Monday, May 14, 2012

Designer Jonathan Rachman Creates Buzz and a Dazzling Debut

The talk in San Francisco this week:

San Francisco Interior Designer Jonathan Rachman makes his first appearance at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase and it’s a hit.

His concept is ‘Collector’s Library’ with an exquisite grey/blue color scheme, and shelves crammed with treasures. 

With rare confidence and lashings of style, Jonathan created a highly original ‘collector’s cabinet’ that everyone in town wants. It’s a cabinet of curiosities—eccentric, chic, and unlike any room in this superb 2012 San Francisco Decorator Showcase.

Oh, and he caught the eye of top architects, leading landscape designers, and new clients galore. See their comments below.

Come on a magical mystery tour with me this week—and be inspired. Settle down with a cup of tea or a sip of wine. This is a long and detailed post—of a magical room. 

Jonathan’s Inspiration: Join us as I get the inside scoop

The Collector's Library

Travel and places I have been, especially my favorite places: Paris and Bali. I was born in Sumatra, went to school in Switzerland, lived in Paris and the US is my home for 25 years...this is a journey, a story of a collector.

Parisian chic/Le Marais, where I resided and influenced my sensibility: it's an artist village, a fashionista's heaven, simply chic — and always has something to offer for all kinds of creative minds.

Industrial London touch, I visited London a lot. I found it fascinating...all the metals/old constructions gave me a lot of visual design ideas. 

The concept:   wanted to create a classic European sensibility combined with a touch of industrial. Originally, when I moved in, this room had three different mahogany finishes, mis-matched in colors, outdated. But even in a horrible ‘before’ room there can be inspiration. I looked at the existing mantle and grey marble fireplace surrounding, I was instantly transported back to France.

I wanted to create a 'time travel' room (as in machine!), as I traveled through my collections, where they come from and when. 

The paint:  Benjamin Moore: Graphite high gloss finish (4 coats) for all panels and cross beams for coffered ceiling. This color is a constant reminder of Le Marais...and it instantly transports me back to my old neighborhood, I used to get off at the Rambuteau Metro station perfectly situated in the 3eme and 4eme of Paris, as I used to stroll between Les Philosophes restaurant (my absolute neighborhood resto) and Places des Vosges.  Benjamin Moore Linen White high gloss for flat part of coffered ceiling. 

The antiques:  Louis XVI style settee covered with black and white ticking fabric. I found this four years ago in an apartment in rue Chapon about to be discarded by owner, our best friend and gifted to me instantly. For the longest time, it was simply covered in an old muslin, and I loved the look. Last year, I recovered it with the black and white ticking.

Louis XVI style chairs with caned back with vintage French fabric flanking the fire place: from my random visits to estate sales in Atherton.

Louis XIII chair with gray grosgrain trim detail under modern photograph of "Wing Tip: Revisited". This chair looked so dowdy when I found them, upholstered with a very tired and sun damaged flowery fabric. I was walking around Marche Paul Bert, tired, with my client and simply put myself down on this chair.

Primitive stone farming tools from east Indonesia on mantel: from my latest trip to Bali.

"Loro Blonjo" – Javanese Sculpture in front of fire place. A constant reminder of my origins,

Vintage: World War II American A-26B "Invader" bomber wing tip over the mantel My first purchase from a collector in San Francisco of anything 'airplane' from WWII era.

Silhouettes from 17th-20th century, including George Washington's wax silhouette are from Keith and Howard, my dear friends from Antique Art & Exchange, Vermont Street, San Francisco. 

The collections:  Private collection of Jonathan Rachman Design collected from Asia, western Europe and the US

Justaposed to the vintage WWII wingtip, across from the room: a giant picture of Airbus 330 winglet/wing from Jonathan Rachman's window seat taken by Iphone between Bali and Taipei at sunset, titled "Wing Tip: Revisited", this is the newest collection . Available after showcase at: www.onekingslane/shop/

Other collections include: spectacles, various Victorian era objects,Joan Crawford's or check , industrial tools, apothecaries (reminds me of Deyrolle, taxidermist in Paris), binoculars (I love going to opera and ballet!), corals (in various colors of white, coral and blue!), (a wooden saddle from Java. china doll, beetle nut powder case (from Sumbawa or Timor island, made of hollowed horse bone), metal match boxes (from the US, France and Italy. 

