The condo came with a galley kitchen, but Ricker brought in a massive food prep table as a dining-cum-cooking surface—perfect for either large groups of friends or a dinner alone poring over his cookbooks. Hess custom-designed and installed a wall of industrial felt in the bedroom to create layers of texture that she describes as “tactile, but sharp and masculine,” to add visual interest and insulate for sound. Where closets used to be now stand a bed and a wall of built-in bookshelves. A sometime-musician (his current band, the Quags, just cut its third album), Ricker hides his collection of guitars inside cabinets over his bed.
Since space was at a premium in the 880-square-foot studio, Hess maximized flexibility. A series of sliding screens divide spaces, revealing one large room when Ricker is by himself, but allowing for easy partitions and privacy when guests are over. Because the bed is just steps away from the kitchen, Hess created a latticework screen out of walnut ply between the rooms. The pattern, derived from Southeast Asian motifs, was laser-cut—blackened marks remain, giving off a faint whiff of burning wood, appropriate for a chef who specializes in grilled Thai street food.
A white plastic cellular panel topped with painted fiberboard sheets became a slick system that screens off the bathroom and closets. Light glows through all of the screens, keeping the rooms feeling open despite the sliding dividers.
All in all, it’s an eclectic mash-up of styles: a retro, ’70s vibe mixed with an industrial aesthetic, with a little bit of Thailand tossed in. A vintage Eames shell chair sits next to a bright red industrial locker from Ikea in the bedroom. The side table in the living room was custom-made in Thailand of salvaged teak, and is surrounded by a groovy brown lounge chair found online at local store the Good Mod. Card-catalog cases hold cassette tapes from Ricker’s old bands (five and counting), and Hess dug the large metal casts over the couch (from local metal foundry ESCO) out of her friend’s shed. Ricker and Hess carefully handpicked everything; pasted prominently across the microwave, a tongue-in-cheek sticker proclaims “made to order” in Thai.
It’s a complex stew of moods, all served up in a practical manner—a fitting metaphor for Ricker’s cooking. “We accomplished something you can’t quite put your finger on; it’s not something you’d find in a style book,” Hess says. “If you have someone with a rich lifestyle in terms of stories and history, it’s really exciting to be able to extract that.”