Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why the blues?

I was chatting with an architect friend of mine and shared with him our discovery of turquoise blue underneath layers of paint on our front porch ceiling.  Turns out our porch is not so unique.   

He told me an old theory about why porch ceilings are painted blue.  He said that in Louisiana, people used to paint their ceilings blue to repel mosquitos.  Mosquitos hate the bright sun, and so the idea is that they hide from blue skies and will potentially hide from "blue sky look-alikes".  This trend travelled north into other areas of the South.   

This led me to research and I found a few more possible reasons for this southern trend...

1.  Blue is a calming color. 

2.  Blue wards off evil spirits, and because "haint" is another word for evil spirit, it is often referred to as "Haint Blue".  This tradition began with the Gullah people, who were descendants of slaves who worked on plantations in South Carolina and Georgia. They passed on their heritage through the stories and the beliefs of their ancestors, such as the belief that the color blue warded off  haunts or haints.

3.  And again, Blue paint repells insects, insects confuse it for the sky and don't nest on blue paint.  They also hide from the bright sun associated with blue skies. 

4.  Blue ceilings make the day feel longer.

5.  Blue ceilings date back to the mid-1770s when Prussian blue pigment became popular.  Prior to this time, blue pigment was expensive and didn't last. 
Here are some of the links I consulted:
The Whys Behind the Blue Porch Ceiling
Haint Blue Porch Ceiling Tradition
Color Diary:  Blue Porch Ceilings

Well, I loved our turquoise ceilings before, and now I love them even more knowing their some Southern history associated with it!  That was just the motivation I needed to finish scraping them so we can enjoy them!

I matched the color from our ceiling and incorporated it into our porch swing and front door...

(this night-time shot actually shows our door the best...)

P.S.  We're still trying to get our house painted!  It's been too cold to paint or caulk!  (You can't paint if the temperature is under 50).  Luckily, it's warmed up a little bit around here this week, so we're hoping to see some progress soon!

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