A Manhattan Beach Mom and Business Owner Reinvents Her Home for the Next Chapter

Coming full circle.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written by
    Tanya Monaghan
  • Photographed by
    Lauren Pressey

Lisa Paul-Newman is a bit of a unicorn. She is the unique combination of badass entrepreneur and mother of two—all while being a super-fit, beautiful, grounded woman.

Lisa Paul-Newman is a bit of a unicorn. She is the unique combination of badass entrepreneur and mother of two—all while being a super-fit, beautiful, grounded woman.

Back in 1996, while Lisa was at UCLA studying business and finance, she met and started dating Greg Newman, the owner of Sharkeez in Manhattan Beach. While studying and teaching fitness classes at Westwood Spectrum, Lisa also took on the bar’s bookkeeping. At age 22, having recently graduated, Lisa married Greg.

With a passion for business, Lisa acclimated to being controller and later chief financial officer and partner of Sharkeez. Operating behind the scenes of the Sharkeez empire, Lisa is integral to the success of its growing restaurants, which now include the upscale Mexican eatery Palmilla Cocina y Tequila, Tower 12 in Hermosa and the upcoming Esperanza in Downtown Manhattan Beach.

Sharkeez Restaurant Group has also grown beyond the South Bay to the reaches of Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Santa Barbara. As CFO, Lisa handles all the financial aspects of running this expanding and demanding business. She attributes a lot her success to the amazing group of women who work on her team.

The young, hardworking couple had two boys, and Lisa juggled motherhood, the restaurant business and her passion for fitness. Needless to say, it was difficult; after 15 years of marriage, the Newmans decided to split. That was seven years ago, and though they are no longer marriage partners, today they still operate very well as business partners. Greg has since remarried, and Lisa is in a long-term relationship with Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Eric Fonoimoana.

True to her tenacious spirit, Lisa also pursued her dream of creating a fitness business and formed Fierce Lotus. She partnered with Heidi Moneymaker, one of the top stuntwomen in Hollywood, and co-wrote the book A Balanced Warrior about the many hats women wear. She applies this concept to her work as well, often preaching self-care and taking care of one another.

“There is something to be said for negative space and letting your eye rest.”

Back in 2002, Lisa and Greg bought a charming Mediterranean home on Circle Drive in Hermosa Beach. Circle Drive is special because it wraps and curves down to Manhattan Avenue, revealing some pretty spectacular views from Palos Verdes across the bay.

Lisa asked Kate Lester to come in and give the home a facelift. Lisa and Kate describe the original house as having a masculine quality—partly due to the huge built-in bar and the heavy notes of dark wood. The original floors were tiled in travertine, and the ceilings displayed hand-painted clouds that looked down on ornate decor.

It was important to Lisa that she stay in the house where her boys had grown up, as it was filled with wonderful memories. But it needed a change—one that represented more of her style, where she could create new memories.

Kate transformed the dated Mediterranean home into a Spanish-California style home that she refers to as “Spanifornia.” She explains that her objective for any client is to design a home that represents them in a more fabulous way than they could have done on their own.

“For this project, we translated the Mediterranean bones pretty seamlessly into something more current without having to knock it down and start over,” she says. Kate removed the heavy columns and light fixtures to open up the space. She waved her magic designer wand over the exterior, selecting a much lighter color palette that complemented the beautiful tile.

“Less is more” was a consistent theme while designing this home. As Kate explains, “There is something to be said for negative space and letting your eye rest.”

The first order of business was to take out the huge bar. This opened an incredible view looking toward Palos Verdes. Kate also created a large picture window with a seat where Lisa can sit and sip her coffee or curl up and read a book.

The living area on the top floor is spacious and airy, capitalizing on the blue views of sky and sea. The living room offers a place for adults to relax, play pool and just chill. Splashes of terra-cotta subtly infuse the Spanish notes and bring in some earthy accents. A giant skylight pours natural light over a stunning, custom-made chandelier, filling the vast space over the entrance to the home below. Vintage rugs play off the blue-toned color themes that mimic the seascape views seen through the frames of the windows.

The interior was formerly what Kate describes as a “brown-out,” so she freshened it up with white. She wanted the home to convey an understated elegance to match Lisa’s beachy and fitness-oriented lifestyle. Kate even went so far as to find vintage hand weights, displayed on the custom makeshift bar cleverly disguised as a cabinet in the living room.

The new bleached-white European oak floors further brighten the entire space. The dining room went from overly ornate to calm and clean, softened by falling drapes.

The open-plan kitchen is centered around a super-size island, including an apron-front sink. A second apron-front sink is positioned under a hanging pendant light that invites the eye to look north through the windows. A custom-designed marble backsplash perfectly complements the charcoal quartz countertops.

In Lisa’s master suite, a custom-made bed sits on a beautiful vintage rug. The design is simple yet feminine. Kate chose subtle textiles and thoughtfully sprinkled in rope accents seen throughout the house.

Lisa’s bathroom has a little more drama. A formerly beige room with a built-in mausoleum tub now features a funky, black, freestanding soaking tub and porcelain deco tile that carries all the way into the steam shower.

The 6,100-square-foot house is laid out like a playful labyrinth throughout its four levels. Winding stairs wrap down to the lower floor where the boys enjoy their designated play area and Lisa her in-house gym.

Kate brilliantly created spaces within the home for the blended family, including a top deck and yard with enough room for four teens and their friends. Lisa adds, “We thought about the upcoming years and what would work best as they grow. They needed a rec room where they can wrestle, play hoops, video games, cards, watch sports and just chill. We also needed yard space where they could get some exercise.”

It was really important to Lisa that the design decisions she made were equally timeless and financially sound. “Kate got such a great feel for what I wanted, and I am just so happy here. I go on vacation but often can’t wait to go back to my lovely home.”

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