Updated 7 Apr 2013
This page has no affiliation, implied or otherwise with Biltmore. It is an entirely independant work.
Copyrigted material is appropriately cited and is not used for monetary gain. Take-down requests of copyrighted material will be
respected. Take-down requests of original work do not violate any US laws and will not be respected unless proven
This page is a documentation of my effort to reverse-engineer or obtain a complete floor plan of the Biltmore House located in Asheville,
NC, as the current house owners appear to refuse to sell prints of the original plans, for which I would gladly pay large sums of money.
If the site gets enough traffic, I will add forums and a wiki where users may add their own efforts in this vein. If you wish to
contribute in the mean time, please email me. (Include any citation information
you would like included if your work is added to the site). For now, my own work is shown below:
Note: You can right click the above image and click "Save Image As" to get it in 2442x1220
This image was obtained from The Architecture of Richard Morris Hunt, edited by Susan R. Stein, p. 158. The book cites as "Courtesy of Biltmore Estate", so there are likely no more
Click here for an annotated version of the above. Room labels, etc. are typed on out the image as many are very difficult to read on the original scan.
Note: You may download the full-size versions of these as described above.
These images were obtained from From Boilers to Dynamos: Turn-of-the-Century Technology at Biltmore House, by Cathleen Henshaw, pages
28 and 29. (Copyright 1991, The Biltmore Company). The images are captioned "Detail from Electric Circuit Drawing, ca. 1894". The salient
information contained in these images are the details of stairs, bathrooms, and closets in the Louis XV wing, and the partial verification
of the Randwulf second floor drawing below.
Sub Basement Complete Original Plan contributed by a reader (my apologies for forgetting to put this up for so long)
A Note on Floor Levels
The Biltmore House actually has at least one "half level" for every full level shown below. These are most often used in the Service Wing of the House, but it's also used for the Louis XV Wing above
the library, among other places. Take note of this, especially when viewing the Second Floor. Stage Two of this project, creating physical, high-detail drawings, will make this very clear with each
level getting its own "floor".
The following is from an email exchange with reader Scott Atkinson who has a much more complete structural knowledge of the house than myself:
Most of the ceiling heights then follow a pattern from the first floor: 20 foot tall 1st floor, 14 foot 2nd floor, 12 foot 3rd floor, and 10 foot 4th floor. The main elevator rises to these levels as well as down to the basement. Floors three and four are all within the roof excepting the rear towers that include the rooms over the owner's suite. There, the owner's suite has an 18 foot ceiling raising all the floors above by four feet, and the third floor of both towers is not in the roof. The thickness of the structural floors is two feet, nominally. Starting from the south, these are the other exceptions to the ceiling heights:
1. The library pavilion is 26 feet on the first floor to accommodate the balcony level of the library, but the floors above follow the 14-12-10 foot pattern resulting in stairs from each level of the tapestry gallery wing to the library pavilion. This not the same as the half-floors of the service and bachelor wings.
2. The winter garden obviously has no floor above it and I am uncertain of the peak height of its glass roof. The roof over portions of the gallery that surround the winter garden are just a step down form the second floor.
3. The banquet hall rises to a peak of 60 feet, but there is still a 10 foot floor with service rooms above it that is very narrow and accessible from a separate third floor staircase.
4. The bachelor wing follows an entirely different pattern: 14 foot 1st floor, 12 foot 2nd floor, 10 foot 3rd floor, and 8 foot 4th floor which is only an attic with no windows, but is accessible by the service stair tower adjacent. This stair tower has landings on floors 1, 1½, 2½, and 3½. This is how Hunt labeled these four levels. Levels 1½ and 2½ access the guest rooms over the billiard room, which are 6 feet higher, by means of stairs from the bachelor hallways, as the banquet hall height prevents any connection to the rest of the 2nd floor of the house. Only floor 1½ has guest rooms. Floor 2½ has servant rooms. The stairs also go to the basement and sub-basement.
5. The servant wing is even more complex, though its stair tower and elevator stop at the same levels as the bachelor wing. The butler's pantry has the 20 foot ceiling of the main block allowing it a balcony level of sorts, with three 8 foot levels above it including Mrs. Vanderbilt's bath and dressing rooms, a maid's sitting room, and a bathroom for the tower suite of bedrooms. The more northern end of the servant wing follows the same pattern as the bachelor wing with 14-12-10-8 foot ceilings, again with the top level being just an attic.
Official House Map Compilation
Below is a compilation of official house tour maps released at various times:
These are sourced primarily from the 2009 Biltmore House Guide and 2001 "A Guide to Biltmore Estate"
Note: As proved by the above original floor plan, my additions to this image are not 100% accurate. Please reference the original plan for the First Floor.
1 - Entrance Hall;
2 - Winter Garden;
3 - Billard Room;
4 - Banquet Hall;
5 - Breakfast Room;
6 - Salon;
7 - Music Room;
8, 10 - Tapestry Gallery;
9 - Library;
53 - Smoking Room;
54 - Gun Room;
55 - Bachelor's Wing Hallway;
65 - Butler's Pantry;
66 - [Unknown Room(s)];
67 - Dishwashing Room (Modern floral workshop)
View Unmodified Merge
Items 65-67 added as seen on the Butler's Tour in Feb. 2011. Item 66 is not on the tour, but it's doors are clearly
visible. Item 67 was corrected by a reader.
