Bob and Bonnie Martin designed their Melbourne Beach estate to perfectly cater to their newfound casual, coastal lifestyle

by Ingrid Matta

[singlepic id=333 w=250 float=right]Coastal living is defined as thehuman habituation on or near a coastline. For Midwest-transplant couple Bob and Bonnie Martin of Melbourne Beach, however, coastal living means so much more.

The Martins’ custom-built Brandon Development Enterprises Mediterranean-style seaside estate is ideally situated one block from one of the nation’s most beautiful oceans and three blocks from one of the nation’s most environmentally significant estuaries – the Indian River Lagoon. And a stone’s throw from their backyard is the always-hip Ocean Avenue.

“I just love that the area features all ages,” says Bonnie. “It’s so great to see the kids skateboard by, and the surfers. It’s just a great community.”

An active retired couple who enjoys the outdoors, the Martins appreciate the close proximity to golf courses, shopping and other activities that keep them moving. “We vacationed in Florida when our daughters were growing up and always felt Florida’s lifestyle was what we wanted later in life,” says Bonnie. “We rented an oceanside condo in Indialantic and fell in love with this area. We hired a realtor and bought a condo, then later built our home.”

The Martins’ reasonably sized seaside home was designed and built for an active and entertaining, yet relaxing lifestyle. “We wanted to keep it simple, open and fun and embrace the Florida elements,” explains Bonnie. “Above all, we believe coastal living is about the sun, the ocean and the casual lifestyle.”

Her husband adds that Melbourne Beach offers them the small-town feel they like. “It doesn’t get any better than catching the sunrise over the ocean and watching the sunset over the river,” says Bob, an avid golfer and outdoor enthusiast. Bob served as Vice Chancellor for Administration & Finance for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis before retiring in 2008.

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The Martins decided to forego a formal dining room and instead turn focus to an open and large great room featuring a wood-beamed ceiling. This space beckons all who enter to relax, watch television and take in views of the tropical paradise pool through French doors.

[singlepic id=326 w=300 float=left]Not far from the comfy couch, which lies atop solid wood flooring, is the vast but practical kitchen. A 4-foot-by-6-foot granite-topped island ensures kitchen helpers don’t get in the chef’s way. A large pantry, stainless-steel appliances and custom cabinets create a perfectly choreographed lesson in seaside panache. Bonnie loves to cook and doesn’t mind help and company – her kitchen was made to order.

The main floor master suite with adjoining study, which also leads to the pool, reinforces Florida lifestyle at its best. Off the master bedroom, a hallway
occupied by his and her oversized closets leads to an open, light and functionally elegant master bathroom. Skillful tile work punctuates an oversized walk-in shower, while a large picture window brightens and shows off Florida’s finest flora – in this case, hibiscus blossoms.

Opposite the master suite and up a tiled flight of stairs are two well-appointed bedrooms adjoined by a from-the-sea designed bathroom. Step-out balconies positioned off each upstairs bedroom beckon guests and family members to venture outside to hear the waves of the nearby Atlantic Ocean and feel its gentle breeze.

The property’s outdoors boasts a traditional Florida style, featuring a free-form pool with an extended initial step for just soaking feet or cooling off. No feature left unexploited, landscape architect Susan Hall, ASLA of Merritt Island saw to it that every corner of the surrounding landscape boasts a visual, auditory or sensory experience. The tropical landscape swells with flora, ferns and coconut palms.

An improbable orange-with-red infused bougainvillea commands its half-moon place above the pool, while just behind it a tucked-away flagstone and pebble beach landing await the Martins’ recline – just one of many special landscape features. However, while upscale for sure, there’s nothing ostentatious about the landscape –just on-point, gorgeous and rightfully done.


[singlepic id=323 w=250 float=right]No coastal abode is complete without visual touches that showcase seaside colors, lines, textures and forms. Abundant bougainvillea vines frame a courtyard bench found at the entryway to the Martins’ home. The bench parallels a bubbling chest-high glazed fountain vase.

Inside, seafoam-green coastal-hued walls are elegant and first class all the way.

The creative cabinet design work of Linda Tamasy Designs reinforces the coastal look throughout the home, especially in the kitchen. “To get a feeling of coastal style, I used cabinetry that is a creamy white with a café’-brown highlight brushed through the paint. (Think of white-sand beaches.) The visible brush strokes are applied by hand and give it a casual, slightly rustic, weather-worn look,” says Linda Tamasy, whose company specializes in cabinetry and kitchen design.

To provide accent, Tamasy used a knotty alder wood “that has open knots in a stain that depicts driftwood.” She further used “twisted-rope”-shaped brass hardware with a patina-rouge finish to complete the nautical theme. Meanwhile, glass doors in selected cabinets give off light.

Shell and sea life surprises sprinkle about the house with elegant subtlety. From the hardware (seashells and starfish handles in bathrooms) to the auto-closing solid wood cabinets throughout the home, no detail was left untouched. A pool bath that sits next to the pantry sports a glass sink from Ferguson Enterprises with a fishbowl motif enhanced by artist Deb Oller. Numerous glass French doors throughout the home provide that light, airy feel that helps define coastal living.

Built to last, the Martins’ seaside estate will provide years of coastal ambiance in a lifestyle that suits them just fine. The location, amenities and beauty that befits tropical Florida combine to make this Melbourne Beach gem a standout among the Space Coast’s fine (and fun) homes.