The Vanderbilt Family has faded from the public scene, but their housing stock remains--but rarely as housing. The Biltmore seems to have been designed as a public gesture--perhaps even as a conspiracy between the local tourism board and the family architect.
Despite its size, this structure reeks of domesticity. The deliberate asymmetry, the small windows, the gingerbread details. As a living experience, it is an assault on practicality.