June 4, 2010

Hearst Castle I

The Greek Pool on an early foggy morning tour. 2010

Himself: Swam, helped a friend with his computer, walked, ate dinner, lost two pounds.

Herself: Swam, class, read, feeling better at last, little coughing at last, eating leftovers, learned a new program and created a slideshow for the group, finished my mystery.

Gratitude: Good to be back with my friends.

We walked through Hearst’s Castle slowly that foggy morning. Past the famous Greek pool in front of the main house, through one of the guest houses, into the main house, and slowly through the great rooms. We had been here before, and this time we scheduled two smaller tours rather than the giant all encompassing tour.

How it really was….crowded with no clear view.

Although many of the building details are historic or of historic design and making, I was highly amused by the slipcovers for the modern upholstered furniture. We were told that one day Hearst found a young artist sketching cherubs from one of his tapestries. He liked what she was doing so much that he had summer slipcovers made for the big house furniture from her designs. This year the Park rangers put these 1940’s slipcovers on the overstuffed pieces just as they would have been when Hearst was alive.

“The Ranch,” as Hearst called it, was an ongoing project until Hearst’s death. He had plans drawn up for a ballroom to fill in the back of the building and had planned to build more guest houses. Often he would change his mind. On the north side of the main house, a charming pool and stair grouping were covered over and redesigned as the main grand entrance to the house. These hidden stairs were discovered only by accident in recent years. If you look carefully, you will see also stairs ending in the middle of nowhere, truncated doors, and other anomalies that amused me with their unfinishedness.

The famous façade vanishing into the fogs.

The façade and part of the front are covered with stone. Further back, the unfinished cement face offers stucco, and at the rear of the house, the cement is bare and rough.

The first tour included the great house ground floor…great room, dining room, and billiard room, a guest house: Casa del Mar, the wine cellar, two pools, and the theater.

Here’s an excellent example of the historic mixed with comfort for the guests. The latest in 1930's lamps, overstuffed chairs, and coil spring mattresses await their arrival.


  1. Gracious, that is some house. Not my style though.

  2. I agree, Linda. Some house but not my style either. I wouldn't feel like I could kick off my shoes and curl up on the couch slip covered with cherubs and the like.

  3. Yes, it is a house, not a home. I prefer mine.

  4. I've always wanted to visit the Hearst Castle. Not only because of the outrageous scope of the place, but also to see the detail. Your photos and text give a hint to the breath and depth. Thanks

  5. Never got to visit, so you have solved that remiss. It is a little ornate for my tastes, but in those days if you got it you flaunt it.

  6. I like your pleasure in its quirkiness and, as always, your eye for beauty. Excessive richness, and the carelessness about cost that go with it, still bothers me, though, in a world in which there is so much want.

  7. I would love to visit the Hearst place (and also the Getty Museum.} Must be brimming with past memories, dramas etc. Just my cup of tea - never mind the furnishings;)

  8. What an amazing place! Can't imagine having so much money that I could build guest houses, fill in a pool and build another, manufacture stone and tile for steps leading to no where.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...