From the outside, the Clinton Condominiums is a streamlined building wrapped in Cor-Ten steel and walls of glass. On the inside, the condos are simple, walnut-floored white boxes, gleaming with sunlight flowing through oversize windows. Sparse and bright, designed by local wunderkinds Holst Architecture, they’re the ultimate in urban loft living. But when Andy Ricker moved in, he wanted to infuse some personality into his place—to make it a little less predictable. “You’re in this big modern space, and you’re going to have all this modern furniture?” he says. “Plus, everybody’s got the same shit—it’s too much.”
The widely acclaimed restaurateur behind Pok Pok, Ping, Whiskey Soda Lounge, and, most recently, Pok Pok Noi, Ricker had been living across town in a 450-square-foot condo with a nearby freeway and juvenile detention center as its backdrop. “I bought the place over there to be farther away from Pok Pok, because I felt like it was consuming my life,” he says, continuing with a laugh, “and it was. But then I realized I don’t really have a life.” So he gave in to the inevitable, and bought this condo on SE 26th Avenue and Division Street, just six blocks from his flagship restaurant. Though he was pleased with the location and his unit’s eastern exposure, which lets him lie in bed and watch the sunrise, he had some issues with the layout. Oversize bathroom doors blocked the main entry when open, an electrical box took center stage over the bed, and the bedroom layout forced Ricker to sleep with his feet facing the windows.
A resolutely practical person, Ricker wanted his place to be easy to come home to after 12-hour days at his restaurants. To create a custom mix of functionality with his own quirky aesthetic, he turned to designer Andee Hess of local firm Osmose Design for help.
Hess and Ricker had met years before on a design project (Ricker was a professional commercial painter in a previous life) and been good friends since. A virtual nomad who travels for months at a time in Southeast Asia hunting down new recipes, Ricker made it clear that he wanted “what amounts to a really nice hotel suite—very low-maintenance and easy.” As the almost-bare cupboards attest (a glimpse inside one reveals a lone bottle of fish sauce surrounded by paper plates), Ricker’s not home all that much—nor is he fond of clutter.