Fit for a King: Part II

Hearst Castle inspires kitchen and bath products for today’s home
By Ellen Sturm Niz
July 28, 2010

Editor’s note:Part I of this tour of Hearst Castle covered a guest bath in the Casa del Mar guesthouse, a sitting room in the Casa del Sol guesthouse, Casa Grande’s Bell Towers and a plaster paneled ceiling in the Casa del Monte, all of which have spawned product collections for today’s kitchens and baths. This week’s installment takes us to the kitchen, the dining room, the library and the Roman Pool.


The hotel-size kitchen of Hearst Castle is located on the ground floor at the south end of Casa Grande and served all of the estate’s guests breakfast, lunch and dinner. The kitchen is quite industrial, featuring Monel metal countertops, decorative ceramic tiles around the windows and two beer taps. A variable number of staff worked in the kitchen, usually around 11 people, including a chef; an assistant chef; a pastry chef; a ‘help’ cook, whose duty it was to cook for the staff; a dishwasher; a butler; and waiters and maids. The kitchen featured an oil-burning stove/oven, custom made in California in the style of French and European stoves. The cooktop is similar to that found on an Aga. The kitchen also included baking ovens, an indoor grill and an indoor electric rotisserie.

The Refectory is the only dining room at Hearst Castle. Typically on weekends there were somewhere between 10 to 50 guests. The 60,645-sq.-ft. Casa Grande featured 38 bedrooms, while the guesthouses offered another 18. Over the years, Hearst entertained many famous people from the entertainment industry, politics and other notable figures. Guests included Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Winston Churchill, Calvin Coolidge, Charles Lindberg and George Bernard Shaw. (Top photo: Trey Ratcliff, StuckInCustoms.com) (Bottom photo: Hearst is seated on the right side of the table at center, next to the two chairs that are pulled out.)  

Guests enjoyed excellent meals while dining at the castle. A typical dinner menu from the Hearst Castle Cookbook on November 28, 1945, featured lentil soup, roast ringneck pheasant, bread crumbs and bread sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, buttered string beans and apricot tartlets. Hearst always had the table set with catsup, mustard and paper napkins.

Tilevera’s carved panel with a sepia finish is derivative of wood panels found in the Castle’s library. Tilevera spent several years studying, documenting, reproducing and designing a myriad of luxury tiles and stones—made of glass, bronze, terracotta, wood and mosaic—based on those found in the Hearst Castle. For more information, click here.

Tilevera reproduces tiles from the 1,665-sq.-ft. Roman Pool at the original Murano Glass factory in Italy. (Hearst Castle Photo: Trey Ratcliff, StuckInCustoms.com) They are sold as field tiles and in pre-designed mosaic replications.

Want more? Tune in next week for Part III, which takes a look at the Hearst Castle’s hardware and more details inspired by guesthouses.
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