Here’s Why Ken Fulk’s Dogs Have Pride of Place in His Bedroom

Vanessa Lawrence
Photo credit: Ken Fulk
Photo credit: Ken Fulk

From ELLE Decor

Photo credit: Elle Decor
Photo credit: Elle Decor

For our new series “Objects of Affection,” ELLE Decor is asking designers and others from an array of fields to tell us about an item in their personal space that is bringing them comfort and solace as they stay home in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. (And here’s what’s keeping the ELLE Decor team happy at home.)

Whether he is renovating a 1930s Viennese ambassador residence for a transplanted California family or dreaming up a wood-paneled and portrait-lined jewel box for a Park Avenue South coffee shop in New York, Ken Fulk injects all of his projects with an irresistibly maximalist joie de vivre. The San Francisco–based designer’s many recent endeavors include the Las Vegas outpost of Sadelle’s restaurant, the nonprofit Saint Joseph’s Arts Society & Foundation headquarters in his hometown, and the Pharrell Williams–owned Swan & Bar Bevy in Miami, for whose design he received a James Beard Award nomination this week. These days, the socially outgoing Fulk is staying put with his husband, Kurt, in their San Francisco home, where he is finding joy in the couple’s tokens of the many dogs that have kept them company over nearly three decades.

Photo credit: Douglas Friedman
Photo credit: Douglas Friedman

Ken Fulk’s Dog Collars

“To some, dog collars may appear to be rather utilitarian things. But for my husband, Kurt, and I, they have become a tribute to our shared past and a touchstone to the magical creatures with whom we share our lives.

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who knows me is familiar with my devotion to and love for our dogs. These creatures not only fill our days with so much joy, they are witness to the most important moments in our lives. I believe one of the strongest imprints we will take away from the current situation is the time we have spent with them: the hikes, the mishaps, the naps, and the utter bliss of a beast that has no worry for world events, other than seeing us in masks and gloves.

In the 29 years Kurt and I have been together, we’ve had nine pups—and five have left us. As a way to remember and honor them, we keep each of their collars as a memento of the life we shared. They sit in a display case in the entry to our master bedroom, the top of which is covered with framed photos of them. Each morning and evening, I pause to pay them respect and give thanks to life and to the four-legged friends we’ve been fortunate to know.” —Ken Fulk, designer and founder of Ken Fulk Inc.

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