The Hathcocks’ Old World-Inspired Home in Cleveland
In a tribute to their last name, Lee and Bonnie Hathcock have become long-time collectors of rooster-themed furnishings and decorative items. So it comes as no surprise that the word “chanticleer,” from the Old French chante cler (“to sing clearly”), has a special meaning for them: chanticleer is a name frequently given to a rooster character in French myths and fairy tales.
When the couple built their home six years ago in Cleveland, they decided to name it after the beloved term. Today, the magnificent Chanticleer residence is both a revitalization of the lost art of Old World French décor—and a meaningful tribute to the Hathcock family symbol.
By Rebecca Rochat | Photography by Philip Slowiak Photography
Bonnie’s career in corporate America has required the couple to move six times over the course of their marriage, so when she retired, she wanted Lee to choose where they would finally settle in retirement. Lee attended what was then Lee Academy and Lee College (now Lee University) and has adult children and grandchildren in Cleveland, so Eastern Tennessee was his natural choice. In 1990, while the Hathcocks were living in California and “Tennessee dreaming,” Lee began pouring over house plans, searching for the one that met perfectly with the one he envisioned in his mind.
The Hathcocks’ dream of building a home became a reality six years ago when they completed construction on six sprawling acres. They teamed up with an architect to add professional dimensions to Lee’s adapted house plan, and then brought on a builder to bring the plans to fruition. Lee was at the construction site every day observing as the house was coming to life, watching his dream unfold.
The home’s beautiful exterior comes into view after entering through the residence’s private gates. While Chanticleer’s architecture is “Southern by birthright,” it is undeniably French in its rich and sumptuous interior. “I’ve always had a love for French décor, particularly 18th century Louis XV and Louis XVI,” Bonnie explains.
With its lavish design and exquisite antiques, the home has a grand scale worthy of an 18th century Parisian maison. Throughout, custom draperies and upholstery made with fabrics like silk damask, brocade, and cut velvet invoke an Old-World feel, while handmade accent rugs use soft pastels, reminiscent of 18th-century Aubusson rugs.
From the grand foyer, the petit salon is framed by a magnificent pairing of squared, block columns outside of two golden Corinthian columns, all crowned with a classically inspired cornice. Gold leaf accents glow against the white woodwork of the squared columns, cornice, and Corinthian capitals. From within, the petit salon casts its own glow with shimmering gold walls painted in “Golden Candlesticks” and gold silk draperies puddling on the floor.
The petit salon is outfitted with late 18th and early to mid-19th-century antique furnishings. Two Italian, hand-carved pieces—a Chinoiserie secretary and a table with faux marble top—are placed behind a Louis XV settee. Across from the settee, a hand carved glass top coffee table with Florentine finish is placed in-between a pair of Louis XV-style chairs.
The salon’s left wall is anchored by a classically inspired fireplace wall of white wood and gold leaf, while the right wall features a black painted breakfront flanked by Louis XV-style armchairs. Above, a multi-tiered ceiling with surrounding bands of gold leaf molding culminates in a golden dome from which hangs a glistening crystal chandelier.
The golden tones of the salon carry into the elegant dining room, in which a light gold wallpaper is complemented by white wainscoting accented with gold leaf. The room’s Louis XV-style furniture is hand carved with rocaille work of gold leaf foliage intertwined around silver framing. Dining chairs upholstered in gold silk damask have decorative crowns of carved silver shells, and a hand-carved silver breakfront features fluted columns and gold leaf accents. Beautiful decorative pieces—including a French porcelain plateau centerpiece with crystal compotes—grace the breakfront shelves and dining table. A crystal multi-tiered chandelier hangs from a gold leaf medallion in the room’s soaring tray ceiling.
Walls painted in “Sage Chiffon” provide a colorful backdrop in the kitchen and adjacent gathering room. Light pours in from a bank of windows at the rear of the gathering room and a clerestory window above. In front of the windows, a hand-carved Italian console table is flanked by Louis XV side chairs. Matching sofas upholstered in a salmon-colored damask form a sitting area on either side of the fireplace, which has a raised hearth of earth-toned tiles. Above the fireplace, a contemporary painting of musical instruments encased in a white frame is both aesthetic and functional: a remote control raises the painting to reveal a TV behind.
In the kitchen, warm cherry cabinetry with beaded molding and applied ornamentation is complimented by dark green countertops of ubatuba granite and a backsplash of earth-toned tiles. Three rooster figurines—the symbol of Chanticleer—are perched above a double door refrigerator with paneled wood, and other decorative roosters are scattered throughout, on both the island and the room’s desk/work space.
French doors lead into to the Hathcocks’ “Four Seasons” sunroom, in which bold olive green walls are paired with delicate furniture upholstered in floral fabrics, giving the room a serene and pastoral ambiance. The room’s furnishings include a Louis XVI sofa, a Louis XV gold leaf chair, a hand-carved Italian ottoman, a French tete-a-tete settee, and a carved French marble-top table. Tucked into one corner, a round pedestal table with Queen Anne-style side chairs is a perfect spot for lunch or afternoon tea.
