It’s easy, looking at Melodie Johnson, to believe she was born a "golden girl," hasn’t a care in the world and lives a fairy tale existence. This blonde, Northern California native, is certainly lovely, blessed with good genes, great cheekbones, an enviable, slim figure on a petite sylphlike frame, a radiant smile and an easy laugh.
But look behind the eyes, to her aptitude and the animation of her spirit, and you’ll glimpse another Melodie: Berkeley grad, businesswoman, regional sales manager for Elizabeth Arden, Marcella Borghese, Lancôme and Estée Lauder, later West Coast head of Cartier’s fragrance division, "a wonderful company to work for," before marrying the scion of one of the Bay Area’s most prestigious families and settling down to be a wife and mother to three young sons.
Melodie doesn’t just coast, she makes her life work.
Born in Castro Valley, Melodie’s roots, from her paternal grandparents, hail from Kauai, where the family owned and ran sugar plantations.
Living in Pacific Heights until she married, "after a very romantic courtship and a wonderful, large wedding in San Francisco," Melodie’s life fast-tracked to multitravels around the globe, "I became a corporate wife. We traveled extensively, to board of directors meetings," and to far-flung destinations in India, Russia, Ireland and China.
Residing in Hillsborough during the marriage, Melodie nourished her nascent love and talent for decorating by visiting the "great homes of England" and admixing design secrets in her English Tudor estate back home. But Melodie, ever a city-lover, relocated to San Francisco with her three boys after divorce, enjoying a full-circle return/redux to her earlier neighborhood: Pacific Heights.
"It was also a chance to establish existing friendships and generate new ones, and meet wonderful newpeople," she acknowledges. "I have great friends."
She spends her days as "mom — volunteering at school," in charity work, exercise "I do it every day. I’m very disciplined," her budding interior design business, and often, in summer, she undertakes longer sojourns to her SoCal beach house or another of her top destinations: Africa. "I love spending time out in the wild watching the animals in their natural habitat. It’s magical." It’s an interesting juxtaposition, from "glam-girl" to "nature-girl," but Melodie pulls it off, because of her fervent love of native ecosystems."I like the sunrise on the plain, with the Kenyan elephants pulling up grass with their trunks, nurturing their young."
Melodie’s new abode, in a signature building, in which she’s resided just a week, is high in the sky above neighboring houses and buildings, and features 360-degree views of the City.
Wide windows parade along the walls, tall and cast open to delight in an aerial view of San Francisco, the hilltops and sea beyond. Light fills rooms that are glowing and animated anent French, Asian and Italian antiques. Dominant colors are gold and black in the living room, silver and gold in the dining room and warm tones of gold in the halls. Ceilings are 14 feet high and the great living room, with its dark, wood floors and soaring fireplace, feels as if it’s towering among the clouds.
Special touches, an antique clock, an antique Italian chest, stand among a plethora of photographs and fine art, masters mix with moderns.