Biltmore: A Laboratory of Ideas

George Vanderbilt probably never imagined his home would one day serve as inspiration for the development of retail items, ranging from formal china to hand-scraped hard wood floors. Today, more than a hundred years later, that is what is happening in Asheville, N.C., with the growth of Biltmore For Your Home and Biltmore Chateau Reserve branded products.

Designers from across the United States come to Biltmore to explore the estate. They pour over every detail, looking for inspiration in an iron railing or stone carving, hoping to create the next top-selling design.  

The product development process is true to industry standards, but the laboratory at Biltmore cannot be replicated. It is an environment of rare and refined character.  

Once licensing contracts are signed, Biltmore representatives spend several days touring the estate with licensees—visiting Biltmore House, the grounds, the winery, estate barns and other structures. Areas normally closed to the public are opened to licensed partners. Many who come consider it a dream assignment and an exciting opportunity to demonstrate their craft.   At Biltmore, no two people find inspiration in the same place. With 8,000 acres of beauty, it is easy to understand why. The collection in Biltmore House alone includes more than 70,000 art objects and antiques, including priceless works of art from all over the world and fine furnishings from a range of design eras.  

Inspirations take many forms. Some products are very literal reproductions of the original, while others start as a delicate ink well or a rose from the Walled Garden and return from the production line as unique home furnishings, home building products, outdoor living or landscaping items. Another great laboratory, taking a cue from the estate’s six restaurants, is Biltmore’s venture into the gourmet food category, which features a line of dressings and marinades inspired by estate chefs and the Vanderbilt family’s love of food and entertaining.  

Biltmore’s grounds offer more opportunity. The spectacular formal gardens, rolling hills, forests and farmland serve as endless inspiration for growers and nurseries. Old homes and barns dot the property, and while they contrast with the opulent Biltmore House, their subtle details are equally enchanting. Something as simple as an architectural element may provide ideas for an entire line of outdoor planters and accessories, or brilliant flowers in the gardens may offer suggestions for a range of beautiful rug designs or lavish bedding.  

The estate is a world away from life’s demands, a sanctuary inside its preserved boundaries. Untouched mountain views, protected wildlife and quiet footpaths invite visitors to slow down and step back in time. Licensees, too, enjoy the experience and can quickly find creative ways to bring the retreat’s wonder to today’s homes.  

Results of this exploration and adaptation take on every shape and appeal to a broad range of consumer tastes. The Biltmore For Your Home and premium brand Biltmore Chateau Reserve names reflect the craftsmanship and quality found at Biltmore. The product itself, however, serves as a memento of something that caught a designer or chef’s eye among a million possibilities.  

About Biltmore’s Home Products Division
Drawing on the iconic style and hospitality for which Biltmore is known, Biltmore For Your Home and Biltmore Chateau Reserve offer consumers the opportunity to bring the legacy of gracious living, craftsmanship and beauty of design into their own homes. To learn more about Biltmore’s licensing division, visit