By the Sea


Step inside Bay Area designer Jonathan Rachman’s own home in Carmel Valley

In the kitchen, Absolute Black countertops from Da Vinci marble, the stove and hood are from Smeg and the faucet is by Kohler.
Photo by Ema Peter.

“While I am a lover of a classic and timeless design, and I always respect the architecture and environment as well as geographical location of a project, to me it is always about humans,” says designer Jonathan Rachman about his approach to design. “A space—be it a room, a summer home or a mansion, as well as a hotel—must reflect the personalities of the occupants and owners (or in a commercial project the intention of the developer/future targeted clients).”

In the great room, Jonathan’s private collection of Balinese art adds pops of bright color. The chandelier is made of antique french antlers and the front door is painted in Benjamin Moore’s Shady Lane in high gloss.
Photo by Ema Peter.
The powder room features a vintage vanity with Waterworks Highgate brass plumbing fixtures, the wallpaper is Travelers Palm from Thibaut. Photo by Ema Peter.

Inside this 2,400-square-foot California ranch-style home he and his husband own in Carmel Valley, every detail reflects Rachman’s love for his culture, collecting and curation. “We were desperate to get out of the Bay Area during the pandemic,” he recalls. “We made an offer on a house in the Monterey Peninsula area but did not get it. The very next day, my husband Steve surfed the net to look at other options and found it. I drove to the house asap, fell in love with it, we made and offer instantly and we got it! It is now our country home in California!”

The office houses a collection of antique art. Photo by Ema Peter.

Rachman and his husband split their time between Bali and California so it was important that the space be functional and represent both of their styles. “We have been together for almost thirty years and literally have collected an accumulation of objects and memorabilia from our travels and respective family heirlooms,” Rachman notes. “My husband loves to cook and is an audiofile as well as a Tiki lover. I am more the East/West vintage and antique lover. Luckily, both of us are romantic and sentimental, and that’s the common ground we found when decorating this house.”

Rachman layered shades of blue throughout a guest suite. Photo by Ema Peter.

The home’s ranch-style, elongated configuration was a challenge that Rachman welcomed. They decided to flip the layout set up by the previous owners who situated the primary bedroom suite next to the garage, which felt odd so they converted an extra room into the suite that sits at is the opposite side of the house. “Besides the safety aspect, this room has the best view of the entire house, facing the Pacific Ocean,” he says. “On a clear day, we can see the ocean and it is a perfect spot watch the sunset.  We decided to add a patio along with a fire pit, which is visible and steps away from our bedroom.”

The primary bedroom features De Gournay hand-painted wallpaper designed in collaboration with Jonathan Rachman and the Roman shade is Priati Anna from the Sister’s Collection by Jonathan Rachman for Ellis Dunn. Photo by Ema Peter.

The heart of the home is the great room that combines the living room, kitchen and dining room into one space. “Jokingly, we named our house the “humble hut” as well as the “choo choo train” house,” he laughs. “While the ranch style is perfect for our country living lifestyle, we do have a lot of antique and vintage collections as well as family memorabilia. We longed to have a room that can host his Tiki bar which doubles as our media room and we decided to use the what used to be primary suite as this fun room!”

Outside, queen and king life-size planters are from the UK, an antique french giant bust and batik coloring copper gentong are from Java. Photo by Ema Peter.

Throughout, Rachman placed layers of rare finds that the couple collected over 30 years of traveling together around the globe. “We believe a house should represent the owner of the house, and this being our own is no exception: it truly and utterly represents us as a couple,” Rachman says. “Besides the fact that almost everything is customized and feels personal to us, this house has an amazing view, especially from our bedroom. We decided to build a custom fire pit for us to sit around during sunset or when the weather is nice, which is almost always.”

The couple enjoying the sunsets from the seating area just off their primary bedroom. Photo by Ema Peter.

They are so in love with the home, the often host guests to share this slice of heaven by the sea. “My husband (and I) are may be the most demanding, toughest clients I have ever had,” he jokes. “I say that jokingly—but in reality—it is fairly true for myself: I am the toughest critique of my own work.” They are both very proud of their home. “We have done an amazing job in converting a 1970s ranch-style home into a place that truly works for us as a couple,” he says. “Besides being super cozy and comfy, it is absolutely beautiful and works perfectly for us, for this phase of our life. Not just as a couple, but individually, it is a haven for both our professional and personal lives.”