Reclaimed Antique Pine: "Haint Blue"

While our stock of antique flooring and wood was being sorted, I came across these great old boards of heart pine, salvaged from two-hundred year old porches, and still bearing their old patina of "porch-ceiling blue." 

Now this pleasant blue-green color did not always bear that name. In the South, it's traditionally called "haint blue," and bears a historically and supernaturally significant history.

The word "haint" comes from the Gullah, a group of African American freed or run-away slaves that inhabited the coastal South East, especially in South Carolina, and the Savannah area, and means a haunt, ghost, or spirit. 

Haunt-blue painted ceiling of the Owens-Thomas House's carriage-house. Photo courtesy of David McSpadden.

Haunt-blue painted ceiling of the Owens-Thomas House's carriage-house. Photo courtesy of David McSpadden.

 

The color, made from indigo and other local ingredients, was applied to the undersides of porch ceilings, and the interior of Gullah homes in order to provide a barrier for spirits. 

Savannah, of course, is renowned for its haunted buildings, and is considered one of the most haunted cities in the country, thus haint blue was applied all throughout the historic district of the city to keep the supernatural denizens from taking up unwanted residence. 

Haint-blue found in the Owens-Thomas House's carriage house, still visible after hundreds of years. Photo credit here.

Another stunning image of the color. Photo credit here.

These supernatural protective measures became so ubiquitous, that even the famous Owens-Thomas house's carriage house, then the slave's quarters, was painted with it, and is one of the larger examples of original haint-blue paint remaining. 

We've taken to reusing original boards and pieces of timber still coated in the paint, for example with this reclaimed heart pine long Farm Table, with a salvaged and repurposed porch-wood skirt:

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Or this small reclaimed heart pine castored console table, with an old frame we've reused, and a historic bluish hue:

We love reusing this color in our projects, the color gives a warmth to the wood, and the presence of the color is a reminder, though its purpose is to prevent revenants from returning, of the specter of history always present and rarely seen. 

If you're interested, or have a project in mind, please feel free to contact us

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