rufino's Home

The cozy retreat is full of creative design solutions.

living room designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese

We all love swooning over beautiful houses. But at House Beautiful, we especially love inspiring homes where clever upgrades and creative DIY design solutions abound. At the weekend retreat of Phillip Smith, where House Beautiful's Senior Style Director Robert Rufino is a "permanent houseguest," there's no shortage of these. Smith and Rufino's cozy retreat is full of their lovingly accrued collections—and more than a few smart styling solutions. From unconventional window treatments to brilliant uses for found objects, here are five ideas from the stylish duo that you'll definitely want to try at home.

An elegant privacy solution

living room designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese

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In the living room, Smith found a clever way to achieve privacy without blocking out the natural light and the fantastic views. “All I see is nature here, and I never want to hide that,” he says of the decision to eschew drapery. Instead, on the lower panes of windows facing the road, Smith created a whitewash effect with a white China marker (or wax pencil), a trick he used for many years in New York apartments with close proximity to neighbors. The solution gives the glass an artful effect that up close looks like an abstract painting.

A temporary alternative to reupholstering

bedroom designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese
roberts room designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese

When you see as many textiles in your regular life as Rufino does, you're bound to be tempted to swap them out. So it's little surprise that in several of the rooms at his and Smith's home, upholstered furniture is covered in fabrics that serve as makeshift slipcovers. Smith's bedroom gets a graphic treatment with a blue plaid throw from
Les Indiennes, while in Robert's, a well-loved armchair is covered in an indigo print.

Upcycled handmade art

primary bedroom designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese

To capture and reflect light in his bedroom, Smith fashioned an unconventional hanging art piece by stringing crystals from a vintage chandelier onto a bunch of wire he found while walking near the house.

Antlers as wall hooks

room designed by phillip smith
Francesco Lagnese

In another resourceful use of found objects, Smith and Rufino ran a line of antlers around the perimeter of Rufino's room for him to use as hooks for a collection of hats.

White painted floors

The home's previous owner had covered the floors upstairs in maple with a finish Smith didn't love. Instead of shelling out to refinish them—or investing in an entirely new floor—he painted them white, creating a neutral base while also reflecting light across the home's second story.

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