Monday, November 30, 2015

Master of Style and Serendipity: San Francisco Interior Designer Jonathan Rachman Celebrates the Opening of J. Rachman, His Inspiring and Magical New Studio and Shop

It’s the city’s new must-visit boutique — a cabinet of curiosities. Filled with a world of treasures, it’s now an essential stop en route to dinner or lunch (or brunch) at Zuni Café.

There’s an exquisite grey/blue color scheme, shelves crammed with treasures, and a well-stocked zinc bar offering refreshments for devoted clients and new friends.

With rare confidence and lashings of style, Jonathan created a highly original ‘collector’s cabinet’ that everyone in town wants to discover. It’s a cabinet of curiosities—witty, carefree, eccentric and chic, and unlike any other in San Francisco.

Interior designer Jonathan Rachman is noted for his superb curatorial eye and his cosmopolitan and truly avid collecting. Now, after almost two decades in the design world (he was formerly the proprietor of a fantastic San Francisco flower/style shop, Fleur’T) Jonathan has opened J. Rachman.

This week we're focusing on his exuberant new shop displaying (and selling) antiques, furniture, textiles, leathergoods, ceramics, Venetian glass, custom offerings, statuary, sculptures, and lovely things with an interesting and often eccentric provenance. Oh, and flowers. Lots of fresh and romantic flowers.

Diane Vreeland said, “Style is consistency” and in Jonathan’s case his consistent eye has resulted in a gloriously seductive shop that looks as if it has been there for many years. In fact, it came together this fall. The space was formerly an atelier for antique European pianos, where, serendipitously, there were occasional piano recitals on resonant grand instruments of thrilling timbre, and chamber performances, cabaret offerings, and lively impromptu evenings. Now it’s Jonathan’s territory.

Objects of Sumatran origin, creatures in porcelain, fusty paintings, rusty metal, and maps and mirages jostle and jumble together. Oh, and look up. There are shelves of silver, and shoals of silhouettes.

Jonathan loves the gift of flowers. Here are some recent bouquets and blooms.

Jonathan’s Inspiration:

“Travel and especially my favorite places, Paris and Bali and London and New York are always on my mind.

“I was born in Sumatra, went to school in Switzerland, then lived in Paris and the US is my home for 28 years.

“Parisian chic in the manner of Le Marais, where I resided, has influenced my sensibility. It’s an artists' village, a fashionista's heaven, simply chic and always with something to offer for all kinds of creative minds. I love Paris flea markets.

“I visited London a lot. I found it fascinating. All the metals/old constructions gave me a lot of visual design ideas. Now I’m also creating leathergoods in Italy, very old-school and simple, and offering my fabrics from Bolt Textiles. I keep the shop open late—so that my friends on their way to Zuni Café can stop in and pick up a bouquet, or a chair, or an old book, or perhaps a down-filled pillow.”

I looked for years for this space and every time I went to Zuni Café to enjoy a cocktail or dinner I peeked into the space across on Rose Street. I dreamed of having a boutique in this space. It reminds me a lot of Le Marais and ile St. Louis. It’s quirky and the ceilings soar— to showcase collections I have gathered from all around the world.”—Jonathan Rachman

Jonathan told me: “Among my favorite things are an antique extra wide grosgrain ribbon roll found in Paris, piles and piles of old and new fashion and design books with names like Givenchy, Audrey, Ralph Lauren, as well as the vintage book by Dorothy Draper, "Decorating is Fun", Sherrill Whitton's "Elements of Interior Decoration" and Edith Wharton's "The Decoration of Houses". An antique plate from Verona like the one my husband and I used from our last trip holds my afternoon's snack daily.” 

Jonathan has always been, at heart, a designer and a collector. Before opening his own design company, he was the impresario of Fleur’T, a popular flower shop. His love for flowers continues.

“I insist that flowers are always fresh with the most intoxicating fragrance,” he said. “I like flowers to be simple, all one kinds held in a hand painted crystal glasses by Margo Larkin.”

To discover:

Hand painted crystal glasses by Margot Larkin exclusively for J.Rachman.

Top hats, horse bits, corals, nautilus, and glasses and napkins and other objects all marbleized or personalized with monogram upon request.

J.Rachman leather goods line, hand made in Italy. There’s the Jonathan messenger, carry on and weekender made in a simple traditional style out of horse leather, as well as the tote bags, toiletries, clutches. Also cuffs in various colors along with horsehair tassels in classic color combos or preppy colors.

Italian Silk pillows and pocket squares by Alexandra Foster (Harrods in London carries this line).

A new exclusive canvas bag line.

Dr. Vranjes of Florence's candle lines, room perfume.

"The Man Within" new book by Alison Carlson: first coffee table book on Winston Churchill.

Flower nosegays to order or to purchase: Grab and go flowers.

Also among this cabinet of curiosities:

Javanese Dutch Colonial marble table.

Vintage glassware and china with Greek key motifs.

Vintage drug store counter from Iowa, converted into a zinc top bar.

An Alsatia kitchen screen converted with added glass panels to separate the store from the design office.

Vintage and antique vases and vessels

An original wing tip from a DC-4 of United Airlines along with other airplane parts as old as WW II

Marble and plaster busts: antiques and vintage from France, Italy and the US

Antique and vintage silhouettes.

'Green with envy' vases, and handblown glasses and porcelain collections form Hong Kong, Italy and the US.

Vintage jewelry

Antique and vintage dolls from the US, China.

Antique Balinese shutters, holy water vessels, artifacts, dance headdress.

Vintage Hermes saddle.


Jonathan loves Zuni Café. He told me:

“To be opposite Zuni is simply divine. It's a San Francisco institution of over 26 years, and the best neighbor in town. The owner, Gilbert Pilgram, and his staff welcome me and my colleagues and guests at any time of the day. Zuni's corner is almost an extension of J.Rachman. It's like an extra 'conference' room.

“The famous Zuni oven-roasted chicken and matchstick fries are a few steps away from our front door.

“It truly is a community. Gilbert and his partner have been most welcoming and are very supportive of our move. I have found the Europe I miss so much in this most unexpected location.”

The Details:

J. Rachman
1632C Market Street
San Francisco CA 94102

Phone 415.440.1234

Hours: Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am-8pm, Sunday: 11am-6pm, Monday: closed

J. Rachman is located at the corner of Rose and Market Streets, San Francisco (and opposite the main entrance Zuni Café on Rose Street). The studio/shop is located in the mid-Market district of San Francisco, not far from Van Ness Avenue and near Gough Street. If you are lucky, you will also see vintage cable cars from around the world rumbling and whizzing past on the Market Street trolley line. Very San Francisco.

Note: Jonathan Rachman is also available for design and interiors and party planning consultations.


Photography by Drew Altizer,
Used here with express permission.

Images of the store also by Aubrie Pick,
Used here with express permission.


La Contessa said...

YOU HAVE THIS CONTESSA's ATTENTION!I love what I am seeing!I love his BACKGROUND and his sensibilities ...........

Diane Dorrans Saeks said...


Love hearing from you…in the Far East!!

Yes, I hope you will come across the bridge and see Jonathan's store…

one ideal way…to make a res. for dinner at Zuni…arrive early, park with the valet, and then hop over to J. Rachman for a visit…then leap back across Rose St for dinner…the perfect evening. see you soon, I hope--D

Karena Albert said...

Dear Diane, what a wonderful profile on Jonathan!
He is infectious, his smile, his laugh, his curiosity and sense of adventure. I cannot wait to visit his new shop!

The Arts by Karena