Hearst Castle Architecture and Interior Design History

by Lisa Stewart 16 Feb 2019

Lifetime of design and decorating inspiration


The unbelievable architecture and interior design collection of the Hearst Castle recently blew me away again! I first visited the Hearst Castle as an 8-year-old, and it was clearly a defining moment in my life. My memories of the astounding grandeur and beauty remained and influenced my own design style. 

Hearst Castle is an Art Museum, National and California Historic Landmark and California State Park located on the Central Coast near San Simeon. It was a residence for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst between 1919 and 1947. 


The main building of the hilltop estate is the 68,500 square-foot centerpiece of Hearst Castle.

Design and construction of the estate took more than three decades, and it was never really finished. Hearst collaborated with architect Julia Morgan, the first woman to hold an architect’s license in California. They created a unique showplace with precious possessions Hearst purchased in Europe. Some amazing architectural features were collected from deteriorating renaissance castles. Each treasure was meticulously cataloged then shipped to the site. Morgan then designed every detail of the exterior facades, gardens, interiors walls and even ceilings. The rooms are filled to the brim with an overwhelming array of museum quality paintings, tapestries, sculptures and antiquities. Sofas and chairs still have the original opulent fabrics intact. The rich and elegant fabrics are now being reproduced for us to use in our castles. Imagine that!

The two-year restoration of the world-famous Neptune Pool was completed in 2018. The water refracts light to create this brilliant turquoise hue. Surrounded by an ancient temple facade, fountains, marble sculptures and alabaster lanterns it is breathtaking and life changing!

Lisa Stewart is an interior designer serving the Triangle area of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.