It’s not the law, but it may as well be. We didn’t see a single house that wasn’t white with dark green or black shutters. Some of these homes are cozied up to picket fences, while some sit on acres of land. But the most prestigious addresses in town are those within walking distance of the legendary Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, where children learn to ride and adults wine and dine. In fact, until a small restaurant opened in town, it was the only place to get a bite.
If you see a large animal hitched up by the post office, it’s because that’s where many residents go to get their mail every day — whether by car, foot or on horseback. With residents’ love of nature, the Chagrin River and gardening, the feel here is more hiking boots than high heels, and you often hear the village described as “prestigious,” but also “laid back” and “not showy."
Robin Kane is not the type you’d expect to find inside a Gates Mills estate.
A bright pink stripe runs through her dark hair. She’s got a tattoo, and, when she first moved in, her husband used to peel down their long gravel drive in his turbo-charged Porsche, music blaring. They’ll probably think we’re drug dealers, she remembers thinking. “My impression was that it would be very elitist here,” she says. “Snobby and blue-bloody. I felt like they weren’t going to like us. That hasn’t been the case at all. Nobody cares.”
That’s good, because Kane has loved it in her 7,000-square-foot home on seven acres, just one street away from the Hunt Club. “I pull up our driveway, and it’s just ahhhhhhh. It just feels so good. There is something very tranquil about it.”
The house itself: Is 13 years old and designed by Anthony Paskevich. It has five bedrooms, four full baths, two half baths, a circular two-story foyer, a vaulted kitchen, living room, dining room, beamed great room and a walkway with slate floors leading to a sunroom with a mural on the ceiling. The basement includes a rec room, wine cellar, craft room and mirrored exercise room.
Move over, Viking: Does it get any better than a $5,000 gleaming stainlesssteel professional-style cooktop? Actually, lots. Kane’s kitchen features an Aga range. For the uninitiated, this Swedish invention has a cast-iron core covered with a vitreous enamel — a process that is done by hand and takes three days. The oven is designed in such a way that it is always on, radiating a gentle warmth and ready to cook.
Traditional Agas start at $13,000.
The grounds: There’s a pond in the front yard, a creek running along the east side of the property and trees framing every view. A field of wildflowers, two slatebrick patios and a fire pit add to the appeal.
More space: A gravel path leads to a white clapboard cottage that has a sitting room with a wood-burning stove, a screened-in porch and a room for storing hay.
Downside: The deer. They nibble at the cherry trees, wolf down flowers and seem to enjoy everything but weeds. A neighbor once told her: You could put a radio out and keep it on all the time to keep them away but, after a while, the deer will be dancing to the music. It’s available: Kane and her two children are looking for something smaller in Gates Mills. Their house is listed for $2.9 million through Lori Schwartz of Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer.
Insiders who live here:
Loads of old money names, including Sherwin, Lincoln and Hanna, as well as some newer money names such as Fazio and Visconsi. Rounding out the mix are Eaton Corp. CEO Sandy Cutler and Indians Hall of Famer Bob Feller.
||# of Bedrooms
||# of Baths
||West Hill Drive
||East Gray Eagle Chase
||East Gray Eagle Chase
||Fox Hill Road
||East Woodstock Drive
||East Gates Road