ColorTherapy: Adventures in Strié

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Name: Alistair Green TH27, Sergeant VM103
Brand: Ralph Lauren

Strié (French for “dragging” or “streaking”) is a painting technique used to give a wall the appearance of fabric, like raw silk. Every time I’ve used this technique it’s been with Easter-egg pastels. But for my friends with the Brooklyn brownstone, we decided to try something more adventurous.

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At first, we tried a black strié over charcoal grey to get the effect of black silk wallpaper. We tested several color combinations and the results were too leaden and lacked pizzazz. At a certain point when things aren’t working out, I have to step back and ask myself what the room wants, and this room definitely didn’t want to be black. We then began pulling colors out of the knotty pine floor, which had been stained dark green.

Several color combinations were attempted before finally alighting upon this: Ralph Lauren Alistair Green TH27 over Sergeant VM103. Alistair Green is dark and cool, and vibrates pleasantly against the warmer and lighter Sergeant. The resulting effect feels a little bit like a Wisconsin cabin from the 1940s, a bit Gothic, a bit super-sophisticated and completely idiosyncratic. I’m told that as TV rooms go, this is exceedingly cozy.

My dear friend Laura chose a non-traditional route in painting their home. Quoth she: “ I wanted to paint an entire brownstone without using pale yellow once.” I think we succeeded.

- Mark Chamberlain, interior and decorative painter

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Maxwell left teaching in 2001 to start Apartment Therapy as a design business helping people to make their homes more beautiful, organized AND healthy. The website started up in 2004 with the help of his brother, Oliver.