What I learned when I wrote that piece for Southern Living is that haint blue, or Gullah blue, has many shades and interpretations associated with it.
No one had ever written about haint blue at Southern Living at the time (kind of crazy considering the magazine was founded in the sixties and I arrived in 2003) but it was a color I'd been fascinated with for years.
I first learned about it from my South Carolina Grandmother, who told me that painting porch ceilings that particularly Southern shade of blue kept ghosts, or haints, away. The minute she let that spooky idea slip, I was hooked. I begged my parents to paint our porch ceiling in Virginia haint blue. And I looked for it everywhere. On family road trips I would peer out the window at every house and crane my neck to see if the homeowners had painted their porch ceiling haint blue. And I felt a wave of relief each time I spotted a house with a haint blue porch ceiling because I knew everyone inside that house was safe from, well, the Boogeyman. To a child, it was addictive stuff.
It's a game I still play, especially now that I live in Charleston, a city long associated with the history of the color.
Here are a few of the local porch ceilings I saw a few afternoons ago, from Sullivan's Island to downtown Charleston (below). No Boogeymen in sight.
I prefer the chalky, icy variations of haint blue, because they look like they faded from a brighter hue over time.
My favorite is Benjamin Moore's Polar Sky.