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Tour the Montecito Home of One Creative Couple

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Though a home can be beautiful, treasured, and practical, most people cannot justifiably claim that their property is indeed a perfect example of any one attribute—much less a locale-defining architectural style. But for Justine Roddick and Tina Schlieske, such a declaration might just be valid. “Considering the house as a whole, that is the exterior of the house, the garden, and the interior, I consider it without question to be the most perfect example of the Hispanic Moresque type of architecture developed to suit conditions that exist in America today,” architect George Washington Smith wrote to Vogue features editor John McMullin of his own home—the now Roddick-Schlieske residence. In May of 1926, this letter was written in response to a question posed by McMullin, and Washington Smith—nearly a decade into his architectural career—was making a name for himself throughout Southern California.

A little over a year later, that same Montecito project appeared in a four-page Vogue spread as part of an August 1927 shelter-centric issue. “A Spanish House in California,” reads the story’s headline, which describes Washington Smith as the “best known of California’s architects.” And although the designer’s “without question” was replaced with an editorialized “perhaps,” the sentiment was the same: The home was a near pristine blueprint for what an American, Spanish-inspired home should look like.

For these reasons and others, Roddick and Schlieske were hesitant to be too heavy-handed in their renovation of the property, approximately a century later. Though they’d owned the historic home for about a decade, it had never felt like it was truly theirs. “COVID kicked our desire to make the home ours into high gear,” Schlieske, a musician, explains. At the same time, the couple felt deeply that the intention of Washington Smith couldn’t be ignored or, worse, erased. “We wanted to be so respectful of the bones of the house, and we were struggling to determine how to imprint ourselves and what we love into the fabric of the home without debasing it in any way,” she adds.

So, the pair enlisted Tamara Kaye-Honey, an interior designer and founder of House of Honey, to help with what Roddick described as this “overarching complication.” As Kaye-Honey explains, “I think what they responded to was our fierce use of color and boldness, and I had been known as someone who can respect the bones of a property, while also creating interior spaces that flip it on its side.”

And flipped it is. Looking back on the project, it’s perhaps the dining room that encapsulates this transformation the most. Before, the family almost never spent time in that part of the house but found themselves drawn to it immediately after Kaye-Honey finished working on the space. “It was one of the first things that Tamara finished,” Schlieske says. “And the colors she chose, the chairs, the amazing pendant light, the curtains…I just couldn’t wait to see what she’d do with the rest of the house.” What is more, it’s the perfect looking glass to confirm Washington Smith is still very much a part of the property. The hand-painted ceiling and handmade red floor tiles—two original details—were not only left untouched, but are also clearly central to the room’s success. “We didn’t want to take away from any of these elements. Instead, it was about pulling colors in, and adding to what had been there for 100 years,” Kaye-Honey says. That sentiment is carried through the rest of the house too, with many of its most unique original features—coffered ceilings, hand-painted tiles, and murals by painter Ramos Martínez—still proudly on display.

But now, it’s also a true Roddick-Schlieske home. A hot-pink entryway greets guests with a chromatic gust, while cheeky details—like an Elvis shrine—wait just around the corner. Textures, layers, and patterns erupt throughout the house, while rooms develop from deep saturation to misty delicacy, building tension in one that is released in the next. “For me, as a designer, it’s always about creating these experiences and unexpected moments,” Kaye-Honey says. “You can have this moment with wild, artistic wallpaper, and then you close the door and it’s suddenly much more subdued.”

Aesthetic intentions aside, Kaye-Honey explains her team strived to create spaces where the family could “live life out loud.” And, with the metamorphosis now done, it’s a goal that’s been easily met. “Before, it never felt cohesive, and I always just felt we could do so much better,” Roddick explains. “And I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had people over to play live music or to gather, and everyone feels so connected, so warm, so held, so loved—I’m very honored it’s our home.”

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