Home at last
In a picturesque setting on a 13-acre grove of cedar trees in the Caddo Parish community of Greenwood, just a few miles from the Texas border, you will find Cedarcroft, a grand colonnade white mansion. It is set back from the gated fence and up a hill along an imposing circular driveway. Built in 1937 as a weekend home by Ed Minor, a successful oil businessman who belonged to a cattlemen breeders association and ran a gentleman’s plantation where he raised cattle, Cedarcroft was known for its legendary parties.
Today it is the home of Susan Cashman, who has an interesting tale to tell about her attraction to the house: “When I was 14, I was invited to come swimming at Cedarcroft by a friend of the then-current family. It was my first ‘big girl’ adventure. My mother drove us to the Continental Trailways bus station in downtown Shreveport, and we rode the bus to the foot of the driveway, a trip of approximately 25 miles. Because there was lemonade, cookies and a cute nephew down at the pool, I never got a look inside the house, but ever since that time I thought of it as ‘my house.’”
Fast-forward 40 years: Cashman was driving to Shreveport from Houston to visit her mother for Mother’s Day 2000. “Imagine my surprise when I passed ‘my house’ and discovered a ‘for sale’ sign. I was sure fate had brought me down Highway 79 at just the right moment to see the sign. Never mind that I had just built my ‘40-year house’ in Houston where I had lived for 35 years. I called it my 40-year house because I intended to live in it for 40 more years. The ‘for sale’ sign became a siren song, and nothing would do for me but to call the number on the sign and make an appointment to tour the house. It wasn’t that I was planning to move; I just wanted to finally see inside ‘my house.’ So much for best-laid plans. The rest is history.
Within a month, I had a contract on Cedarcroft and my 40-year Houston house was on the market. The house sold quickly, and I was on my way to Shreveport to live in my dream house. I quickly learned that the house was in need of major renovations, so I moved in with my mother in Shreveport and began my labor of love of totally restoring the house.”
Cashman has a single-spaced list of two pages listing the repairs and updating she did to the place under the supervision of Shreveport architect Jeb Breithaupt of JEB Design/Build LLC. The list includes a new roof and completely refinishing all of the wood floors, adding new electrical wiring in the entire house and converting a small upstairs bedroom to a large master closet. The kitchen received a total redo with new cabinets, granite countertops, tumbled marble floors in a herringbone pattern and all new appliances. Even the front and rear gardens received a total facelift under the guidance of Shreveport landscape architect Erik Newton and horticulturist Ray Taylor of Newton Taylor Landscape Architects Inc.
Robert C. King of King Design Studios in Shreveport assisted her with the interior design. “He quickly learned that I loved color,” Cashman says. “When we finished, there wasn’t a white wall left in the house. There’s a depth and richness to the colors we used. It’s wonderful eye candy to me. The whole effect makes me smile.
“The end result was that I created a new residence inside my old dream house,” she continues with a smile. “It was quite a challenge, but I knew it was the right thing to do. After all, it was ‘my house’ from the time I was 14 years old. It just took a while for me to move into it.”