Just north of Port Allen along the winding River Road is Ashland Plantation – circa 1890 – where most of the original wood and material have remained under the loving care of a single owner for more than 30 years. The home sits on 2.5 acres of pristine delta land with fruit trees and natural habitat for the wide variety of birds that thrive on the grounds. The home’s wide, wrap-around porch is the perfect spot for bird-watching or morning coffee and the newspaper.
Built in the 1890s by the Duvall family, the home has been renovated, upgraded and modernized over the years, but the projects utilized most of the wood, bricks and material from the original house. Still there are the wavy-glass windows, transomed doors, wood floors and fireplaces.
A gravel driveway winds up to a brick sidewalk leading to the elevated front porch. Inside, a wide pine-floored entry foyer, typical of the day, welcomes guests. The operating transoms over interior doors allow air circulation throughout the house, where 12-foot ceilings help keep it cool in the summer. Central air and heat vents are located in the floors and walls.
The master suite is located directly off the foyer and has plantation shutters on windows to the front porch. The rambling master bath has a single Corian vanity with a custom mirror. Around a corner is a tub and shower unit, as well as a big surprise: an exit door to the side porch. This entrance is ideal for the sweaty gardener who after a long workday outside needs freshening before the cotillion. Step right from the porch into the shower.
The den is across the foyer hall, and it too is floored in pine planks. An old brick fireplace with gas is on one wall, and a set of wonderful old French doors leads into the formal dining room. The dining room is very large, with pecky cypress wainscoting. Many of the exterior windows in the home have been framed on the outside by single light storm windows: you get the benefit of a storm window but you keep the appearance of the wonderful old, wavy-glass wood windows.
The wrap-around porch nearly surrounds the whole house, and one corner has been enclosed in glass to make a greenhouse. Further down, the porch becomes a loggia. The greenhouse and loggia have excellent views of the back yard, where a cornucopia of fruit trees produces enough for a fresh fruit salad. You’ll find lemon, orange, cumquat, fig, grapefruit and Satsuma trees. And a nearby spice garden has parsley, cilantro, bay leaves and green onions. Which of course is the perfect segue to the kitchen. Located near the end of the loggia, the kitchen has counter tops of durable Caesar Stone. A big walk-in pantry is across from a Viking cook top, a very nice unit with six gas burners, a double griddle and an oven. The cabinetry is raised–panel oak.
Meanwhile, a bedroom near the back of the home is being used as a study. Technically, the home has four bedrooms – two upstairs and two downstairs. The two bedrooms upstairs are serviced by a full bath. An art studio upstairs could be the home’s fifth bedroom.
Out back, a brick patio is topped by an arbor. Azaleas and other flowers have already started blooming. The home is framed in clear cypress, and would cost a fortune to rebuild. There’s also a new roof with architectural shingles, and a working cistern collects rainwater for the gardens.
It’s is a beautiful and historic home – original and lovingly cared for – just 11 miles from the I-10 Mississippi River bridge on the Westside.
Address: 11721 N. River Road, Port Allen
Lot size: 229 x 398 feet (2.5 acres)
Living area: 3,641 square feet
Bedrooms: Four (with art studio)
Marketing agents: Linda Gaspard and Scott Gaspard, RE/MAX First