Tamara Kaye-Honey founded House of Honey, a California based decor shop and design studio, with the vision of transforming a narrative into inspiring design. Tamara and her team work closely with clients in both public and private spaces in bringing their unique stories to life by elevating their environments. We asked Tamara to give us the scoop on what is trending on the West Coast, as well her fresh approach to boutique spaces.
AS: House of Honey is based in LA- what is unique about LA’s design scene and how do you describe the LA style?
HH: There is this grand merger of the best in food, fashion and design happening in LA today, and I am so fortunate to be able to tap into this bottomless well of inspiration. With the city’s amazing year-round weather and diverse topography and architecture, inspiration - whether it be for photography, fashion, art, or interiors - is essentially at my fingertips. LA is definitely having a moment, but I think it’s always been true that LA style is really best described as a lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to live the California life?
AS: What is your favorite neighborhood for shopping? Do you have a favorite local coffee spot or restaurant?
HH: The best part of LA are its’ diverse neighborhoods - there are so many options for a great day in the city. One of my favorites is the Arts District. I became more familiar with this area about three years go when my firm embarked on a large residential project called 950 3rd. The Arts District is a canvas for the creative energy and cutting-edge trends that emanate from the repurposed industrial spaces and warehouse artist lofts. I love the crowded assembly of galleries, coffeehouses and independent boutiques, as they make it truly a walk-able experience. A go-to agenda for me would be brunch at Manuela, art-gazing at Hauser & Wirth, followed by guilt-free shopping at the cool and curated Alchemy Works. And coffee next door at Blacktop Coffee.
AS: There seems to be a trend towards “boutique” hotels rather than larger chain hotels - what trends do you see in hospitality design and how is hotel interior design changing? How do you define a “boutique” space? What are some of your latest hotel projects?
HH: Boutique hotels actually started appearing in the mid 80’s in cosmopolitan cities, and the trend thankfully hasn’t slowed. What it means to be a boutique hotel today, though, is really across the board. What I am seeing emerge is a new brand of hotel that merges the boutique and bargain concept. There is an emphasis on technology and a strong sense of community - all at the intersection of stylish design and an affordable price point. We are working on a design-centric budget micro-hotel in Downtown Los Angeles that is the epitome of this new direction. And small, it’s all about small now and efficiency.
AS: In your view, how does art impact a public space (like a hotel lobby)? How does art impact a private space (like a guest room)?
HH: Art is essential in all of our design projects. Art can make strangers talk, children ask questions and make you stop and ponder. For our public commercial projects, whether they are a hotel or mixed-use project, art helps to define a community’s identity and reveals the unique character of a specific neighborhood. I believe public art has the power to energize a space and create a heightened sense of place. We are working on several large commercial projects in key areas of Los Angeles, and in every case, we are working with local artists to bring that sense of place to the buildings through customized installations. The same is true of private spaces, but you have a little more freedom to be naughty or personal, if you want!
AS: What is your vacation spot? Do you get inspiration from your travels?
HH: I have become somewhat of a self-confessed Aman Hotel junkie and recently returned from renewing my wedding vows (after 15 years) at Amangiri in Utah;. Such a magical place - beyond words! As a hotel designer, I admire how the Aman properties pay homage to the locale and architecture and go beyond the norms by creating experiences. I am always inspired by travel and am so looking forward to our trip to Japan in April durin the Cherry Blossom Festival. We will be staying at both the Aman hotels in Japan, one in Tokyo and one in the countryside. It will be such a treat!
AS: If you had to choose 3 words to describe your ideal client what would they be?
HH: Daring, trusting and wealthy!
AS: If you had to choose 3 words to describe your personal style what would they be?
HH: Eclectic, playful and evolving!
AS: How has your taste in art changed over the years?
HH: It has advanced as my income has grown:) I do though always like a mix of old and new and high and low to create both character and personality. I advise clients to start collecting art and buy when something really affects them. Like you can’t live without it! Art is an investment for sure, at any price.
AS: How has your interior design style changed over the years?
HH: I think as an artist I am always growing and learning more about myself but I try not to project that on my clients. It is my job to help bring out the best in spaces and allow my clients’ personalities to shine. At its best, interior design should be a very strong personal depiction and that can be challenging to say the least.
AS: What is the greatest challenge when selection art for hospitality and
HH: All of our design projects start with a story, a narrative that connects all the stakeholders to the central design concept. When we are sourcing art, whether it is custom or not, we make sure that it relates to the story so there is a cohesive thread tying all design elements together. We designed a boutique hotel in Santa Barbara that, in its previous life, was a grand hotel with lavish gardens and a zoo on the grounds. The art we chose paid homage to this history through lush botanicals and whimsical animals as subjects. A challenge we sometimes face is finding that exact right piece, but ultimately art makes our job as storytellers easier!
AS: What is your favorite wall color right now?
HH: I love Benjamin Moore China White for my neutral and Benjamin Moore 2121-10 Grey for my dark dramatic accent color. They never fail.
AS: Favorite nail color?
HH: OPI Nail Lacquer - "Liv" in the Gray
AS: What is your favorite social media app to get design inspiration and share your work?
AS: What are your top 5 favorite artworks?