Here are some fun facts about the largest home in the United States. Biltmore House's size and architecture are absolutely amazing. Even after six years of construction by 1,000+ workers, the 250-room castle was not complete when George Vanderbilt opened it in 1895. Work continued for years. Vanderbilt's diverse and cultured tastes influenced his travels with architect Hunt while Biltmore House was being constructed. The two men traveled throughout Europe and the Orient, purchasing paintings, porcelains, bronzes, carpets and furniture. He married Edith in 1898. It was definitely his life's work since he decided to build the estate at age 25 and died too young at age 52. Read more about Biltmore's history.
The house is a staggering 175,000 square feet (four acres) with 33 bedrooms, 65 fireplaces and 43 bathrooms. Almost 10 million pounds of limestone was used to build it. The entire estate originally covered 125,000 acres (now it's a modest 8,000 acres).
Your self-guided tour covers three floors and the basement. Additional sections of the house can be seen with special guided tours. While there is so much to see, take time to appreciate the amazing art collection. Get a close look at original art by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and John Singer Sargent. Marvel at magnificent 16th-century tapestries. Almost all of the priceless objects that you see throughout the house are from George and Edith Vanderbilt’s original collection. The largest room in the house is the Banquet Hall with a seven-story high ceiling and triple fireplace. Take our photo tour of the inside of the house!
In 1930, Cornelia and John Cecil opened Biltmore House to the public, hoping to increase local tourism during the Depression. In 1942, during World War II, Biltmore House stored priceless art from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.
The Library showcases Vanderbilt’s favorite passion: books. There are more than 10,000 volumes in eight languages here. Take a photo tour of Christmas inside Biltmore House.
George Vanderbilt engaged two of the most distinguished designers of the 19th century: architect Richard Morris Hunt (1828-1895) and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903). The centerpiece was a four-story stone house with a 780-foot façade—a monument that would rival the surrounding mountains in grandeur. Hunt modeled the architecture on the richly ornamented style of the French Renaissance and adapted elements, such as the stair tower and the steeply pitched roof, from three famous early 16th-century châteaux in the Loire Valley: Blois, Chenonceau and Chambord. Its scale continues to be astounding: the house contains more than 11 million bricks; the massive stone spiral staircase rises four floors and has 102 steps. Through its center hangs an iron chandelier suspended from a single point, containing 72 electric light bulbs.