Before and After: An aging dame gets a modern makeover but keeps her Tudor soul

Over the last decade, an Altadena couple modernized their Tudor home while preserving its original charm.

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Before its transformation, Tamara Kaye-Honey’s 1924 Tudor suffered decades of inattention.

With its wood-shingled roof, gumwood cabinetry and beige walls, the four-bedroom Altadena home lacked charm and modern comforts when Kaye-Honey first laid eyes on it.

Yet the interior designer “fell in love with the bones,” drawn to the home’s openness and dramatic arches, she said. Sensing its potential, she and husband Ryan Honey purchased the property for $1.175 million in 2007.

Over the next decade, the couple turned the cutesy storybook home into a more modern hideaway while preserving its Old World soul.


The renovation came in two major phases.

The first, in 2008, saw Kaye-Honey rework the first floor. She enlarged the kitchen by combining it with a nearby bedroom and gave it a trendier look by switching out a utilitarian island for a Calacatta marble waterfall one. Viking appliances, French doors and Italian porcelain floors completed the revamped space.

The designer also allowed more light downstairs by replicating the home’s front-facing arching windows in the back of the house. She then turned a garage into a guesthouse with a private bath and vaulted ceilings.

The second phase was done with the help of architect Tom Marble in 2012. The sloping wood-shingled roof came tumbling down, to be replaced by a striking standing seam roof with skylights more commonly seen in Europe.

“I wanted to create drama with that roof,” Kaye-Honey said. “It also added a touch more style to a traditional architecture while still reading like a Tudor home.”

But it wasn’t an easy task because of the asbestos beneath the wood shingles. The couple and their two children vacated the home for two weeks while workers in hazmat suits removed the tile.


Kaye-Honey, who heads the boutique design firm House of Honey, said she was careful to stay true to the original character of the home, emphasizing its bold triangular spaces whenever possible.

“We let the gables and the architecture speak to us,” she said.

The couple’s headboard, for example, was made in leather and cut precisely to fit the pitch in the roof just above them.

The master bath, which features a triangular gold-trimmed mirror chosen to accentuate the angle of the roof in that room, is one of her favorite places.

“It took a lot of time and planning before we started working with an architect,” she said.

For inspiration early on in the remodeling process, Kaye-Honey temporarily placed a Victoria + Albert Napoli bathtub atop two-by-fours, facing a window. There, overlooking the San Gabriel Valley beyond, the designer sketched and planned.

Today the bath is decadence in white, accented with brassware and surrounded by textured rugs and midcentury furniture.


“This space is as big as my apartment in New York,” she said.

After $1.5 million in renovations, Kaye-Honey is ready to move on.

“The home is perfect,” she said. “To me, that’s the time to say farewell and do it all over again somewhere else.”

It’s listed for $2.875 million.


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