Pretty Dandy

Portuguese doors & windows

I recently visited Portugal and spent time enjoying the beautiful beaches and quaint villages of the Algarve. This is a place I’ve been visiting for many years, where a little piece of my heart will always reside. As soon as we land and smell the eucalyptus and rosemary scented air I relax.

There are so many things I associate with this beautiful country – the red earth and scrubby bushes beaten by the heat in the height of summer, the smell of grilled fish with crisp salted skin, golden cliffs crumbling into outlandish formations and much more.

The thing I want to share with you today is something that makes my heart lift every time I see it as we drive down the coast and the first fishing villages come into sight… it’s the traditional cottages with a terracotta roof, limewashed walls (I’m told there’s even a colour called Algarve White!), intricate chimneys and bands of bright colour around the windows & doors.
Algarve houses

I remembered reading about these painted door and window frames years ago and thought I would share what I learned with you. These pretty decorations are also linked to old traditions of luck and superstition.

There are various explanations to be found for the practice, which all have a certain charm. Some link it to Moorish influences, others to Christian beliefs – for example, the robe of Jesus is white and his belt is blue. The most common are blue & yellow. Some say that the blue was traditional and supposed to keep away ghosts and insects, then yellow became fashionable in the late 19th century as a more expensive colour.

Yellow door portugal

Other accounts suggest that the painted strips are supposed to communicate with the spirit world and the different colours play different parts:

Yellow is supposed to bring money into the home, red is for general good luck, green suggests hope, pink is the colour of love (and used on the homes of newlyweds) and blue – by far the most common - is to ward off evil spirits. In some traditional cultures it is said that the devil is afraid of the colour blue and so this keeps him out.

Finally, there is a thought that the fishermen use the colour blue to remember the sea.

Whatever the significance and reason this beautiful little houses will always bring me happiness and take me back to good times with friends and family. I love the combination of colours, the powdered paint and peeling walls. Gorgeous.
Blue door paint frame algarve

I think if I were to paint one now I would choose a bright egg yolk yellow for sunshine and happiness, or a bright turquoise for spring skies and summer seas. Or perhaps a deep indigo for reflection and calm.

Which colour would you choose for your Algarve cottage and what would it mean?


Blue door portugal

Peeling blue paint

Yellow house Salema, Algarve

Salema blue house azulejos
Date: 23 Jun 2014 14:11
Author: Becky
Tags: inspiration