Some colors just feel like home, and Haint Blue is one of the colors that feel that way to me. Being a South Carolina native, it is proper for me to love it. The color known as Haint Blue originated with the Gullah people of South Carolina and Georgia. The Gullah nation once lived on coastal marshes, lowlands and Sea Islands of the southeastern US. Once stretching from Cape Fear, NC to Jacksonville, FL, they now reside primarily in the southern coast of South Carolina to the lower coast of Georgia. I have long been fascinated by the traditions, skills, dialect, and resilience of the Gullah nation.
Haint blueis the color that they painted the roofs of their porches. The word haint refers to a ghost or spirit that has not moved from the physical world into the spiritual one. It is widely believed that that the Gullah, also know as the Geechee, painted their porch ceiling, doors and window trim the soft blue-green to ward off the haints. Another theory is the blue, so similar to the sky, would confuse insects into thinking it was the sky and not a physical structure. If the bugs believed it was sky, they would not build their nests on it and if the haints believed it was sky they would not try to enter the homes. Whether it because it was a repellant of evil or bugs, or the easily available indigo dye during the time, Haint Blue is contributed to the Geechee. The great thing is this color has become popular with so many people as the go-to color for their porches. It has spread from the coastal, low country of South Carolina and Georgia to all across the US and beyond.
Haint Blue is mystical in there is not an exact color. Ask 100 people to pick out the color and you will probably get 100 different choices. It is described as a light blue-green. I have seen colors from a very pastel blue-green to near aqua called Haint Blue. A quick Internet search of the color will bring up many different examples. I feel certain that most of the Gullah mixed up the color they considered Haint for their porch.
Today I show you two colors that can easily be considered Haint Blue, mixed by using different ratios of Destin Gulf Green and Johnston Daffodil, and named Beaufort Blue and St. Helena Blue.
The lighter one is Beaufort Blue. It is an equal mix of Destin and Johnston. Did I name if after the low country town of Beaufort, SC or coastal island of Beaufort, NC? Given that my parental heritage is from both North Carolina and South Carolina, maybe I should not say….. Despite their close proximity to each other, the two town’s local residents pronounce Beaufort differently. The ‘southerners’ say it “BYOO-fert” (as in ‘beautiful’) and the ‘northerners’ say it as “BO-furt” (as in ‘Beauregard’).
While I feel sure the residents in the area of Mount Saint Helena, CA would love to claim the beautiful color St. Helena, it is named for St. Helena Island, SC. St. Helena is the deeper of the two Haint Blues. It is comprised of three parts Destin Gulf Green and one part Johnston Daffodil. On St. Helena Island, located on the campus of the former Penn Schoolm is The Penn Center, which is considered one of the most important cultural hubs for the Gullah people. The historic campus was dedicated a national historic landmark in 1974 and is the only African American landmark district in the United States.
Beaufort Blue: 1 part Johnston Daffodil to 1 part Destin Gulf Green
St. Helena Blue: 1 part Johnston Daffodil to 3 parts Destin Gulf Green
Some of our CeCe Caldwell’s Paints Retailers also used combinations of Destin Gulf Green and Johnston Daffodil.
This one is done by Jenifer Robb at Furniture Affair in Phoenix, AZ. Her process was a 50/50 mix of Johnston Daffodil and Destin Gulf Green, distress, wash of Destin Gulf Green and Vintage White, distress, light coat of wax, and then accented with Bingham Canyon Copper metallic wax.
Grace Reutzel at Old Soul Salvage in Brazoria, TX painted this corbel with a Johnston Daffodil and Destin Gulf Green mixture, distressed heavily, and then used the Hickory Stain + Finish to age.
Karen Berg at Redoux Interiors in Livermore, CA base-coated this table with Pueblo Pepper and then painted with a 50/50 mixture of Johnston Daffodil and Destin Gulf Green. She applied Hickory Stain + Finish over the top, and then spritzed water to create the weathered effect. Wet distressed for depth and then added Eldorado Gold, Sierra Silver and Shlebyville Graphite metallic waxes for dimension.
So, you can see all the different looks you can get with just these two colors. What will you be painting with Haint Blue for good luck?