With This Kitchen Hack, Ken Fulk Finally Stopped Tripping Over the Dog Bowls
The designer gave his “polar bears” a serious upgrade.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:13 AM
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This past year many of us have found new pastimes to help us relax: baking sourdough bread, reading more, or—like me—following Ken Fulk’s dogs on Instagram. No, they don’t have their own account (the world isn’t that lucky), but they are heavily featured on Fulk’s, along with his professional work of stunning interiors and debonair suits.We love Ken Fulk; he’s great and that is undisputed. This time we skipped the questions on getting his signature look and instead asked how to get his dogs’ style.
“We keep such an intimate relationship with these creatures,” he says. “They sleep in my bed, curl up on the sofa with me, lick my ears. We don’t set the same boundaries as we do with humans.”
Fulk’s English cream golden retrievers—Duncan, Sal, and Ciro—are lovingly referred to as the Polar Bears. The fourth pup, a wirehaired dachshund named Wiggy (short for Ludwig), was meant to be a traveling companion for the jet-setting designer but now prefers to stay home as the leader of the pack. Read on for the Fulk litter’s favorite things.
Collars That Can Handle Anything
Fulk’s pups aren’t just domestic canines—when it’s not a pandemic, the good boys travel. Home base is San Francisco, but the group often goes to the designer’s ranch up north, in Napa, or Provincetown, Massachusetts, for a break. (They’ve been on more hikes in the past year than I have in the last five.) For the pooch-on-the-go, Fulk sources cotton webbed leads and collars in solid and striped patterns from a small maker in their neighborhood of Pacific Heights: the designer dog boutique George, run by longtime family friend Bobby Wise. “The stuff from George handles the wear and tear of our big, crazy guys,” says Fulk. The webbed material is flexible and easy to clean after time spent on the mountain or in the house.
There’s nothing worse than the smell of a wet dog’s lead, though, so when they’re near the pool or at the beach, Fulk swaps the looks out for neoprene collars and leashes, which dry quicker.
Dog Bowls You Won’t Trip On
Feeding and hydrating four dogs means a lot of steel bowls scattered on the ground. It took Fulk only a couple of times tripping on them before he built a better system. “It’s saved so much time now that I’m not wiping up water on the ground that I’d splashed,” he says. In his kitchen Fulk removed the lower drawer completely. On the bottom of the unit, the designer cut out holes so that four plain stainless steel dog bowls fit perfectly within the opening. He also made sure there was plenty of headroom for each canine to get to their kibble mess-free. “When they’re finished, I just stick the bowls in the dishwasher and then pop them back in,” he says.
Finding beds that fit three giant polar bears, but don’t take up a whole living room, is tough enough—now layer on the matter of them blending with Fulk’s interiors. Petco didn’t provide any answers. “I couldn’t find anything that didn’t feel frilly or girly,” he says. Instead he re-covered their beds with excess outdoor fabric from Perennials he’d used on a previous project, knowing it would be easy to clean and durable for the animals. The resulting slipcovers go right over the existing Alta Plaza beds from George, featuring a bold striped pattern in black and white. (For anyone who knows how to sew, Fulk assures it’s “pretty easy to do with a machine.”) They keep the dogs’ sleep setup looking as good as his designs for the rest of the house.
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