Your Must See And Do's On Your Next Trip To LA

An Interior Designer Finds A Mix Of Hollywood Glamour And California Cool In Her Adopted City
Tamara Honey, founder and creative director of House of Honey. Photo credit: Megan Sorel.
Tamara Kaye-Honey
Creative Director, House of Honey

“An artful mix of old and new gives any space a soul,” says interior designer Tamara Kaye-Honey. “I’m really intrigued by all decades of design and think most had something magical to remember them by—except maybe the 90’s!” Guided by this ethos, she turned her Los Angeles firm, House of Honey, into a design powerhouse with a portfolio of distinctively chic spaces that are at once whimsical, glamorous, and inviting. Her clients include art-world luminaries, A-list celebrities, and some of California’s most buzzed-about hotels and restaurants.

For one client, House of Honey converted an attic into a serene master bath.
Honing Her Skills

Tamara grew up in the bucolic region of Nova Scotia in Canada, yet she was always drawn to urbane, sophisticated settings. “I was fortunate enough to travel with my dad on his business trips to cities like New York and London and I remember being in awe of the magnificent styles there,” she says. Right after college, she moved to Manhattan to pursue a graduate degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology, which led her to a job as a clothing buyer at Bergdorf Goodman, the iconic department store across from Central Park. “My love of fashion easily translated into interior design later on,” she says. “Color theory, patterns, and the overall skill of putting an outfit together is very similar to creating the look of a room.”

Otium, one of Tamara Honey's most Instagrammable interior design projects.
Taking A Leap

In 2003, Tamara moved to California with her husband and decided to renovate their new home, a midcentury property in Pasadena. Soon afterwards, she designed a hair salon in the area. “It was my first break,” says Tamara. “The owner took a big chance with hiring an unknown designer but it paid off for both of us!” By 2008, House of Honey was up and running, and quickly gaining traction. Tamara’s fascination with the past and her flair for using vintage finds in unexpected ways leads to highly individualized environments that are both fresh and timeless. Just look to some of her highly Instagrammable projects, including Otium and Crossings restaurants in Los Angeles.

Tamara Honey and her dog, Pickles.
Finding Inspiration

When she’s not busy getting ready for photoshoots with magazines like Elle Decor, Architectural Digest, and House Beautiful, or designing homes, hotels and restaurants up and down the California coast, Tamara travels the world with her husband and two kids. “In my opinion, traveling is the greatest way to expand your perception of what’s out there and to find endless inspiration when it comes to design,” she says.”It has provided me with unlimited ideas and will continue to fuel my creativity for as long as I’m around.”

Local Recommendations

Canadian designer Tamara Kaye-Honey feels right at home in Los Angeles, where she’s lived and worked for more than a decade. Here she shares her favorite places to enjoy her adopted city.

The Norton Simon Museum

Located right outside of Los Angeles in Pasadena, The Norton Simon Museum (411 West Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; +1-626-449-6840) is a treasured institution known for presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions of 20th century art by the likes of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and others. Its curved tile-covered building was designed in 1969 by architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey (and later upgraded by Frank Gehry) to blend into the surrounding mix of Beaux Arts, Moderne, and Craftsman architectural styles. “It such a gorgeous place to see both art and architecture and even play a game of chess in the Sculpture Garden,” says Tamara.

The Norton Simon Museum garden. Photo courtesy of Norton Simon Art Foundation.

Local Wellness Centers

As a cradle of wellness trends—kombucha, ayurveda, hot yoga, and micro greens are a normal part of daily life here—Los Angeles is a great place to indulge in a rejuvenating and detoxifying treatment. Head to The Now (7611 Beverly Blvd.; +1-323-746-5525) a serene, boho-chic sanctuary with well-priced massages and fun extras like “crystal healing,” involving the placement of energetically charged crystals on your chakras. For something aequally unusual, at Shape House (434 North Larchmont Blvd.; +1-855-567-2346), which bills itself as an urban sweat lodge, you spend an hour in bed, tucked into a infrared sleeping bag, while relaxing and watching Netflix.

A treatment room at The Now in West Hollywood. Photo courtesy of The Now.

Cocktail Bars And Restaurants With A Vibe

For pre-Prohibition era cocktails—a time when bourbon and gin were the spirits of choice, served with few other ingredients or garnishes over hand-chipped blocks of ice—head to 1886 Bar (1250 South Fair Oaks Ave.; +1-626-441-3136), a wood-paneled space set behind the patio at The Raymond restaurant. "It just feels homey and comfortable," says Tamara. "And I love the historic Craftsman building it’s in." A more glamorous atmosphere awaits at Cecconi’s (8764 Melrose Ave.; +1-310-432-2000) a restaurant in West Hollywood with a sweeping marble-topped bar doling out creative cocktails like the Italian Paloma, made with tequila, campari, lime and San Pellegrino grapefruit soda.

A glamorous atmosphere awaits at Cecconi's West Hollywood. Photo courtesy of Cecconi's West Hollywood.

Where To Go For Brunch And Beyond

On sunny weekends, Tamara likes to have brunch in the plant-filled back patio at Botanica (1620 Silver Lake Blvd; +1-323-522-6106), an all-day restaurant and marketplace offering gorgeous plates of healthy food and an equality eye-catching atmosphere decorated with rattan, weathered wood, and exposed concrete. In the evenings, she often heads to Café Stella (3932 Sunset Blvd.; +1-323-666-0265) a bustling casual bistro with a menu of classics like duck rillettes, moules frites, and steak au poivre. “It feels a little bit like Paris and they have best escargots!,” gushes Tamara. One of her absolute favorite restaurants in the city is Otium (222 South Hope St.; +1-213-935-8500) at the Broad Museum, where chef Timothy Hollingsworth is rethinking American cuisine. Designed by Tamara herself (together with architect Osvaldo Maiozzi and interiors firm Studio Unltd), the space features a thoroughly modern interpretation of rusticity, with muted colors and natural materials like stone, copper, glass, and wood.

Botanica restaurant. Photo credit: Alan Gastelum.

Where To Shop For One Of A Kind Finds

“There’s curated goodness for everyone,” says Tamara of Please Do Not Enter (549 South Olive St.; +1-213-263-0037), an intriguingly named design gallery and boutique in DTLA that sells a disparate collection of covetable, rarefied objects like delicate Japanese stationery, quirky Danish toys, and limited-edition perfumes, along with furnishings and artworks. Nearby Flowerboy Project (416 West 8th St.; +1-213-395-9535) is part flower shop and part concept store, stocked with everything from vintage clothing to scented candles and jewelry made of semi-precious stones.

Inside Please Do Not Enter, a design gallery and boutique Downtown. Photo courtesy of Please Do Not Enter.