Have you ever heard of the color Haint Blue? If not, I am sure that you still have seen it. Have you ever gone to Charleston, S.C or Savannah, G.A and looked at the enchanting porches with blue ceilings? If not, put it on your must see list. There, you will see front porches that are as dreamy as any front porch that you’ve seen in the movies. The porches call to you, saying “come and sit and have sweet tea with me.” The Southern front porch tends to have white railings and columns, blue ceilings, lovely ceiling fans, comfortable furniture, and lazily flowing green ferns. It was the blue ceilings that caught my eye. The tradition to paint the ceiling blue has become so strong that it has spread across the nation as a common practice, however, where did that practice come from?
A Vacation to the Sunny South
Nine years ago, I visited Savannah, Georgia for the first time. ( Side note: I fell in love with Savannah and have an addiction to going there.) The first day of my visit, I decided to take a trolley tour to get to know the history and layout of the city. During that tour, I saw one gorgeous, huge home after another. Some of the homes were stucco and others were brick and each one is just jaw dropping, beautiful and elegant. The tour then took us closer towards the Pirate House where the homes changed. Here, the houses were made with wooden siding and had a cottage feel. Most noteworthy are the vivid colors that each are painted. That’s when I fell in love with Haint Blue. I asked our guide why so many doorways and ceilings had been painted blue and his answer intrigued me.
So where did it come from?
Apparently, Haint Blue has historical roots. We can thank the Gullah people for this color. The Gullah people are descendants of enslaved Africans, of various ethnic groups, that now live in parts of Georgia and South Carolina. The Gullah people believed that water protected them from evil spirits. The idea was that spirits can’t pass over water, therefore, to protect their homes, the Gullah people chose a paint color that looked like water. The Gullah people would then paint their doors, door ways, shutters and porch ceilings with the color to trick the spirits and prevent them entry.
But what about the name, Haint?
Haint is a variation of the word haunt. Haunts were a way of saying spirits or ghosts. So the color became Haint Blue. It is said that the original Haint Blue was bright like the water of the Caribbean, however some say it’s a soft blue, while still others say a it’s a mix of green and blue.
Fast forward to now.
At this point in my life, I was still living in Pennsylvania and I didn’t own a front porch. However, it was on that trip to Savannah that I decided that Savannah was where I was meant to be. Just a short time after we had returned home from our trip, my husband was offered a transfer with his company to the Atlanta area of Georgia. I could not even begin to contain my excitement. It’s still a four hour drive to Savannah, but I am a heck of a lot closer than I was in Pennsylvania. When we finally bought our Georgia home, I could not believe my fortune. The house we found is a Greek Revival with a massive front porch. You can bet that the first bucket of paint that I bought was Haint Blue, and I painted my front door.
How does a blue door work with decorating for the seasons?
I love my door. Every time I come home it makes me smile. I enjoy putting different seasonal wreaths on her. December through February, I hang my favorite wreath, a beautiful red wreath from TJMaxx. It’s gorgeous for Christmas and Valentines. Truthfully. I leave it up until I decorate for Easter. The bright cherry red and the Haint Blue is my favorite color combination. This color door looks lovely with the pastels of spring, the golds of fall and the bright colors of summer. Don’t be afraid to try it and if you do, please share a picture here or tag me on your Instagram feed!
Does painting my door Haint Blue mean I believe in ghosts?
In case you are wondering, no, I didn’t paint my door Haint blue to protect myself from spirits. It was too late for that. Savannah had already enchanted me.