Piazzas are a common part of design seen in many Charleston single houses. Before air conditioning, they were needed to get the cooling, prevailing breezes from the sea. Nowadays, they are used for sipping morning coffee before the sun rises, and refreshing cocktails with guests in the evening. The open-air living spaces have become an integral part of the Charleston lifestyle.
A staple in Southern design, "Piazza Blue" is a color often seen on the ceilings of these side porches. Originating from the Gullah Geechee culture, "Haint Blue" is a deep turquoise color, believed to keep away evil spirits. It has also been said that the color helps to battle bugs, which is always a plus. Designers have been painting porch ceilings the blue shade for centuries, in varying hues from the traditional turquoise to more subdued, icy blues, and cool, blue-greens.
Interior Designer Jonathan Savage grew up with "Dirt Dauber Blue" porch ceilings, which were supposed to keep wasps from building nests. In the 2017 Kips Bay Decorator Show House, he used Farrow & Ball's Borrowed Light on the ceiling to "incorporate different elements of the South" in his space.
Farrow & Ball - Borrowed Light
Blue ceilings are such a tradition in the South that Richmond, VA Interior Designer, Suellen Gregory, believes they "evoke a feeling of the past and make people feel comfortable and cozy." She gets a lot of client requests, and often times uses Sherwin-Williams's Atmospheric, or Benjamin Moore's Breath of Fresh Air.
Sherwin Williams - Atmospheric
Benjamin Moore - Breath of Fresh Air
Benjamin Moore's color and design expert, Hannah Yeo, said that although "blue porch ceilings have been a long-standing tradition in many parts of the Southern states for centuries, the tradition has made its way beyond the South, influencing design across the country." Her picks for the best Benjamin Moore blues are, in order: Palladian Blue, Harbor Haze, Clear Skies, and Arctic Blue.
As you can see, the original Haint Blue has been interpreted in many different ways over the years. The Colors of Historic Charleston paint palette is a great reflection of the architecture, decorative arts, and garden designs seen throughout Charleston. Below is their interpretation of "Piazza Blue."
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