Terry Honeyman has three passions in life: Cars, art, and music. He satisfies the first one through a decades-long career selling cars in Topeka, most recently as owner of Honeyman Auto Plaza on South Kansas Avenue. His other two passions are evident the minute you walk into the 8,000 square-foot penthouse he shares with partner Meryce Clemmons on the twelfth floor of the Downtown Ramada Hotel. Every inch of available wall space features a work of art, many with music-based themes.
While beautiful, all the artwork takes a backseat to the spectacular view as you enter the living room. Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows frame the city below and the horizon to the south and west. If you're lucky to be there at sunset, the sight is breathtaking.
"For me, I never get tired of this view," Honeyman says. "I get unbelievable sunsets. Unbelievable views of storms. The only problem is I always run out of wall space. Too much art."
Bold paintings by artists such as Mike Debus, Peter Max, and Robert Cronin hang throughout the penthouse. Several Bill Mack alto relief sculptures are also featured, including a large relief of actress Marilyn Monroe in the master bedroom. Interspersed throughout are Asian art pieces with striking black, yellow, and red hues.
Many of Honeyman's art feature musicians, which isn't surprising since he spent many years in the entertainment business. He owned the TNT nightclub in 1979. Customers lined up every weekend to dance throughout the night, and the male dancers featured on Tuesdays' ladies' night were once featured on The Phil Donahue Show.
Honeyman also booked music acts into places such as The Grand Theater and Expocentre in Topeka. Spend any time with him, and you'll hear great stories. There's the one about the Oak Ridge Boys giving him a ride home on their tour bus while traveling from Oklahoma City to Omaha. Another features Tina Turner asking him to get a bucket of KFC for her after her concert at The Grand. And one about how Martin Sheen stayed in his house while filming "A Matter of Justice."
A friend told Honeyman about the Ramada's 12th floor in 2006 when he was selling his West Topeka home. At the time, the hotel was using it for storage. Honeyman remembers, "When I got off the elevator, it took me 45 minutes to get from the elevator to the windows, and all the windows were covered with bedspreads. But when I pulled them apart and looked out, I knew this was it."
Living in a hotel has its benefits. Honeyman can access amenities like the gym, pool, and parking. However, he admits residing on the top floor has drawbacks. For example, when the remodeling started, the only way to get building materials delivered was with a crane through the windows. The new hardwood floors were elevated to accommodate the electrical and plumbing without disrupting the rooms below. And those windows? While they provide a great view, they also generate a great deal of heat.
Despite all the challenges from 16 years ago, Honeyman is itching to start a new remodeling project in an untouched area of the 12th floor. He plans to create a new living space, possibly tying it into the existing space on making a completely new area separate from his current living area.
"I've got this thing I call attainable vision," he says. "It's setting your goals to where they're reachable. You just have to figure out how to get there. Everything that I've ever wanted to do was attainable. I just had to figure out how to get it."