11 - Second Floor Living Hall;
12 - Mr. Vanderbilt's Bedroom;
13 - Oak Sitting Room;
14 - Mrs. Vanderbilt's Bedroom;
(4 - Banquet Hall below);
29 - Damask Room;
30 - Claude Room;
31 - Tyrolean Chimney Room;
32 - Louis XV Room;
33 - Louis XV Hallway;
34 - Grand Staircase;
56 - Sheraton Room;
57 - Chippendale Room;
58 - Old English Room;
59 - Louis XVI Room;
60 - Mrs. Vanderbilt's Dressing Area, Closets and Bathroom;
61 - Mrs. Vanderbilt's "Personal Maid" Bedroom;
62 - Sewing Room;
63 - Outside Veranda;
64 - Open Roof Area above Winter Garden;
70 - Bachelor's Wing Hall (1.5 Floor);
71 - Bachelor's Wing Hall w/ Balcony (2nd Floor);
72 - Organ Service;
73, 74 - Bedrooms;
75 - Cecil Living Room;
76 - Mrs. Cecil's (Cornelia Vanderbilt) Bedroom;
77 - Mr. John Cecil's Bedroom;
78 - Mr. and Mrs. Cecil's Bathrooms
View Unmodified Merge
Items 60-63 are added as seen on the Butler's Tour in Feb. 2011. The staircase between items 60 and 61 seems quite odd, but it makes much more sense from the rear elevation.
(Image sourced from The Architecture of Richard Morris Hunt (See above)). The area in question is at the far left of the image. RMH has drawn the floor levels on his exterior elevation, and even
shows this staircase.
Items 70-77 are shown after the mid-1910's remodel. Item 72 was originally a small group of bathrooms; Item 75 was likely originally split into two bedrooms. (Original
here meaning the 1896 RMH design). NOT SHOWN, adjacent to item 76 is a sleeping porch, visible from the stable courtyard today. You can recognize it as a small
"peninsula" on the second floor. The window frames are all painted black and the 3 outside walls are all windows. The information in this paragraph and relevant
information on the map was provided by a reader who wished to be cited as "R.S."
It is also important to note the similarity between this map and the original electrical plan above. A reader has informed me that the electrical plans shown above
were likely an earlier revision drawn when the pipe organ was still slated to be installed during construction (As stated in official information, the House was not
built with the pipe organ, but it was planned for). The house as it stands today, in this regard, is closest to how GWV wanted the house, but not necessarily
how it was originally built.
The above image is another third party effort showing details of the second floor Bachelor's Wing. The following is from an email exchange with the author:
For both Biltmore and Stan Hywet, after creating my initial plans (an educated guess from much research and many resources), I've since had input provided from descendants of both families.
As such, I have more detail I need to include now, but haven't yet found the time.
This second floor is more accurate than my own, as it properly shows the Library balcony, rather than the Louis XV bedrooms, above the Library.
The library balcony is on a level unique to the House. The Louis XV bedrooms are on "Level 2.5". While in the House today, notice the gated off staircase
at the end of the second floor hallway going down (next to the one that goes up to the Louis XV wing) - this goes to the concealed door behind the library
15 - Third Floor Living Room;
16 - Bathroom;
17 - South Tower Room;
18 - Raphael Room;
19 - Earlom Room;
20 - North Tower Room;
(4 - Banquet Hall below);
25 - Watson Room;
26 - Van Dyck Room;
27 - Morland Room;
28 - Madonna Room;
68 - Mrs. King's Bedroom/Office;
69 - Several Unknown Rooms*
79 - Hoppner Room;
80 - Walnut Room;
81 - Gainsborough Room;
82 - Balcony Room;
83-88 - Bedrooms;
89 - "Dormitory Style" Bathrooms;
90 - Storage Room;
91 - Bachelor's Wing Hall (2.5 Floor);
92 - Bachelor's Wing Hall (3rd Floor)
View Unmodified Merge
Item 69 is not open to the public, but at least two doors are visible along the hallway leading into this area. There is also a small closet just outside Mrs. King's
bedroom here. It is also important to note that in the service area of the house, Mrs. King's bedroom lies on the top floor. There is most definitely only attic
space above the rooms in the service wing here, if that.
Items 79-83 were contributed by reader Scott Atkinson.
Items 84-92 were contributed by reader "R.S.". The vertical relationship between items 91 and 92 is mostly speculative based on the 2nd Floor layout of
the Bachelor's Wing; also unknown is the exact placement of the staircase that connects the 2nd and 3rd floor, thus it is not shown. The small room
above Item 84 is a bathroom, the even smaller room next to it is another Organ Service room.
21 - Servant's Bedrooms;
22 - Servant's Hall;
23 - Architectural Model Room;
24 - Observatory
The small gap between rooms 22 and 23 contains a staircase to the roof. The Observatory has a small second floor which contains
a small balcony and two roof access points.
35 - Stone Hallway;
36 - Halloween Room;
37 - Bowling Alley;
38 - Dressing Rooms;
39 - Swimming Pool;
40 - Gymnasium;
41 - Vegetable Pantry;
42 - Walk-in Refrigerators;
43 - Kitchen Maid's Bedrooms;
44 - Pastry Kitchen;
45 - Rotisserie Kitchen;
46 - Main Kitchen;
47 - Kitchen Pantry (Dumbwaiters)
48 - Servant's Dining Room;
49 - Service Entrance;
50 - Work Rooms;
51 - Brown Laundry;
52 - Main Laundry and Drying Room;
2009 House Guide PDF sourced from romanticasheville.com
- Compile additions into the above images as a block diagram
- Create physical sketches of the house
- Add verifiable measurments to sketches
- Transfer sketches to Google SketchUp or Autodesk Revit
- Fill in dimensions so all rooms fit cleanly into known space
Original Scan from 2001 "A Guide to Biltmore Estate"