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Behind Biltmore’s Hidden Doors
Posted on 09/21/2015 by Joanne O'Sullivan Comments(9)
Biltmore House was designed both for aesthetics and hospitality. Concealed doors, such as the one pictured above in the Billiard Room, were designed to create a seamless appearance but provide access for staff providing service and convenience for guests; in this case, gentlemen who wanted to retire to the Smoking Room after a game of billiards.
When you're in the Breakfast Room, your attention is bound to be drawn to the two Renoir portraits "Young Algerian Girl" and "Child with an Orange." If you look just below "Child with an Orange," you'll notice the doorknob to the concealed door, designed to create a seamless appearance on the wall but allow servants to enter with hot meals.
Have you ever wondered what's behind the doors on the top floor of the Library? Here's your peek. The doors located on both sides of the overmantel lead to a passageway connected to the Second Floor Living Hall.
Every detail of the architecture at Biltmore was carefully considered. To avoid the break in symmetry that would be required by a door frame, closet doors were concealed in certain rooms, such as this one in Mr. Vanderbilt's Bedroom.
Although early plans indicate that there was to be an elevator in the Winter Garden, one was never installed and instead, there's a ladder. The door is covered in marble slabs and is rarely opened except to allow for ventilation in the employee break room below it in the summer.
Read more about the intracate details of Biltmore House, here.Return to Blog
Posted on 02/07/2018 By Ryan R
As someone mentions below there is another secret door in George's bedroom. It is a much smaller door and is on the other side of the door way into his room. As the main door is open during tours this, secret door is behind it. If you look back behind the door in the corner of the room you will see the outline. I really want to know what this door goes to. I have been led to believe it may have been used to sneak women into George's room. Would love to know the details.
Posted on 12/04/2017 By Dan S
We just got back from Biltmore (again). We go there all the time. I keep prodding the workers there to allow me into the area's where people cannot go. No luck so far. There are still many places I want to get into. I've been to the sub-basement before they stopped that.
Posted on 04/02/2016 By Adam H
Can we get a picture of inside the hidden closet that is opposite, to the left, behind the bedroom door in Mr Vanderbuilt's room? I have always wondered what was in that closet!
Posted on 11/04/2015 By Beth R
I've often wondered if there is a book or publication somewhere that has the floorplans of Biltmore for purchase. If not, that would be a GREAT project for someone to take on (oh if I only lived in Asheville!) and to photograph. Everyone-and I mean Everyone wonders what is behind so many of those doors and if they are closets/hallways/nooks/etc. A pictorial of more unseen areas would be a great seller!
Posted on 10/20/2015 By Cecil M
As season pass holder, love visiting ! I've taken the Roof top and Butlers tours, I've thought about personal guided tour. Are there rooms on this I've not seen on previous tours ? Look forward to my Christmas visit !!!
Posted on 10/20/2015 By Michelle T
I love coming the the estate. I an annual pass holder for 2 years. My best friend and myself love visiting the estate. We find different things every time we make the trip over to Ashville. I love reading the articles that are posted it makes visiting the estate even more interesting.
Posted on 10/06/2015 By sbell
Doug - You are correct, great catch! We have corrected the mistake. Andrea - John Cecil did not remarry and the last year anyone lived in Biltmore House was 1957. -Biltmore
Posted on 10/02/2015 By Doug M
Regarding the first picture of the concealed door in the Billiard Room, I thought that particular door led to the Smoking Room, not the Gun Room, as stated.
Posted on 09/21/2015 By andrea c
After Cornelia and John Cecil divorced did he ever remarry?When was the last year someone lived in the Biltmore?