Behind Biltmore’s Hidden Doors
Written By Joanne O'Sullivan
Designed both for aesthetics and hospitality, Biltmore’s hidden 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.