Jonathan Rachman is a San Francisco-based multi-hyphened creative, event planner to the elite and owner of Jonathan Rachman Designs. This year Rachman also adds author to his repertoire with the release of his memoir, The Garlic Peanut Story. This came from a desire to pay tribute to a beloved adopted sister and was written after her passing, via Jonathan’s letters of gratitude that reveal a tumultuous journey in an archipelago where persecution of LGBTQ remains commonplace.
Rachman expresses his appreciation through The Garlic Peanut Story for a sister whose love supported him through a traumatic childhood, while remembering the agony of being born different and growing up queer in a large and dysfunctional family. On his journeys abroad, he also goes on to ponder learning to write and the discovery of gay mentors who inspired him with good advice and kindness.
Jonathan has explored most corners of the world as an avid traveler and his beautiful interiors have graced the covers of many stylish magazines such as Elle Décor, California Modern Luxury Interiors, California Home + Design, Haven and KDHamptons to name a few. When he ventured to start his own business as a florist, he caught his big break and was discovered by Marc Jacobs. He was asked to make the arrangements for his flagship store in San Francisco and managed to pick up high-end customers via word of mouth, one of them being The Four Seasons Luxury Hotels.
For most of us, home renovation wasn’t on the 2020 vision board, but we realize our personal space and professional needs must merge after half a year of shelter in place. Jonathan has helped clients reconfigure, redecorate and reorganize their homes as one of the top interior innovators in the Bay Area to accommodate all the roles a modern living space now plays (from office to daycare to gym).
Some of the modifications to the design he has seen in the field include:
- For home office space, practicality and expansion. Most people did not have the need to dedicate a space for an office before the pandemic, but now look to turn guest rooms into offices or have offices seamlessly meshed into living spaces.
- Making “central command” of homes the open kitchen
- To integrate the outdoors, Sunroom extensions
- Mudrooms no longer serve as formal entries but as areas of “decontamination” post-outdoor.
Jonathan never received formal training in interior design, but instead received training in Switzerland in fashion and hospitality management. He passionately believes that good design, much like happiness, comes from within and should always tell a story, as these two elements carried over to his design style. He also believes that every color, as well as hue and temperature, has the power to mentally and emotionally affect us. From early on, most individuals have been conditioned either culturally or geographically to be affected by how we perceive different colors. Mental health has now become a primary part of his design process more than ever, as most of us are in quarantine. Through his complete renovation guide, he helps people make complex decisions including choosing the color of the floor tiles, buying a dining table, deciding where to place the vent fans, etc.
Jonathan attributes his aesthetic to be a combination of East and West, he is not one to follow trends, but one who is wise to respect those before him. The legends that inspire him are Hubert de Givenchy, Monsieur Dior: classic and iconic.
Jonathan was raised by his parents and taught to always dress appropriately for occasions but reinforced through boarding school to “dress like a gentleman.” So now when he travels, he makes it a point to “be considerate of others” by keeping his look chic yet comfy.
Below he shares his tips and “must-haves” for long-haul flights and cures for jet lag as well as styling tips and recommendations for those on the go.
- Top designers that create crisp, tailored jackets made of comfortable materials.
- Where to get the best breathable outer coat.
- Bestcrisp white or gingham shirt for an everyday chic look with high wrinkle potential.
- Comfortable yet sturdy driving shoes for an easy change from “takeoff and landing” to “slippers and socks”
Jonathan makes a “mini” round-the-world trip to his homeland of Indonesia every year, before traveling back through Europe to return home to San Francisco and always travels with his partner of over 26 years. Jonathan credits their relationship longevity to both growing up with positive role models, since their parents remain together and are a prime example of a strong relationship to this day. And their motto as a couple which is: Eternity is too short; eternity is not long enough.
Jonathan Rachman’s new memoir, The Garlic Peanut Story is available now!