True beauty is found in the details. For Jonathan Rachman, a multihyphenate interior designer, event planner, and author of the memoir The Garlic Peanut Story, designing gorgeous homes begins with practicality, purpose, and passion.
“I absolutely love transforming a space, a house, a mansion, or resort from something that’s stale, boring, and mediocre to something absolutely fabulous and fun,” says the San Francisco-based Rachman. “The process of finding the perfect items, furnishings, and colors completely excites me.”
Ironically, being an interior designer was never part of Rachman’s plan, but life took him down a different path. Twenty years ago, after being dissatisfied with his life in corporate America, he opened a flower shop without having real experience as a florist. His talent was evident, and he soon found himself designing events for A-list clients before shifting gears to interior design.
Rachman is now one of the most sought-after designers in the Bay Area. His 2,000-square-foot store, across the street from San Francisco’s iconic Zuni Café on Market Street, showcases fine antiques, jewelry, and other discoveries he’s collected from his travels around the world. It also acts as an exclusive showcase for his continuing collaborations.
“The human factor is most important,” he says of the creative process with clients. “Their homes should reflect their style and them as the owners. I also love to draw inspirations from my favorite places when it’s appropriate.”
A MUSING IN PARIS
I love clustering books and flowers as well as objects on a coffee table to create a geometrical silhouette. Besides visually pleasing and chic, you still have room for your cocktails and apéro. Remember, clusters prevent clutter! Also, don’t forget to create various heights. This creates depths and interests.
Images by Suzanna Scott Photography. Duran Coffee Table available at De Sousa Hughes. Accessories and flowers by J.Rachman.
HOUGHTON HALL REIMAGINED
Traveling and collecting are the core of my design passion. There’s nothing like a giant coffee table or ottoman that can display your collections and personal items. This ginormous ottoman is so vast yet intimate as it shows the owner’s personality and their story. Don’t forget bold multiple floral from your garden, or splurge and have a professional florist embellish your luxurious coffee table with their creations. Above all, make sure they are proportionate.
Images by Suzanna Scott Photography. “Lady R” Extra Large Ottoman: Designed by J.Rachman and custom-made by Konekt Furniture. This ottoman is tufted and covered with Designers Guild velvet Pavia FDG2535-02 and horsehair fringe, inspired by an equestrian photograph from Houghton Hall. Available at Coup d’Etat. Antiques and accessories from J.Rachman and Antique & Art Exchange in San Francisco. Flowers by J.Rachman.
Centralize your coffee table or ottoman with a tray, especially if you like to entertain or gather around this sitting area with your loved ones. Feet up? No problem. Need more room? Simply remove the tray temporarily. Casual but stylish, and don’t forget to add your favorite fragranced candle (flowers too, of course). They always add to the mood. Don’t overthink it; simply drop and stack your favorite gorgeous books and adjust according to your guests’ interests.
Images by Douglas Friedman. Ottoman designed by J.Rachman and custom-made by Arden Home in San Francisco upholstered in leather by S.H. Frank and Co., S.F. Accessories and flowers by J.Rachman.
Jonathan Rachman’s interiors have graced the covers of Elle Decor, Modern Luxury Interiors California, California Home + Design, Haven, KDHamptons, and more. Relish his unique coffee table stylings below and learn more at JonathanRachman.com.
A version of this story first appeared in Out's 2021 Hollywood Issue. Jake Borelli is featured on the cover alongside Ryan O'Connell and Alexandra Grey. It is the first print issue under the editorial direction of editor-in-chief David Artavia. The issue is out on newsstands on March 3, 2021. To get your own copy directly, support queer media and subscribe — or download yours for Amazon, Kindle, Nook, or Apple News +.