San Francisco's renaissance men are supposed to be clever enough to make millions on internet startups and cultured enough to make home design decisions. In reality, they lack both time and taste, so they just completely outsource the latter .
That's interior designer Ken Fulk's good fortune, according to an article by Deborah Schoeneman in this month's C magazine (think W for California — the article is not online but you can always order a subscription). Ridiculously wealthy startup founders just hand Fulk large bundles of money — or even a blank check — and set him loose. Why second guess your designer when your life is spent buried in software subroutines or analyzing internet business models?
Mark Pincus, the Harvard MBA founder of local networking site Tribe.net and social gaming network Zynga, and his wife "never consulted with their decorator on so much as a paint chip or swath of fabric" for their Cole Valley home. Programmer Michael Birch, who with wife Xori sold the social network Bebo to AOL for a ridiculous $850 million, gave Fulk an "elastic budget" for re-doing their $30 million Pacific Heights mansion, specifying only that Michael wanted a full-service pub imported from London.
How did the projects work out? Wonderfully, if you're in love with electric-blue lacquered walls, animal heads, and very loud stripes. zebra-print rugs and muddy-looking busts on your coffee table. Examples of Fulk's handiwork, from C, in the gallery below. The last item includes a description of Fulk's insane closet.
(UPDATE: This post originally contained a picture of Fulk's own place mis-labeled as Pincus' place. We have corrected it.)
Tribe.net founder Pincus' place in Cole Valley.
Bebo founder Michael Birch's mansion in Pacific Heights.
Designer Fulk. According to C, his own loft is decorated with "lots of taxidermy, vintage furniture and portraits. Instead of a closet, his clothes hang on a rack sheathed in black bags to protect them from the sun. Each bag is affixed with a Polaroid of the outfit inside. His name is printed on the bags as if it were a fashion label."