Design Destination: South American Splendor with Tamara Kaye HoneyAuthor:California Home And Design
Interiors designed by Tamara Kaye-Honey are always full of carefully collected objects, accessories, and bold finishes that reflect a well-traveled client with a passion for design.Kaye-Honey curates her travel as meticulously as her interiors, which are an expression of her own global experiences . On a recent trip throughout South America, she stayed at divine hotels and discovered unforgettable restaurants, shops, and galleries that she knew others with the same sensibilities would enjoy.
What inspired your family trip to South America?
Our family tries to travel twice a year, around Christmas and in summer. We choose destinations that are culturally stimulating, educational, and of course, super-fun for the kids. I thought exploring South America during their summer (our winter) would be amazing with the long days, late dinners, and incredible traditions. Plus, the kids were able to practice their Spanish! We traveled from the sea to the mountains, beginning in Uruguay and ending in Chile with a visit to Buenos Aires for Christmas Eve.
In both Uruguay and Chile we stayed in Vik properties. Alex and Carrie Vik are the purveyors of the coolest luxury retreats in Uruguay and Chile, and staying with them is more like being a guest at your most fabulous friends’ house (your most fabulous friends with lots of money and impeccable taste in art, furniture, and architecture.) As an interior designer with a passion for hospitality, I was especially intrigued by their hotels’ formula for success. I think they perfectly balance everything from the ambiance, the service, and the food to create a total experience. Right now I’m working on two hotels, so I found my stays especially inspiring.
Playa Vik and Bahia Vik, located on the gorgeous coast of José Ignacio, Uruguay, are the Vik’s take on a relaxed beach getaway..Estancia Vik is Alex and Carrie’s idea of a small-scale country house, but really it’s so much more!
What was the most significant design/architectural moment for you during the trip?
The architecture of the winery at Vina Vik in Chile was hands down the most awe-inspiring moment. Chilean-born architect Smiljan Radic designed the building to look like a futuristic ship. Situated among the mountains and sweeping valleys, it’s really like nothing else.
Were there any interesting design trends you noticed?
I noticed in all three countries that Danish modern furniture is back. Most of the Vik hotels had pieces scattered throughout the rooms and there were tons in the vintage shops in the San Telmo area of Buenos Aires.
What was the most cherished piece you brought home and why?
I fell in love with a charming little shop called Claraz in Buenos Aires (Avda. Posadas 1170; estacionclaraz.com.ar.) for its artisanal goods like bone knives and incredible leather goods. I bought a beautiful pair of leather boots that I think will last forever.
How do you see this trip inspiring your own aesthetic?
Each trip that I have been fortunate enough to take influences my overall approach to design—especially my work on hotels and restaurants. Design is always about creating a unique and thoughtful experience with meaning and roots. So while travel always offers bits of inspiration, I always look at projects through a local lens so that they feel genuine.
HOTEL: The Faena in Buenos Aires for the imaginative interiors created by Philippe Starck. The red palette was perfect for Christmas Eve!
RESTAURANT: Casa Cavia in Buenos Aires. It’s basically a concept store (fragrances, flowers, and books), restaurant, and bar in one, housed in a 1927 mansion that has been restored with a modern twist by the architecture and design firm Kallos Turin.
SHOPPING: All the cute bohemian shops like Mutate that are tucked away in the charming town of Jose Ignacio, Uruguay.
GALLERY/MUSEUM: I Iove the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires. My favorites were the Emilio Renart installations.