By Connie K. Ho
Newport Beach’s top interior designs rival the town’s dramatic coastline. For the city’s successful business men and women, their collections, hobbies and talents often influence their homes as well as their work. Here, we step inside some of these singular spaces of local movers and shakers.
Barry Meguiar is known for his love of cars. His company, Meguiar’s, produces car care products that are sold throughout the world and used by millions of customers. His home—particularly the garage, of course—on Balboa Island showcases a number of keepsakes and collectibles related to his longtime hobby.
His garage features vintage-inspired items and hearkens back to an earlier time. On one side, there’s an old air pump, reconditioned and restored to its original look from the 1930s or 1940s. On another wall, a sign reads “Auto Races Today.” The floor, which was originally concrete, features a black-and-white checkered pattern, a style that he notes is a tradition among car hobbyists.
Meguiar’s company memorabilia also decorates the walls. An old Beach Boys record framed with photos commemorates the year that the band performed at the Meguiar’s Award event, a program that honors the person of the year among collector car hobbyists. That year, they held the event in the Kodak Theatre (now known as the Dolby Theatre) in Los Angeles with 3,500 car aficionados in attendance.
Depending on the day, Meguiar will have a different car from his collection in the garage, and visitors might spot unique finds like a 1944 Woodie. In the middle of the space, sleek black cabinets showcase the various Meguiar products. Meguiar perfected the shine on the black cabinets by sanding them with fine finishing paper and smoothing them out. “We’re in the business of shine, so we need things to shine like these cabinets,” he explains.
Apart from keeping cars in the space, Meguiar has used the garage to host family functions and parties. During the holidays, he’ll host a viewing of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, and he was even invited to be the grand marshal of the parade with his wife, Karen, one year.
To Meguiar, the home is most significant because of the family history, as his grandfather had a small cottage there when Meguiar was 5 years old. “My grandfather bought this lot in 1942, and we lost it for a while, and I bought it back,” Meguiar says. “ … I wanted [the garage] to capture the feeling of when my grandfather started the business back in the day.”
Affinity for Fashion
As the chief executive officer of TNW Enterprises Inc., Nicole Wozny successfully built a company that serves thousands of patients a week at various medical offices. Her home decor is equally bold, reflecting her sense of style and love of fashion.
Wozny first drafted a vision board and began working with Newport Beach-based Dawn Rosenmayr of Rosenmayr Interiors to bring the sketch to life. Early on in the design process, the two pulled a striped shirt and other clothing items from Wozny’s closet, and laid them on the wall to see how they could incorporate an animal-inspired look.
“We were able to find a way to incorporate the clothes that I like to the house that I live in,” Wozny says.
The animal print fashion inspiration is reflected throughout the household but can notably be seen in Wozny’s office. Plump pillows with a black-and-white zebra design sit atop orange-colored chairs. An intrepid visitor who looks down will also spot the zebra patterned rug on the white floor.
Even though Wozny’s business is located a short drive from her home, she notes that she doesn’t have an office in the company’s headquarters. While she’s there, she prefers to utilize the time to interact with her staff and will work in the conference room. The office space at home is a place where she can sit, focus and complete the other tasks at hand. Her husband, Tom, also often works from home as a writer and director for Fade in Films, an independent film company that counts brands such as Sephora and Lacoste among its clients.
The two married on the idyllic Mediterranean island of Mallorca, Spain, known for its beachside resorts. Over the years, they’ve traveled to local destinations such as New York and Hawaii as well as far-flung sites such as Prague and Vienna. As she goes around the globe, Wozny picks up new pieces ranging from shoes to accessories—she estimates that she has more than 100 items with colorful materials like cheetah prints.
“I like to buy those kinds of pieces where they are made and inspired,” Wozny says. “Traveling got me more fashion-inspired to see how other people live in their clothes, and it has really inspired me to develop my own sense of fashion.”
A Toast to Napa Valley
For Dean and Laurie Gray of Riverain Vineyards, their home—which sometimes serves as an office to the burgeoning business—reflects their interest in winemaking.
Before the Grays moved from San Juan Capistrano to Newport Beach, they worked with Greg and Wendy Blackband of Irvine-based Blackband Design as well as Michael and Betty Terry of Newport Beach-based Graystone Custom Builders to dedicate a spot next to the kitchen for a wine cellar. “It’s kind of our showpiece because of our love of wine,” Dean explains.
Each of the design elements in the wine cellar reflects a Napa Valley sensibility. The racking is made of Douglas fir and comes from an old winery in Napa. A tree cutout, furnished from a 100-year-old redwood from Northern California, stands tall in the back of the cellar.
Bottles upon bottles are displayed—the cellar can hold thousands—including Riverain selections like cabernet sauvignon featuring labels etched with Laurie’s photography. Inside the kitchen, a wine refrigerator keeps white varieties and Champagne chilled and ready to serve.
The cellar is perfect for when the couple hosts parties and informal wine tastings with their family and friends. Their passion for wine first began when they were dating, and they even hosted their wedding in Napa Valley. Five years ago, the two bought a second home in the town of Rutherford, just north of Napa, where they often visit to work on their wine project.
Dean, who also serves as a senior vice president with Advantage Sales and Marketing, and Laurie were first approached about the wine project by a family friend. During dinner one night with Thomas Rivers Brown, a world-acclaimed winemaker, they decided to launch the business. Riverain, a boutique winery, currently only makes two to three different kinds of wine; they are produced at Mending Wall, where Rivers Brown is a proprietor.
“Our love of Napa was clear, but we had no intention of making wine or getting in the wine business—we just wanted to enjoy the beautiful countryside and enjoy drinking wine and entertaining friends up there,” Dean says. “It was an opportunity we couldn’t resist.”
And as the Grays have put down roots in Newport, they have found supporters for Riverain in Orange County, with local restaurants and hotels offering the label. So now, the couple can enjoy a glass and toast the fruits of their labor when out on the town or in the home that celebrates their passion for this hobby-turned-business.