I recently returned from my vacation to Germany, Austria, and Croatia, and my head is still swimming from cultural overload (or am I just detoxing from all of that great beer?). We spent most of our time driving through Southern Germany and then took a train to Salzburg, Austria, by far my favorite place on the trip. What struck me the most were the painted houses and buildings: pinks and grays were neighbors to yellows and greens—and for some reason they all seem to get along quite nicely.

     One interesting color factoid emerged from our tour through the countryside (The Sound of Music tour; don’t laugh—I initially resisted, but it turned out to be a great way to see the city) and a stop at Hellbrunn Palace, a striking yellow-gold summer home built for the Archbishop of Austria in 1613, which you can see from a mile away. Our guide informed us that “Schonbrunn Gold” was the favorite color of Archduchess of Austria Maria Therese and thus became the standard for her palace buildings, garden walls, and just about any administrative built under her rule. The color is also supposed to have the unique characteristic of repelling mosquitoes. Interested in trying it out for yourself? The closest thing I can find is Farrow & Ball’s “Babouche 223.” Luckily, it’s not available in exterior masonry paint (I don’t think your neighbors are quite ready for your Austrian bungalow), but it is available in exterior eggshell-perfect for doors, gates, large flower pots, or even your old picnic table. Just add a stein of beer and your palace is complete.