Barn House Hideaway
Hidden at the end of a Southern Trace cul-de-sac — though not part of the golf course enclave itself — sits Promise Pointe, the second-home hideaway of Johnson and JoAnn Ramsey that overlooks the always-serene cypress-tree-speckled Wallace Lake in Shreveport.
Known primarily to a select group of friends, the rustic corrugated metal-clad barn home has hosted everything from LSU football watch parties to weddings to Girl Scout troop meetings. The Ramseys — with teacup Australian Shepherd Bella in tow — retreat there often, as their primary residence is a five-minute golf cart ride away.
“Everybody loves a barn home,” said Johnson, who enjoys napping in the hammock stretched out on the back porch. He promised his wife years ago he would build a place for her to keep horses, and she now has four — along with a few dozen chickens, a bee colony and a docile-looking guard donkey named Charlie who prowls the property that was once a wasteland of discarded construction materials.
JoAnn had a vision for not only the three bedroom/three and a half bath house, but also everything in it. Her unique taste and eye for unusual architectural features have culminated in bold eclectic decor and design that leaves visitors in awe.
For example, to get to the house’s main entrance, folks must walk through a high-ceilinged room that is well-protected but doorless. It’s similar to a porch, but not quite one — yet it’s the perfect place to play basketball or Ping-Pong.
Inside the home, conversation pieces abound — almost every item has a story behind it. The ground floor alone boasts an old couch that belonged to JoAnn’s parents, her great-grandma’s table and upright piano and heavy-duty oversized wooden doors salvaged from the old Johnson Building on Milam Street in downtown Shreveport.
Anchoring that level — and dividing two cozy seating areas that are surrounded by a long row of plate-glass windows — is an oversized picnic table that can easily accommodate over a dozen dinner guests. Thick wooden beams crisscross the vaulted ceiling and hold up a large metal chandelier flanked by two sleek silver fans.
Instead of a door leading to the adjacent master bedroom, there are two heavy curtains that can be drawn together for privacy.
A kitchen and bar area is tucked under a large loft that can be accessed via a wide wood-planked stairway. Upstairs are two bedrooms equipped with enough beds (the grandkids love the bunks) to sleep about 10. Five fluorescent-painted cow skulls peek out over the railing and eye the living and dining areas below.
Just outside the house is a large barn-like building where the couple parks their large RV. They love going on adventures and count Canada and New York as favorite destinations. A small room inside that structure houses JoAnn’s tack room, where numerous saddles are lined up ready for use.
Across a large expanse of grass — and past a heavy-duty hand-hewn seesaw made from a tree trunk — sits an outdoor kitchen with a seating area perfect for crawfish boils and fish fries. Open to the elements on three sides, it provides a spectacular view of the lake. None of the buildings the Ramseys built have ever flooded, but lake waters rise nearly every spring and their dock is currently underwater due to recent heavy rains.
“I like doing projects,” said cowboy boot-clad JoAnn, pointing out two rectangular windows in the outdoor kitchen filled with hundreds of pieces of colorful yet translucent pebbles. She designed and made each of them, and when the sun illuminates them just right, the sight is breathtaking.
She also likes spending time in the henhouse tending to the chickens. When she “heads over that-a-way,” the horses most often come running and Charlie saunters over, hopeful for a treat. Usually she’ll end up with over a dozen eggs per day — so many that she always has to figure out what to do with them all.
Just beyond the henhouse is a completely fenced vegetable garden. Morning glory vines run rampant, and JoAnn grows everything from chives to asparagus to sweet peas. She even makes Christmas ornaments out of dried okra.
Visitors often wonder why the Ramseys don’t make the property their permanent home.
The thought has crossed their minds.