Internationally-acclaimed Jonathan Rachman is one of the most diverse and original designers on the San Francisco scene. Born in Sumatra, Rachman tripped over his design career while arranging glorious flowers and curating Parisian flea market finds in his small shop in the avenues. Flash forward fifteen years and Rachman is as at home designing mansions as he is purchasing pied a terres; and, outfitting them for his clients sight unseen until they are meticulous, down to the last detail. A tastemaker, author, publisher and soon to be store owner of the eponymous J. Rachman design shop in San Francisco, Rachman is looking forward to complementing his interior business with bespoke, luxurious leather– custom- crafted with artisans in Italy — Belgian linen and hand-painted glassware all in time for the holidays.
Where do you live and why do you love it?
I live on The Peninsula and I don’t love it :)) but I do it for love…as my husband works there. We also live part time in San Geronimo. No one knows where it is, that’s why we love it! Being among nature, and seeing a family of deer daily…! Bali’s home awaits whenever we can be there….if you must ask me why I love to live in Bali, well…then you must just visit Bali.
I am so unhip, I like my coffee gayly forward (got it? ;)) for me my best barista is my husband but I still love Peet’s and if you must know, the one on West Portal or Fillmore and Sacramento. And ONLY: Traditional Cappuccino, for here – which means in a cup and saucer. I never drink my coffee to go nor on a paper cup – again, I am unhip and old school.
Favorite spot for a cocktail?
My old school dictates that I am a loyal client and both of these have such memories: Zuni! Corner window
Bix: at the bar Proudly, I have gone to these two places over 20 years… or for a Tiki moment (yes, I came out as a Tiki lover) The Tonga Room
Date night destination?
Assuming in San Francisco: We love to stay at the Taj (old school, discreet and buttoned down), we start at the hotel bar, then move, Tonga Room, walk to Li Po (dive bar on Grant, China Town which has been around since the 30’s, and you are not a local until you gotten drunk there), dinner at Bix or a mom and pop spot called Ristorante Baonecci (nothing fancy but Mom is cooking, son is the best host and wait staff, Dad is sczhmoozing – a sweet family from Lucca and it is not your tourist Italian). We always stop at City Lights Bookstore (basement is a must), and we end up at Bix for Fernet Branca and dessert (if we start at Bix, we end up at Comstock Saloon for a nightcap.
We bail to Carmel where we used to live and just cuddle ;))
Favorite find in the neighborhood?
Our new location and store: J.Rachman across from Zuni on Rose alley (although address is 1632C Market When I found that it was available, I literally dropped everything, found the landlord (who happened to be in the abandoned space) and begged like I was like gay little puppy…
Outdoor space to enjoy in the sun?
In San Francisco: what sun? ;))) but if you insist: Cafe Flore on a sunny day is an oldie but a goody.
Waikiki Beach: while it is touristy, we are addicted to it – we have so much unforgettable memories, you must have a tropical itch “Under the Banyan Tree” at the Moana Surfrider and if possibly, lounge by the pool at the Halekulani, facing Diamond Head.
In Bali: at Tandjung Sari Hotel, the original boutique hotel in Bali where the Rolling Stones and the Beatles used to stay – besides stunningly beautiful, the thought of them hanging out there is divine…
Best kept neighborhood secret?
Dragon Eats: Hayes Valley Vietnamese street food, it is the food truck without the truck and aunties and staff are always sweet.
Yoyo Salon: on Clement street: low key, fabulous hair salon, I know a few high maintenance clients and models who go there. And 3 – 2- 1 …it is no longer a best kept secret ;)))