Says Jonathan:

This room tells a story: real and imagined with my creative fantasy. The pendant lights were chicken feeders. I point out the WWII A26B wingtip and I hear stories about when someone or their father or grandfather was in the active duty then.

This room, is a perfect vehicle for me to showcase my true passion in design: less formulated and contrived ,classic and timeless, yet current and contemporary. The shelves host my collection, as if they always belong in the room. 


"Your Collector's Library was the highlight of the show. I was thinking about it all morning" – architect Andrew Skurman

"This room bridges the past and the present, it is the ‘Out of Africa’ of the showcase" – Robert J. Eberle, a client at opening party

"This reminds me of Sir John Soane's Library!" – a visitor first week at the showcase

The flooring:  French Bros. Flooring America: Cork tile in pyramid creme color the natural thing to do was a hardwood, BUT, there are already hardwood floors everywhere in the house. I believe the new generation of cork is very chic, practical and can accommodate a lot of different rooms and styles. this specific color and variation add to the personality of the room — not only it is easy on your back, it is another conversation piece — and a design element. 

It's All in the Details...
Photographer John Merkl also shot some wonderfully atmospheric close-ups of Jonathan’s ‘cabinet’, and I’ve included them below. 

“I was truly captivated by Jonathan’s room-- the setting, the deep, dark tones, the objects and the compositions throughout. For a photographer perpetually in search of beauty and elegance in interiors, it was a watershed moment! I knew I had to shoot it.” — John Merkl

Main photography of Jonathan Rachman's room at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase is by David Duncan Livingston,

Portrait by Christina Cavallaro,

Details images are by John Merkl,

All photography exclusive to THE STYLE SALONISTE and used with express permission from the photographers.


Jonathan Rachman,

San Francisco Decorator Showcase, through May 28:


LGoodmanSF said...

Beautiful blog! I noticed that John Merkl's website was typed incorrectly. The correct one is

Daniel Shigo said...

Beautiful blog, beautiful post! You love for design shines through. Thank you!

Lynne Rutter said...

I love this space, and the graphite color is sublime and reminds me of the color of some of the doors of Paris, especially with the gloss finish. It's full and personal and yet doesn't look all that cluttered (at least, not to me!) The whole showcase this year is surprising and beautiful.

quintessence said...

A fabulous detailed, layered room!! Dazzling indeed!

Greet Lefèvre said...

Dear Diane,
Jonathan's 'cabinet de curiosité' (as it really is) looks just gorgeous! I am so pleased you introduced us to a wonderful designer! I visited his website and was so enchanted by his portfolio. And so nice to read all the testimonials on his site!
Your blog is one of the best places to learn to know about the most talented designers!
Thank you Diane for again a wonderful blogpost about a fabulous designer.

helen tilston said...

Hello Diane

Jonathan has a unique and wonderful style. I love the colour scheme and the rich and interesting collection.
Thanks for posting.
Helen xx

Philip Bewley said...

I absolutely love John Merkl's delicious detail shots of Jonathan Rackman's room. He certainly hit the motherload of curious and intriguing objects to shoot, and this really shows Rachman's meticulous skill at assemblages, vignettes ...Loved the room, and your post.
I was there on Sunday ( I take my parents to the showhouse every Mother's Day) and Jonathan was there, very engaging with everyone, and charming as all get out...I think he is a designer to watch.
Warmest regards,

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...

Dear Friends and Design Lovers-

I'm so happy to introduce Jonathan new a new audience.
i've know him for a long time--first discovered him when he has a wonderful flower shop called Fleur't...and everyone used to send me flowers from his shop.
He's hard-working, charming, polished, and this room is going to be such a a fabulous decorator showcase...a wonderful year with his snappy room.
I am so happy to hear from all of you...just wonderful.
best DIANE

Beauty Follower said...

Very nice interior!