Q&A: Interior Designer Tamara Kaye-Honey

Photos: Melissa Valladares

Tamara Kaye-Honey 
Occupation: Interior designer and owner of design boutique House of Honey
Resides in: Pasadena, CA
Best known for: A New Vintage aesthetic built on mixing far-flung design references with estate sale gold. 
1. Antique or modern?
Why limit yourself? An artful mix of old and new.

2. City or country?
Both, ideally. I love living in LA, but my husband and I both grew up with cottages and crave that life for our kids. Recently, we bought a small, rustic cabin in the hills of Montecito. It’s a huge renovation project but I can’t wait to wake up to nature and the smell of the ocean.

3. Which colors do you use most?
White and dark gray. 
4. Favorite materials or textures?
Marble, sheepskin, leather, mirror, and unlacquered brass. 

5. What is your favorite interior design-related word?
Whimsical. Because every space needs a bit of fun.

Photos: Eron Rauch, Dominique Vorillon

6. Does your current home look like the one you grew up in?

Not at all. I grew up in the '70s with brown shag carpeting and photomural wallpaper of a forest in the living room. In retrospect, it was all so very groovy-looking, but at the time I hated it.

7. Does a room need a view?
I think you can make your own view; be it art, window treatments, or fabulous lighting.

8. Favorite designer or architect?
David Hicks for his fearless use of pattern and color.

9. Which design blog, website, TV show, or magazine would you be lost without?
I’m a huge fan of UK magazines like Living Etc. and Elle Decoration. The designs seem bold and inspirational.

10. What qualities do you most admire in a room?
I think the challenge and excitement of design is having to work with whatever architectural style or floorplan you are given. Each space has its own identity and allows for a unique point of view and sense of style.

Photos: Eron Rauch, Dominique Vorillon

11. What is a forbidden word in your house?
There are too many to name!

12. Design rule you love to break and why?
I’m trying to learn to love mixing metals.

13. What is your favorite room in the house?
The dining room. I like to think it can be both sophisticated and practical; a space that lets you share a meal together as a family—without a TV present—is pretty special.

14. What is your most treasured possession?
My 1970s Parrot Chair by Ib Arberg. Its form is strong and linear, yet the overall design is truly witty. It’s like a big wink! I have it in our kids’s playroom and it’s one of the special pieces I wouldn’t ever sell.

15. What do you wish you could do without?
Sleep. I could get so much more done in a day.

Photo: Crossings Restaurant by Melissa Valladares

16. How does West Coast design differ from East Coast design? Does it?
Having lived in New York for many years, I definitely appreciate the East Coast’s more formal approach to design. I always like to add a dash of Uptown to my LA spaces. 

17. What is your favorite thing about the West Coast—design-related or otherwise?
Being from Canada, I have to say the weather.

18. If you could live in one historical figure’s house, whose would it be?
William Randolph Hearst’s famous estate, Hearst Castle. I can only imagine the over-the-top parties in the ‘20s and ‘30s and cocktail hour at The Neptune Pool.

19. On what movie set would you like to live?
The Ice Storm, which was set in New Canaan, in the 1970s. The town is known for its modernist glass homes, the most famous by Philip Johnson. I am obsessed with all three homes featured in the movie.

20. To which city would you move for the design?
Amsterdam is so cutting edge. It’s crazy how many talented designers and artists occupy such a small city. Droog is always inspiring and I love Marcel Wanders’s reinterpretation of traditional Royal Delft vases from the 1600s. My favorite hotel ever is the newly opened Conservatorium Hotel; totally original, insanely beautiful and a two-minute walk to the Stedelijk and Rijksmuseum.

21. If you were reborn as a piece of furniture or an object, what would it be and why?
An étagère, mostly because I love the ring of it.
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