Ken Fulk’s highly sophisticated interiors—often swathed in colorful hand-painted wallpaper and decorated with a mix of centuries-old antiques and custom contemporary pieces—are almost instantly recognizable to anyone with an appreciation for design.
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His most recent endeavor that serves as a shining example of his design philosophy? The ’Quin House, a members-only social club that opened this summer in Boston’s famous Back Bay neighborhood. Founders Sandy and Paul Edgerley brought on Ken Fulk as the creative director, handing him the reins for every formative element of the coveted spot on Commonwealth Avenue, from the logo to the paint colors, and of course, the magical, transcendent interiors.
And for this six-story Gilded Age masterpiece, which spans four restaurants, six lounges, three bars, eight guest quarters, a roof deck, a fitness, and wellness center, and a series of private event spaces, Ken Fulk’s driving force behind the design was more of a feeling than it was a specific aesthetic.
Though few interiors experts can master the delicate harmony between vintage, antique, and contemporary pieces as well and as effortlessly as Ken Fulk does, he had good historical details—an impressive art collection, ceilings with elaborate plaster crowns, and extravagant alabaster columns—that came with the late 19th-century building on his side.
Although the ’Quin House was a heavy lift when it came to implementing a more contemporary approach to the interiors, Ken Fulk made a concerted effort to conserve as much of the original details as possible. In the grand reading room, which features two fireplaces on either end and a massive Calvin Coolidge portrait, he preserved the ceiling’s elaborate crown moldings, putting his own twist on them, in typical Ken Fulk fashion. They were originally a heavy white plaster, but over the years, from the fires brewing beneath the mantles and the years of cigar smoking, they had taken on the deep brown color they are now.
Another one of what used to be the Algonquin Club’s preexisting features that heavily influenced Ken Fulk’s creative direction? The late 19th- and early 20th-century classic American paintings that he inherited with the building. Ken Fulk turned to curator Kate Chertavian to find incredible works and ultimately build a collection that would include everyone from Andy Warhol to Picasso, Rodin, and Kehinde Wiley.
“The extremely curated art program is an integral part of this big building.”KEN FULK SUGGESTS
And it’s quite clear upon walking through the stately entrance, where guests are greeted with Rodin’s Penseur, Petit Modèle. That said, the 250-plus-piece art collection is only a piece of the complex puzzle that connects the old with the new.
Though Ken Fulk is hardly a stranger to the stylish panache of the world’s most decadent social clubs, there’s something special and almost pure about the ’Quin House because it’s infused with so much historical authenticity.
See Also: INTERIOR DESIGN: FORMARCH’S ART OF DECOR