Belle Decor

Ode to an Old House

By Haskell HarrisJanuary 7, 2009

When I picture the fictional homesteads in Great Expectations or Daphne du Maurier's Manderley in Rebecca, I picture a place just like the one I'm about to share (see below).


Photo courtesy of Carroll Foster

Like those houses, this example seems suspended in time.

No one lives inside at the moment, but all is as it should be. The family portraits are in place, and even the Zuber Eldorado wallpaper is still clinging on (it was printed on canvas—can you imagine?).


I came upon the photos thanks to Jessica Hundhausen (our marketing maven here at G&G who spent years at House & Garden magazine).

The estate, called Bonhaven, has been in her family since John Bomar Cleveland built the Second Empire residence in 1884. 

And while the beauty of it all is hauntingly poignant, what I find most compelling is the fact that houses are simply not constructed this way anymore.

From the reflecting pond out front to the tea house that sits in the middle of the once-lush English fan garden, a tremendous amount of effort went into producing every detail, and it was, no doubt, a house meant for living life well.


Even on a smaller scale, we can all learn so much about great design from structures like it, don't you think?