Mary Catherine Johnson had never heard of Beauregard Town until her Realtor took her there to see a 1920s-vintage house.
“I had rented forever, but my rent was going up,” said Johnson, 29. “I got lucky to find this little gem.”
The double shotgun, which she purchased at the end of 2013, was redone by the previous owner. All Johnson did was some painting and landscaping.
Shotgun houses are generally narrow with rooms in a row, one behind the other. A previous owner removed the walls between the rooms on the west side of the house to create one open space that runs from front to back.
Johnson made this very long space a combination living room and dining room with the existing modern kitchen at the far back. The east side of the house is done in the traditional way with a small TV room and two bedrooms separated by a bathroom. With its 11-foot ceilings, the home looks larger than its 1,200 square feet.
The furnishings in the home are a mix of family pieces and items Johnson found. “I collected from different places because I don’t have a grand budget yet,” she said. “I raided my uncle’s attic. I love to go to Tuesday Morning and T.J. Maxx.”
She found her mid-century modern-style dining chairs in Denham Springs and covered them with fabric from draperies that were in the house when she purchased it. Painted wicker chairs in the living room section belonged to her grandmother, Beverly Johnson.
Several of the rooms are decorated with patterned rugs Johnson found at Lowe’s. Her ready-to-hang curtains are from World Market. She uses them creatively to hide the open closet that covers a whole wall in her bedroom.
In several of the rooms are paintings by Johnson’s aunt, Robin Clawson, a well-known artist who lives in Shreveport. “She picked the colors that I used when I painted,” said Johnson, director of communications for LCTA Workers’ Comp insurance carrier.
“Dad’s family is very artistic,” she said. “I don’t have that, but I have them,”
One of her most unique uses of color was to paint the kitchen floor a deep black. The color blends well with the stained wood flooring in the living room and dining room sections.
With advice from family friend Jim Vogler, Johnson updated the landscaping by first removing two huge magnolia trees from the front yard. “You couldn’t see the front from the street,” she said.
By adding a Meyer lemon tree and some low planting, she gave the front a more “open” look.
Even though older homes can have problems, Johnson is very happy with hers. “I grew up in an old house in Lake Charles,” she said. “A subdivision where all the houses look the same is not for me.”
Johnson says that she needs a new car, but she made the decision to buy her house instead. “I did it all by myself,” she said “I didn’t have any help.”
Some “weird coincidences” have assured her that she made the right decision. “I later found out that my grandmother grew up across the street, two houses down, and my parents were married just down the street at First (United) Methodist Church.”
She discovered the craziest coincidence when she went to a local furniture store to buy her sofa. Turns out that the woman who sold her the sofa had grown up in Johnson’s house.
“Of all the salespeople in Baton Rouge,” Johnson said. “How weird is that?”