The Cross House

What Color To Paint My 1894 Porch Ceiling?

The Cross House has four porch ceilings. There is the expansive L-shaped front porch. The petite north porch. The petite rear porch. And the expansive ceiling to the porte-cochère. This image is from the north porch. You can see the original very pale olive ceiling color. This was followed by what appears to be two colors of blue. Then many many many coats of white. I will be scraping off the white today. Fun! (Not.)


I was determined to repaint the house in the original colors. And I thought I had. But this year I belatedly discovered that while I got the trim color right, I ended up selecting the second wall color, because I assumed that the VERY pale color under was primer!

So, while the colors I am using are period-correct, and were on the house way back when, the colors were not actually used together.

Yep, I am a ding-dong.

Anyway, what all this means is that I feel somewhat exempt from returning to vary pale olive for the porch ceilings, even though it was original.

I may though decide to use it.

But I have always loved blue porch ceilings.


This is from a FABULOUS 1898 catalog. Note the blue porch ceiling. Pale blue.


Another color scheme, but with same blue ceiling. Now, ready for a SHOCK?


Pink! Incredible! PINK! In a million years I would never have thought that people painted their porch ceilings pink! PINK!


More pink! I love how intense this color scheme is.


More pink!


More pink!


And how about…violet!


And the same violet with a  different color scheme!


The catalog shows many different porch ceilings colors, which goes to show that there was no default color for porch ceilings.

So, should I go with very pale olive? Or blue?

Oh, the decisions! The decisions!



19 Responses to What Color To Paint My 1894 Porch Ceiling?

  1. I’ve read many times about a particular blue referred to as Haint Blue. To ward off negative spirits and bugs. And Victorians were said to be very superstitious! My 2 cents worth !

    • The blue also keeps mud dobers ( wasp) from building nests as they think it is the sky. It is also a deters other insects such as flies and such from hanging around.

  2. Benjamin Moores Woodlawn Blue is a blue/green and is a soft blue with enough green in it to not clash with your wall color.

  3. And P.S. If you decide you want to paint the constellations in your tower or somewhere, you can get the Sky Map app on your phone and go back in time to when the house was built or your birthday or whenever and find the exact positions of the stars on that day.

  4. So what I was thinking is to consider using the pale olive on the two expansive porch areas and treat yourself to the blue on the two petite porch ceilings…

    Ross, I just really enjoy all of your adventures with the Cross House and it sure has inspired me in my efforts to polish up my own old gem!

  5. I would go for the blue. The folk belief that I’ve heard is that painting your porch ceiling blue keeps evil spirits from entering your house. This is because having the porch ceiling the same color of the sky confuses the evil spirits so much that they stay away from your house. I guess evil spirits aren’t real bright.

  6. Go with what makes you happy. I personally vote for the light blue; it was undoubtedly used on the house at one point, and I remember you stating once on this blog that you wanted the house to appear as a house that had changed throughout it’s history. Besides, this way, you can look out your door on the gloomiest day and still see blue skies!

  7. Wow, I love the old catalog! I also had no idea so many different colors were used! The pink is pretty crazy!

    I’m undecided on our porch ceiling too (and floor, for that matter). The original appears to be light blue (current is white), but since we’re painting the siding a darker blue, I have reservations about adding yet another color (we already went with a high-contrast scheme with blue body, white trim, and red secondary trim).

    In any case, I’m NOT looking forward to scraping 103 years of paint off of finely grooved beadboard. Ugh.

  8. For me there is no question that it should be the very pale olive that was there originally, which looks like it’s probably Capertree. The choice seems so obvious to me that I’m surprised you’re even considering other colors. It’s needed to complete the theme you’ve started. Even if one of the colors is darker than original, it’s still part of that olive theme. (I’d also use Capertree on the inside walls of the south balcony, because I think that space could use a lighter color than the rest of the exterior.)

    If you do make the porch ceilings blue, make it a strong enough blue that it does not just read as white.

Leave a Response

Your email address will NEVER be made public or shared, and you may use a screen name if you wish.