Though his name might not instantly ring any bells outside celebrity circles, Lester Knispel has become well-known for orchestrating the financial affairs of heavy hitters like Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey and the entire Kardashian family, just to name a few. As the story goes, the longtime business manager once found himself lecturing a new NBA recruit named Shaquille O’Neal on how to better manage his cash — after signing his first endorsement deal, Shaq splashed out a whopping $1 million in a single day on three luxury cars, jewelry, clothes and more.
As for his own funds, seems the Boulevard Management exec has funneled a large portion of it into amassing a hefty residential real estate portfolio. In addition to homes in Calabasas and the Paradise Valley enclave of Arizona, Knispel and wife Janet plunked down $1.5 million for a Florida investment property during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic without ever having stepped foot in the place, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Then there’s this historic and meticulously restored Colonial Revival-style villa in Santa Barbara’s affluent Upper Eastside neighborhood that just popped up for sale, asking a tad under $4.5 million — or about $1.3 million more than the couple paid for the place over eight years ago, back in May 2014.
Built way back in 1904 — and known as “Summer’s Run” — the wood-sided and dormer-roofed structure rests on a nearly half-acre parcel of land fronted by a circular driveway flanked by gardens, boxwood hedges and magnolia trees. Inside, seven bedrooms and eight baths are spread across just over 8,200 square feet of multilevel living space boasting seven fireplaces, oak floors, wainscoted walls, pocketing doors and high wood-beamed ceilings.
Especially standing out is a grand entry foyer displaying a curving staircase, which flows to formal living and dining rooms, plus a chef’s kitchen outfitted with a bespoke backsplash depicting images of the house and nearby mission, an eat-in island, and top-tier Bosch, Miele and Viking appliances. An adjoining breakfast nook has French doors spilling out to a brick-paved terrace ideal for al fresco dining and entertaining with a barbecue and kitchen setup.
Other main-level highlights include a wet bar-equipped library, as well as a cozy parlor, sunroom that currently doubles as a Shaq-themed game room and an ensuite bedroom that’s been converted into a gym. Most of the bedrooms can be found on the second floor, including a spacious master retreat featuring two fireplaces, a private balcony, massive walk-in closet and dual baths — one a spa-like affair sporting a pair of pedestal sinks, soaking tub and glass-encased shower, and the other with a vintage clawfoot tub.
From there, an expansive attic area holds a “Star Wars”-themed recreation room decked out with a black-and-white checkered floor, mirrored dance studio and music room; and an unfinished basement has lots of potential as a future wine cellar. As for the lushly landscaped grounds, they host a sprawling synthetic lawn perfectly suited for croquet or bocce ball, along with a tree-shaded gazebo and charming children’s playhouse.
The listing is held by the Zia Group of eXp Realty of California.