When Colt and Jackie Melby went looking for a seaside home, they decided to investigate Newport Beach, Calif. Upon entering the front courtyard of a 12,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style villa in the coastal town, they noticed it was “dead quiet, peaceful, and serene,” says Jackie. “Then we got the view of the Pacific. When it’s clear out, you can see Catalina.”
Smitten with the vistas, the husband and wife—he the former president of Smith & Wesson, she a philanthropist—bought the home and immediately started renovating the interior. With the help of designer Wendi Young, the couple finished the revamp just in time for Jackie to host a 300-guest charity fund-raiser. The event made use of the home’s outdoor spaces, including the courtyard, where a boxwood parterre surrounds a fountain, and the loggia, where a Paul Ferrante lantern hangs over Michael Taylor sofas.
Young and Old | “The Melbys are young, hip, and chic,” says Young. “I didn’t want [the home] to feel too old-fashioned for them, but I still wanted it to feel real. We replaced many finishes, some of which felt new and contrived, and changed the use of some rooms, making the house more authentic.”
For the living room, the Melbys chose a sofa and armchair from Hendrix Allardyce. “We wanted new upholstered items because the scale is a little roomier,” says Young. “But to give the room a feeling of age and a collected look, we brought in antiques—a floor lamp, a daybed, and accessories.” Christian relics sit on the carved Italian mantel, near Fernand Léger’s gouache La Grande Parade. Other antiques that lend gravitas to the space include a gilded mirror, a stool from Mecox Gardens, a rug from John Iloulian, and a Buddha statue paired with a Burmese trunk.
Among the contemporary pieces that round out the look are black chinoiserie tables from Gregorius/Pineo, parlor chairs from Caché (white) and Charles Pollock Reproductions (black), and a custom coffee table from Quatrine Custom Furniture. The walls received a coat of plaster that was lacquered for a crackle-glaze effect. This treatment, which mimics the appearance of ancient Japanese ceramics, complements the Damascus red and Crema Marfil marble floors.
Fit for a Feast | The dining room, with its velvet-draped French doors that open onto the loggia, allows the Melbys to entertain on a grand scale. “I love this room for the Gracie wallpaper,” says Jackie of the custom silver-leaf scene that took craftsmen about 10 months to make. A Murano glass mirror hangs above a Twig console topped with gold onyx from Erika Brunson Couture Living. The room also accommodates an 11-foot-long dining table from Therien and Italian chairs by Caché that sit beneath two chandeliers made of crystal and 18-karat gold leaf. “I felt we wanted two of them,” Jackie says, “just to weigh down the room.”
Master Class | The walls in the spacious master bedroom bear handpainted paper that resembles Venetian plaster. “The room just shimmers, especially at night,” says Jackie. Plenty of gilded furniture adds to the romantic aesthetic.
“I wanted the bedroom to feel glamorous,” she adds, “but I also wanted Colt to feel okay in here, too.”
To ensure that outcome, Young chose a four-poster bed from Nancy Corzine that adds a masculine element. Two Rose Tarlow baroque-style chests, one of which sits beneath an antique Murano glass mirror, provide further muscularity.
In the bedroom’s seating area, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, cast-bronze roundels, and two antique Italian sconces from Richard Shapiro adorn the wall behind the mantelpiece. A circa-1900 Louis XVI–style chandelier hovers above an eclectic mix of furniture that includes a “dolphin” chair from Rose Tarlow, a coffee table from Erika Brunson, a brass cigarette table from Ironies, a Venetian settee from Caché, and two corner chairs from Quadrus Studio.
With the hand-embroidered curtains open, the homeowners can look out to the private terrace and the Pacific Ocean. But for Jackie, the most indulgent view may be the one inside her shoe closet (below), where about 200 pairs line the suede-covered shelves. Two antique French chairs (brought over from the couple’s previous home in Dallas) and a Flokati rug dress the space, which Jackie describes as “absolutely over the top.”
Shooting Gallery | Colt says the library is his version of a safari room. “I’m not a hunter,” he explains, “but more of a recreational shooter.” In recognition of Colt’s hobby, as well as his former role at Smith & Wesson, Young created shadow boxes to showcase his collection of antique firearms, spurs, and daggers. “We wanted to maintain a masculine feel,” says Young. “So even though we have a fussy fireplace, everything here is pretty clean.”
A clubby look was the objective (“He didn’t want a big desk to sit behind,” Jackie says), so they placed four Dessin Fournir Art Deco–style chairs, upholstered in blue velvet, around a walnut chamfered-edge table and atop a hair-on-hide patchwork rug. Coffee-colored Ultrasuede covers the walls, and an 18th-century painting of Venice’s Piazza San Marco hangs above the fireplace.
To give a modern edge to the space just outside the library, Young set contemporary lamps with honey-onyx bases atop an 18th-century giltwood commode that she obtained from Villa Melrose Antiques.
Elevating the Game | Originally the billiard room was a recreation area and workout space. “It was done Tommy Bahama tropical style, with white cabinetry and wall-to-wall carpeting,” says Young. The designer’s overhaul took the space in an upscale direction.
The room’s centerpiece is an ornately carved antique billiard table with matching cue cabinet—one of the first such ensembles made by Brunswick, in 1886—from Blatt Billiards. Two horn chandeliers from Ironies hang overhead, and Amritsar and antique Agra carpets from John Iloulian grace the polished silver-travertine floor. The honey-onyx bar, designed by Young and custom-built for the Melbys by Gabriel McKeagney, draws upon the Moorish motif of a Venetian house that the Melbys saw in a magazine.
Adorning the adjacent bathroom, which has steam showers and a sauna, are hand-embroidered wall coverings by Randolph & Hein, a Chinese lantern from Thomas Lavin, a gold sink and fixtures from Sherle Wagner, and an antique African patinated-bronze necklace displayed on a stand.
A Foreign Affair | Eschewing the usual Art Deco media-room decor, the Melbys went with a more exotic theme for their home theater. The computerized Kaleidescape system channels sound through two Indonesian quatrefoil window grates that serve as speaker covers. Green stripes of silk-velvet with banding and nailhead trim sheathe the walls, and zebra-print carpet covers the floor. The two rows of chairs, dressed in Opuzen silk-velvet, complement the custom sofa in the front of the room and the built-in banquette at the back, both of which feature Moroccan-style fabrics. The variety of seating enhances the private-screening-room aesthetic, as do two Fortuny pendant lamps that cast the space in a seductive light.
Wendi Young Design, 949.642.1099, www.wendiyoung.com