At Home With Roger Clark & Melissa Scott Clark

Roger Clark, the former world-ranked pro-volleyball player and four-time NCAA champion at UCLA, scored major points with former Baywatch actress and entrepreneur Melissa Biggs at a fundraiser in 2010.

Roger Clark and Melissa Scott Clark at home in Del Mar

Roger Clark and Melissa Scott Clark at home in Del Mar

She was serving as a celebrity waiter at the annual luncheon to benefit United Cerebral Palsy, and coincidentally, filling in for volleyball champ Sinjin Smith, who had coached and played with Roger at UCLA. Seated at Melissa’s table, Roger was showing support for a late friend whose daughter has cerebral palsy. Roger and Melissa soon realized they had met their match. A year later, at the same UCP event, he proposed. She said “yes.”

Armed with a clipboard, the legendary volleyball coach Al Skates married the couple in September 2013 in a simple, rustic ceremony in Roger’s hometown of Pacific Palisades where, growing up, his house had overlooked the iconic lifeguard tower filmed in Baywatch. It’s an irony not lost on the couple. “Everything that’s happened in my life,” insists Melissa, “led me to Roger.”

The couple now lives in Del Mar, a comfortable home teeming with his three teenage boys and her daughter, along with three dogs and two chickens named Gucci and Miss Kitty, raised for their organic eggs. Health-conscious and physically active, the couple plays competitive tennis, bikes on Del Mar beaches at low tide, golfs, and shares a passion for travel.

Polished concrete floors and a slate fireplace lend texture to the Clarks' rustically chic home

Polished concrete floors and a slate fireplace lend texture to the Clarks’ rustically chic home

Roger is a commercial real estate developer, having broken into the business in Los Angeles during the boom in condo conversions. Melissa, who says she “retired her bikini” in 2001 after a string of acting roles, modeling assignments, and commercials, travels the world as a corporate spokesperson, actress, and entrepreneur. She once developed a $20 million pet product line for Walmart, and launched PGD Style, a contemporary clothing line. Her latest project, in partnership with the restaurateur and entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain, is The Front Porch, a Mission Hills shop that Melissa describes as a “rustic Williams-Sonoma.” The shop carries curated curios, housewares, kitchen accoutrement, and “The Patio” line of healthy, gourmet food products, named after Champion-Cain’s restaurants in Mission Hills and Pacific Beach, and sourced from small family farms. “I’m global — I like to bring things from all over the world,” says Melissa. “She (Champion-Cain) keeps it local. So together, we’re like yin and yang.” The partners plan to open ten more stores over the next five years in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Napa, and Carmel.

Melissa's office is filled with flea market finds, re-purposed objects, and treasures from her travels; the old ladder is from France

Melissa’s office is filled with flea market finds, re-purposed objects, and treasures from her travels; the old ladder is from France

Like the shop, the Clarks’ two-story home is filled with Melissa’s flea market finds. “I like to turn old things into cool things,” she says. Vintage treasures include a wheat thresher embedded with Indian arrowheads, milk crates from the 1800s, and hand-woven rattan baskets. In the dining area, a large cowhide rug covers polished concrete floors. In the master bath, white marble counters top rustic wood cabinets illuminated by light fixtures fashioned from mason jars. Melissa found the sunken bathtub on eBay, and a vintage ladder, that now serves as a towel rack, in an olive grove in France. She describes the home as “rustically chic,” a mix of the old and the new.

The couple loves the juxtaposition of the old and new in the master bath

The couple loves the juxtaposition of the old and new in the master bath

As for the New Year, the Clarks are wide open to the possibilities. “Living in the moment,” says Melissa, is her philosophy. “I let the universe guide me to my next project.” Adds Roger: “I love the bumper sticker: ‘No bad days.’” (www.thefrontporchretail.com)    Andrea Naversen

An antique thresher is the dramatic backdrop for a rustic table surrounded by slip-covered chairs

An antique thresher is the dramatic backdrop for a rustic table surrounded by slip-covered chairs

Photography by Vincent Knakal