Three en suite bedrooms, each with their own unique color scheme, furnishings, and carpets are situated together on the kitchen wing. Walls painted a deep bronze set the tone for the first bedroom, which features distinct Louis XV décor. The room’s French-style ribbon bed is covered with a bronze-colored duvet with pinch pleats and decorative silk pillows. The room’s furnishings include a Louis XVI dressing table and chair, a French commode, and a hand-carved Louis XV cane back settee. The room also includes Bonnie’s first antique acquisition: a 19th century French armoire with a mirrored center panel.
A second bedroom using a soft pink color scheme is outfitted with French provincial furnishings including an armoire, bed, and side table. The bed is covered in pink silk damask with pink damask accent pillows embellished with gold tassels and fringe. The headboard, ornamented with a gold leaf rocaille motif, is flanked by gold antique Italian sconces.
The third bedroom, painted a porcelain blue, is furnished with a mahogany four-poster covered in blue and copper cut velvet and patterned silk accent pillows with tassels. The room’s furnishings include a Louis XVI-style bench (circa 1890), a gilded Italian chair, and a gold leaf Louis XV-style dressing table and chair. An ivory secretary with light blue Chinoiserie patterning is flanked by a Louis XVI-style chair and a bergére chair upholstered in blue cut velvet.
Just off the hallway leading to the master suite is a cozy library with handcrafted mahogany paneling. The walls are lined with bookshelves, and two black leather wing chairs are placed on each side of the fireplace.
The home’s master bedroom can best be described by the Old French term conficere, meaning either “to put together or prepare,” or, “a delicious assortment of sweets.” The master suite is indeed a delicious confection of colors, textures, fabrics, and furnishings—a grand suite on the scale of a French chateau. Rose-colored walls and subtle rose patterned carpeting provide a delicate canvas in which design elements come together to create a beautiful and elegant space. All of the room’s furniture was hand-carved by Old World artisans—from a three-sectioned silver leaf armoire, to the gold-framed chaise lounge and two gold-framed Louis XV chairs in the rounded, sitting area. The room’s grand canopy bed has tasseled silk damask bed curtains with matching silk damask bed coverings, and a beautiful, gilded mirror hangs above the rooms’ white and gold leaf fireplace.
Yet as beautiful as the room is, you can’t help but look up and admire the vast tray ceiling designed by Lee Hathcock. Its various bands of molding are painted in contrasting accent colors bordered by white molding, and a crystal chandelier hangs from a gold and white medallion in the dome.
A walkway from the bedroom to the master bath has two walk-in closets and a “morning kitchen” where coffee and morning fare can be prepared. The bath uses rose and gold veined canyon marble for the floors as well as two vanities that are separated by a dressing table. An oval-shaped tub sits underneath a window, and a shower with double glass doors is lined with the same rosy marble.
Below the main floor, the terrace level of the Hathcock home contains a billiard room, Bonnie’s studio, a gift wrapping room, a wine cellar, a home gym, Lee’s office, and a home theater.
The Hathcocks describe Bonnie’s studio as a “happy accident”: in the original plans, it was supposed to be a garden room for storing lawn equipment. But after the Hathcocks realized the room was filled with ample natural light, it instead became a peaceful place furnished with ormolu desks, onyx and bronze console lamps, a hand-carved marble Italian demilune table, an Italian armchair, a Louis XV French settee, a green marble top table, a carved Italian console, period marble, and bronze salon lamps. A Cozy Room just off the studio provides a perfect retreat where Bonnie can relax and read. A small sitting area is furnished with a settee and chairs and a turquoise hand-painted secretary (circa 1900), while a French chaise lounge is tucked away in a corner.
The Hathcocks’ wine cellar is clearly more than a wine cellar as it also houses a dining room and kitchenette. The cellar portion of the room is encased behind wrought iron doors and has roughhewn stone walls, wine storage, and a self-standing fireplace. The cellar area is furnished with a metal framed and leather curule chair and an Italian and leather wood savan chair (circa 1790). A scrubbed pine Swedish sideboard (circa 1860), and a dining table with Chippendale-style wooden dining chairs comprise the dining area.
Bonnie says she particularly enjoys treating her friends to a “girls’ night out” in their home theater, where a painting of an old-fashioned movie ticket booth greets guests as they enter—if you look closely, you might just see that Lee Hathcock resembles the ticket seller.
Outside, a loggia features seating, dining, and cooking areas, while just beyond is an infinity pool, fountain, and pool house. The Hathcocks’ grounds are extensive—and the couple explains there are plans for a great lawn, a brookside garden, a parterre garden with boxwoods, and natural woodland.
All in all, the Hathcocks say they feel fortunate to have built and furnished the house of their dreams. “It has been a long journey for us from humble beginnings, and God has blessed our lives,” Bonnie says. “We thank Him for his magnificent blessings.”