By Heather Aitken
Photography by Ryan Paul Marchese
Our mission at Rick Aitken Builders is to ensure peace of mind while creating an enjoyable experience for our clients as they design and build their family castle in the sand. Vincent Van Gogh, one of Rick’s favorite artists, once said that “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” When creating the dream home of our client, large and small details are equally important. Even the smallest of details are thoroughly addressed.
Sharing Rick’s appreciation of architecture, the homeowner of the featured Long Beach Island lagoon front home brought to their meetings her case-bound books filled with photographs of the old southern Victorian homes she loved. Show-cased now in finely crafted wooden built-ins, the books feature many design elements that she incorporated into her own custom home. One of the unique architectural details of the home is the blue ceiling.
Traditionally, southern Victorian homes were painted colors inspired by elements of nature. From those old southern color traditions, the sky-blue ceiling is now appearing within northern coastal communities. The history of this stunning color trend may surprise you.
The sky-blue ceiling has been a tradition in southern homes for generations. The color, known in the South as “Haint Blue”, is rooted in legend. According to southern folklore, evil spirits or haints are believed to be unable to cross water. To protect their homes and families from incorporeal beings, many believers along the Carolina Coast, and throughout the South painted the ceilings, shutters, window frames and doors of their homes the color of blue green water. Others believed cool blue tones repelled insects, and painted ceilings sky-blue to trick insects into seeing the blue ceiling as open sky. Though discredited as to tricking insects, they would have avoided contact with historical milk paints as they conveniently contained lye, a known insect repellent. Whatever the reason, the cheerful, relaxing sky colored ceiling continues to be a coastal trend.
Paint stores and interior designers may have suggestions for the perfect blue ceiling, but who’s to say what blue is right for you? A custom color was created for our client as a transparent stain. Color variations were applied to several species of wood and a variety of grain patterns. Dozens of samples later we arrived at her perfect blue shade, shown here recessed within the coffered ceiling that extends the length of the spacious open floor plan. Keeping with southern Victorian tradition, the same custom blue color extends out to the porch ceiling overlooking the lagoon.
When it came time for the final walk through our teary-eyed customer joyfully remarked “I just can’t believe that this is my house.” At Rick Aitken Builders, making dreams a reality is what we find most fulfilling about building on Long Beach Island.
Whatever your dream home may look like, our team is prepared to bring it to fruition. Trust that we are dedicated to meeting the intention of our customers design concepts while advising what is architecturally possible. This collaboration of ideas integrated with Rick’s thirty-years of experience is precisely what makes every Aitken project as exceptional as the client. If you can dream it, we can build it.