Step Inside a Ken Fulk–Designed Gilded Age Members-Only Social Club in Boston’s Back Bay

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. “I do strive hard not to have a signature look, but there is an obvious DNA to the things that we create that makes the spaces easily identifiable.” 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 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.

“The reception area was a space that didn’t really exist. We created the room from scratch,” Fulk notes. “The deep aqua color, ’Quin Blue, covered the paneled walls and coffered ceilings, offering just the right amount of drama.” Photo: Jenna Ohnemus Peffley
“I’m someone who loves a secret room,” Fulk says through a chuckle. The Frank Sinatra–themed Hideaway, whose entrance is accessible by touching a Jo Davidson–crafted Sinatra bust in the living room, is exactly what it sounds like: an intimate space that’s completely hidden.Photo: Jenna Ohnemus Peffley

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, Fulk’s driving force behind the design was more of a feeling than it was a specific aesthetic. “For me, it’s more about spaces that have evolved. In other words, they don’t seem to feel like they just suddenly appeared; they look as if they’ve subtly adapted to a more contemporary landscape without losing its historical roots,” Fulk notes.

Fulk says, “We kept all of the entry’s important old pieces, and we felt obligated to because they were so special.” Case in point: the Davenport chairs, which are now covered in a sultry tiger-print fabric, and the caramel-colored alabaster columns that stand out so sharply against the black-and-white marble floor. Photo: Jenna Ohnemus Peffley

Though few interiors experts can master the delicate harmony between vintage, antique, and contemporary pieces as well and as effortlessly as 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. “It’s great to have that tension between the original elements and the contemporary ones we added. It was a big responsibility to create something that feels aesthetically relevant at its core,” Fulk explains. 

The ethereal Donald Lipski crystal light sculpture suspended over Bondo’s outward-facing banquettes sets a certain sophisticated moodiness. The burnished eggplant-hued paneled walls and Candida Höfer photos only further enforce the dramatic elegance of the huge space. “It’s where you go when you want to see and be seen,” Fulk instructs. That’s actually why all of the booths face outward rather than inward.Photo: Jenna Ohnemus Peffley

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