Designer Crush: Michael Rachlin

1. Who is your biggest role model?

Actor Steve McQueen, he was the quintessential "King of Cool." I remember he was quoted as saying, “When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.” I think that mindset is what you need to succeed in business and in life. His balance of masculinity and sensitivity made him both a man’s man and a ladies' man all at once.

2. Which movie or play do you wish you could have designed the set for?

I would have designed the movie set for the 1998 American science-fiction comedy-drama film, The Truman Show, directed by Peter Weir. The majority of filming took place at Seaside, Florida, a master-planned community located in the Florida Panhandle. The planning concept was developed using old-fashioned small beach towns with traditional wood-framed cottages as a palette. Maybe because most of the buildings are white, I find it refreshing, and it appeals to my architectural sensibilities. 

3. What is the best way to gauge a client’s personality before starting a project?

I try not to gauge a client’s personality or reach any preconceived concepts. I try to keep the process very fluid and be as open-minded as possible. Ultimately, working with a client is a collaborative process and requires a level of trust and communication for a successful project.

4. What new design trends are you excited to integrate into your work?

Designing a smart house: I’m incorporating more and more technology into my projects. I have half a dozen apps on my iPhone to control temperature, lighting, alarm systems, security cameras, pool/spa controls, and sound systems. I am always looking to try something new.  

5. How do you completely unwind?

I hit the gym for a couple of hours after work. I competed as an amateur bodybuilder a couple of years ago; it was hard work but I found it to be a way to unwind from the stress of running a design firm. I also like working on projects around the house.

6. If you hadn't become a designer, which career would you have pursued?

I would have been a Cowboy. I have the boots, jeans, pearl button shirt, cowboy hat, and pick-up cattle, but I’m working on that! I wonder what it would have been like to work the rodeo circuit, traveling from town to town. I was thinking maybe there is still time to learn how to ride a bull.

7. What’s the worst pre-designer job you’ve ever had and why?

Working as a bricklayer’s assistant during was back-breaking work. I would move stacks of 12-inch and 16-inch concrete blocks all day long and climb a ladder with a hundred pounds of cement on my shoulder. I would pass out at the end of the day from exhaustion. 

8. Create your perfect playlist for us.


Lightning round!

9. Would you rather shop new or vintage?

Definitely new. Maybe a vintage car or motorcycle, but definitely new is my preference.

10. First celebrity crush?

Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Well, I still have a weakness for blondes to this day. 

11. What’s your hidden talent?

I am an artist and I like to paint large pieces in acrylic. If I had more time I would paint more and have a gallery opening.

12. Best restaurant in your area? Where is it?

My favorite restaurant was Piccollo Venice, but it just closed. It was right off the boardwalk...very intimate and charming with great food and wine. It was off the grid so you could just hang out and enjoy yourself without TMZ getting in your face.

13. SF or LA?

Both have benefits, but I prefer Los Angeles. Mark Twain said it best, ”The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” I prefer the warm weather of Los Angeles.