With more than a decade of pitching experience for Major League Baseball under his three-time All-Star belt, Mark Melancon has sported jerseys for the New York Yankees,  Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants and Atlanta Braves. Currently the closing pitcher for the San Diego Padres, Melancon and his wife, Mary Catherine (owners of Diamond Turf), have done their fair share of traveling and moving. It’s safe to say they’ve seen more of the east and west coasts than the average person, and yet, they’ve chosen a little quiet slice of Anna Maria Island paradise to build their private vacation home—a retreat for the couple and their three children when Melancon’s not standing on the pitching mound. The architectural planning and development began in late 2018, with the build reaching completion in November 2020. “Mark and Mary Catherine gave me total creative freedom with this project but, like with all clients, we had numerous design meetings, discussing style preferences, use of the spaces and function of the home to get us started,” says Emily Moss of Emily Moss Designs, the interior designer for this championship project. 

Unlike many other traditional Florida homes that tend to take on a primarily coastal-themed concept or mid-century modern design style, the Melancons’ home emits an adversely eclectic and funky feel. “Perhaps a good term for it would be ‘spritely, seaside chic,’” says Moss. “Being that we do mostly coastal-inspired design, this project still has those elements running through—like weathered wood tones, ocean blue colors, natural linens and textures, and bright white spaces—but integrated with sophisticated detailing in the custom casegoods, glam marble tiles, metallic accents and urban art. It was fun to add spaces that clients requested, like the theater room and the playroom, which make the home so unique, personal and liveable.”

Ultimately, the lively design choices throughout the house reflect the young, active family that lives there. Of the standout elements running throughout the house, Moss’ favorite to create was the kids’ playroom. “The playroom was so fun because we don’t get to flex those whimsical muscles too often,” she says. “We got a lot of enjoyment picking out the bulbous, uniquely shaped seating and the elements of surprise (like their kids’ names hidden in the word search artwork adorning the entire back wall).” In addition, the “smoothie room” off the kitchen has some noteworthy custom tile work and “is such a joyful surprise when you walk in,” says Moss. “We love that no space is too tiny to have an impact.” Meanwhile, in the theater room, the stained, paneled walls give the home theater a darkened, eclipsed ambiance—perfect for Friday night movies with the family or a late poker night with the couple’s friends. 

Beacon Home Design of Bradenton came up with the grand-slam architectural design of the waterfront home. And the contractor who made it come to life was Holmes Beach-based Moss Builders—co-owned by Emily Moss’ husband, Ryan Moss, who worked in construction on AMI for more than 13 years. Since Ryan Moss gained his contracting license, he has managed 60-plus homes on the island. “We love our builders and local tradespeople who make most of the custom design happen the way we imagine,” says Emily Moss. And, as far as art and decor are concerned, Emily Moss had a young and talented local artist, Elle Leblanc, hand-paint the playroom’s word search mural mentioned above. “Every project we take on is different, even if there is a coastal current that ties them all together stylistically,” Emily Moss says of working with clients to achieve their own version of “island time.” “Sometimes it’s more bold, sometimes more neutral. Good design should reflect the homeowners and how they want to exist in the space,” she says. “This project was a dream because we got to be creative in our use of repeated color palettes, material selections and different styles under one roof—a little bit sophisticated, relaxed, dramatic, southern, coastal, kid-friendly...you name it. It was our job to weave those things together in a way that felt cohesive.” SRQH&D