Blossoming Baroque – Chanticleer Estate & Gardens

By Katie Faulkner
Photography by Philip Slowiak

When Bonnie and Levoy Hathcock were finally able to retire, she insisted that he decide the location to build their dream home. Levoy chose Cleveland, opting to settle down near his family and his roots. Together, the Hathcocks have spent years refining their French-style masterpiece of a home and its lush, expansive gardens. Nestled on a six-acre estate, the Hathcock’s home showcases their thoughtful planning and appreciation for French antiques, as well as favorite aspects of both of their lives – from Bonnie’s childhood dreams to Levoy’s hometown nostalgia.
The grand entryway opens to a dazzling formal dining room. French-cut crystal prisms drip from a tiered chandelier, golden candelabras, and wall-mounted sconces which flank a hand-carved breakfront. The painted breakfront sparkles with beveled glass doors and shelves filled with multi-hued crystal, while its gold trimming stands out from the subtle sheen of damask wallpaper, tying together the room’s multiple metallic tones. Carved cabriole legs on the dining table and chairs are reminiscent of the Louis XV style found throughout the home. Gold silk damask chairs and imported silk draperies add a decadent luster to the room’s ethereal glow. “It was important to us to have a formal dining room, because we do entertain fairly often. We host an annual Christmas party and open house, and we enjoy having people over as often as we can,” Bonnie says.

Adjacent to the main entryway is the petit salon. Gold-leafed wainscoting and Corinthian columns flank the entrance to this formal room which, like the dining room, is defined by gold tones and rich textures. Marble-topped tables and gold hand-painted walls cast a soft glow over the room’s 18th and 19th century French antique furniture. A Louis XV cut velvet settee anchors the room, counterbalanced by sumptuous, imported silk draperies on the opposite wall. A multi-tiered tray ceiling painted in taupe and trimmed in gold cradle the room’s grand crystal chandelier with French-cut prisms.

Off the petit salon, the garden sunroom is awash in a white palette complemented by floral prints, specialty ceramics, and silver pieces. A gold and floral bergère chair and nearby tête à tête seat make this room feel cozy and intimate. Sunlight pours in from the towering windows, which frame views of Bonnie’s spectacular gardens. The tête à tête, a traditional French-style bench, is covered in a lily of the valley pattern, one of Bonnie’s favorite flowers. A pastel, hand-woven Aubusson-style rug enhances the room’s airy and vibrant atmosphere, while gold-gilded carved details on the furniture are in keeping with the rest of the house. “This room is one of Levoy’s favorites, because he loves to sit here and look out at the gardens while holding Cubby (the couple’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel) on his lap,” Bonnie shares.

Also on the main floor, the master suite is an area where Bonnie indulged in her favorite pink shades. Billowy silk and tasseled curtains flow down from the ornately carved baroque canopy bed. A tiered tray ceiling holds a large prismed chandelier over the rose-patterned carpet. The room is split by a French-style gold-leafed fireplace; a separate seating area, complete with its own tray ceiling and chandelier, is found on the other side.  A silk-covered chaise lounge and Louis XV-style armchairs and ottomans provide additional seating near the bay window.

On the way to the master bathroom is the walk-in closet and morning kitchen, which can be stocked with coffee, pastries, or whatever the Hathcocks prefer for their morning routine. Once inside the master bathroom, peachy-pink tile surrounds a palatial island and abundant cabinet and vanity space. A glass-enclosed steam shower and a jetted soaking tub round out Bonnie and Levoy’s spa-like, private oasis.

The kitchen is one of the most traditional rooms in the home, with a sage green wall color and warm cherry cabinetry. Wrapped in a bar-height counter for extra seating, the kitchen boasts dark granite countertops, custom cabinets trimmed in beaded moulding and carvings, and a roomy island which serves as an efficient work station. Extra burners, double ovens, a warming drawer, and a spacious refrigerator are all key components in this home that entertains frequently.

Downstairs, the terrace level of the home unfurls into multiple spaces designated for Bonnie and Levoy’s hobbies, work, and entertainment. The wine cellar, stocked with wax-sealed, well-aged vintages, provides a rustically charming place to sample light antipasta while sipping vino; Bonnie and Levoy have a tradition of enjoying their Valentine’s Day dinner here.

Walking to the front of the terrace level is Bonnie’s studio, where she often works on her writing and her blog. “I indulged in my favorite color in this room a bit too,” Bonnie shares, speaking of the subtle but influential pink tones featured throughout this space. From the feminine artwork to the taupe walls and carpet, which carry pink accents well, this room has a wash of soft color. Pink marble-topped credenzas and a cream marble-topped demilune are complemented by gold carved legs, and fresh flowers from Bonnie’s gardens. Bonnie’s hand-painted, silver and gold Phyllis Morris office furniture is crowned by a floral-inspired chandelier.

Off of the studio is Bonnie’s cozy room. “When I need to relax and take a break from what I’m working on, I come in here. This room just makes me happy. It’s where I go for solitude and my morning devotions,” she says. Degas-style ballerinas grace the silk-covered walls in peaceful portrayals of elegance. One of Bonnie’s favorite pieces of furniture, a hand-painted secretary desk, adds a touch of teal to the room, with scenic landscapes painted in the doors’ recesses. In the corner, a velvet chaise offers a secluded spot to retreat.

“I used to look out of my aunt’s apartment window where I grew up and dream of having a garden like our neighbor Miss Nancy did. She had gorgeous lilac trees that would hang over our side of the fence, and she let us cut some to take inside. I always thought that was so special, and I dreamt that one day I would have a beautiful garden like that.”


– Bonnie Hathcock, owner

From the terrace level, visitors can walk out into the French-style gardens which were inspired by Bonnie’s childhood neighbor. “Basically, to have a French-style garden, it just has to be more structured and have strong symmetry. Some parts of the garden, such as the woodland and nearby ‘Fairy Tale Forest’ are more free flowing,” Bonnie explains. Areas are defined by meticulously manicured boxwoods or lovingly tended flower beds.

Thousands of tulips and daffodils paint the Hathcocks’ backyard each spring in the cutting garden, to which Bonnie hopes to add carnations next year.  Nearby, “The Fairy Tale Forest” is tucked deeper into an alcove of mature hardwoods and contains whimsical miniatures and dainty lights.

Limelight hydrangeas flood the landscape around the stone-lined waterfall and turquoise reflection pond with accents of Russian sage and laurel bushes. Atop the crest of the waterfall is the pavilion, where Bonnie and Levoy love to have garden parties and host dinners.

Winding walkways are lined in slender Italian cypress trees, leading to intimate seating vignettes, some under iron pergolas. Mount Fuji cherry trees and ancient dogwoods line the property’s borders and are interspersed into the natural landscape.

Endless summer and limelight hydrangeas surround the black-bottom infinity edge pool, where Bonnie says she and Levoy enjoy having friends and family over, especially for their Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations. Azaleas and impatiens add pops of seasonal color. “We love to spend as much time in the gardens as the weather allows. (I’ll sometimes invite my girlfriends to lunch and tell them to bring a coat.) As long as flowers are in bloom, I want to share the experience with my friends,” Bonnie says. She and Levoy also offer to host fundraisers for various nonprofits in their gardens every year. “We see it as a way of giving back God’s blessings. The gardens are, without a doubt, my favorite place to be,” Bonnie says with a smile.

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