Fit for a King: Part I

Hearst Castle inspires kitchen and bath products for today’s home
By Ellen Sturm Niz
July 23, 2010

With 165 pristine art- and antique-filled rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces and spectacular swimming pools, Hearst Castle is a remarkable inspirational design resource. In 1919, publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst hired architect Julia Morgan to design the private home and three guesthouses for his ranch, San Simeon, in central California overlooking the coast, as well as the grounds, indoor and outdoor pools and animal shelters. Hearst and Morgan collaborated for 28 years on the creation of Hearst Castle, resulting in a massive, lavish estate.

Morgan supervised virtually every detail down to the last piece of tile. Funds from Hearst flowed through her office for the purchase of everything from Spanish antiquities to Hoover vacuum cleaners to Icelandic moss to feed the estate reindeer. She conferred with Hearst not only on the design of each structure, but also on the placement of the antiques and works of art purchased for San Simeon.

Art treasures can be found in every room of Hearst Castle. Antique ceilings, Greek vases dating from 700 B.C., rare oriental carpets and myriad works of art can be seen throughout the 110,000-sq.ft. estate. Art and architectural elements originating primarily in Spain and Italy complement the Mediterranean Revival architecture. Antique furniture, ceilings, mantels, doors, paintings, sculptures, bas-reliefs, textiles and tapestries comprise much of what is seen at Hearst Castle.

The architecture and design elements at Hearst Castle serve as inspiration for several home product lines on the market. Hearst Castle Collection is comprised of independent artisan-quality licensees whose handcrafted and individually designed home furnishings, decorative accessories and architectural details continue the design legacy of Hearst and Morgan. Proceeds from the sale of Hearst Castle Collection products help to fund the preservation and restoration of Hearst Castle, a California State Historical Monument and State Park.

“Many of the design elements being used are from rooms and locations throughout the castle that are in turn made into designs for the kitchen and bath,” said Dallas Saunders, licensing & design director, Hearst Castle Collection, referring to licensees Tilevera, Enkeboll Designs and Sóko Hardware (see photos, below). “I am looking for someone to do real functioning hardware inspired by some of the baths, the door hardware and a stove or kitchen licensee.”

Licensees also include: Barclay Butera Home upholstery and pillows; Habersham Home furniture; Taracea wood finish and inlaid wood furniture; wall decor by Natural Curiosities, decorative accessories by Castilian; lighting by Minka Group; and fabrics by Pindler & Pindler. Following are photos of the castle and the products it inspired:


This guest bath in the 5,875-sq.-ft. Casa del Mar guesthouse is one of 61 bathrooms on the property. The molding around the windows has been re-created by Enkeboll in its Hillsborough molding. (Hearst Castle Photo: Victoria Garagliano, © California State Parks)


This lower-level sitting room in the 2,604 sq.-ft. Casa del Sol guesthouse features marble columns topped with capitals designed by Morgan and re-created by Enkeboll. (Hearst Castle Photo: Dallas A. Saunders) Morgan made an architectural drawing for the wood carvers to use in creating the column caps. There are 19 sitting rooms total on the estate. (Drawing: Julia Morgan Original © Hearst Castle/California State Parks)


Enkeboll’s Pear and Fruit Molding was inspired by Morgan’s drawings for the tile design on Casa Grande’s Bell Towers, which were originally inspired by a Spanish cathedral. Available in oak, mahogany, walnut, cherry, alder, maple or special order species, Enkeboll’s Hearst Castle Collection includes other moldings, rosettes, corbels and panels. For more information, click here. (Hearst Castle Photo: Victoria Garalgiano ©Hearst Castle/California State Parks)


The Julia Morgan-designed, plaster ceiling panels of the 2,291-sq.ft. Casa del Monte guesthouse inspired four tile murals by Tilevera. Tilevera’s cluster of four mini-murals are hand-painted on stone.
Check back next week for images of the kitchen, the dining room, the library and the Roman pool.
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