Barbary Coast Library Designed For Peace and (Dog-Eared) Pages

In the glory days of San Francisco’s Gold Rush era, large ships dropped anchor at the rollicking Barbary Coast (known today as the Jackson Square design district), providing ungainly fortune hunters curbside access to the city’s best opium dens and brothels. Where docks once existed, turn-of-the-century brick-and-timber structures now stand. Inside the historical Musto Building, which has been transformed into a fashionable new members-only social club called The Battery by acclaimed SF designer Ken Fulk, one particularly dark and contemplative space bears the name of the legendary waterfront.

Leilani Marie Labong
  • Photo credit: Joe Fletcher
    Oceanic Hues
    Designed by Ken Fulk

    Taking cues from the area’s maritime history, Fulk painted the walls and ceiling of the Barbary Coast Library in a deep navy blue C2 Paints shade called Moby Dick. The bold oceanic hue sets the stage for the design’s unique conversation pieces. A large-scale early-1900s metal sign from an East Coast naval museum depicts an old ship a-sailing; a creepy-chic chandelier of seven taxidermy birds represents not just the seven hills of San Francisco but also a squawking, fish-preying flock (practically a prerequisite for the life aquatic) and a beautiful floor is made of reclaimed oak planks arranged in a handsome 
herringbone pattern to evoke a ship’s deck.

Ken Fulk

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