When Anna Faris and film producer Sim Sarna started their podcast Without reservation in 2015, they ordered microphones from Amazon, recorded at his old house, and, the comedian says, “I really thought maybe four people would listen to it.” Surprisingly but fortunately for both of them, a large following quickly built up and their podcast focused on long-form relationship advice became the network-like umbrella it’s about to become, with the announcement coming soon. in early 2019 about six other celebrities. shows they will oversee.
With this growth, things got more serious, and supporting the official digs of burgeoning companies seemed like a good idea. Faris’ lodge and new home “out west” (“a pain in the ass,” Faris says, because “you know a lot of celebrities don’t like to travel”) were no longer up to snuff. Plus, Sarna, who just had a baby, “wanted to escape her family,” jokes Faris. Enter WeWork, whose Hollywood coworking space just became their brand new office and studio.
“WeWork recognizes that podcasting is an intimate experience, and audio is intimate because we’re in your ears,” says Sarna. Kley Sippel, managing director of WeWork Southern California, says they approached Faris and Sarna six months ago to discuss working together to redesign their space’s programming, and they quickly became inspiring partners. “They are creative, collaborative, and a great addition to our member community,” Sippel says of this “pivotal moment for the future of WeWork in Los Angeles.”
For her part, Faris thought it was cool that WeWork felt both independent and collaborative. “You get the opportunity to meet other young entrepreneurs working on their projects, but you can still feel energized because they have a ton of common spaces, the opportunity to collaborate is exciting, and I’m going to bug Sim in meeting strangers and I will annoy them too,” she laughs. Cheddar is next to the pair, “and I think it would be great if Anna would plant their reports once in a while, come in and read the teleprompter, what’s going on on midday market,” suggests Sarna.
For their new home, “Anna had specific ideas of how she wanted the space to look,” Sarna says, though Faris laughs, “one of our strengths isn’t interior design – we’re too self-centered .” To streamline the process, they partnered with innovative online interior design retailer Suitely for the custom collaborative project. Over the course of several weeks, they were given the best choices of items, like a sofa or a coffee table, Sarna says, and Faris would pick the one she liked. (“It made us feel important,” says Sarna.) According to founder and CEO Marina Glazman, feedback on the design came mostly from Anna. “She brought a strong sense of personal style and played a major role in setting the mood of the space.” The idea, she says, was to create a functional and professional studio that felt warm, elegant and inviting for their celebrity guests who visit to record the show as the hours go by.
To that end, there were a few must-haves, a bar being one of them – soundproofing, done by WeWork, was another. The Suitely team sourced drinkware, brass bar tools, accessories, and planters from artisans and brands around the world, Glazman says, “to complement a modern, community-inspired style. of the century but avant-garde of the bar cart, a must-have for any modern workspace!The specially ordered bar cart, with brass cart wheels, did not arrive smoothly, however. found to be faulty and therefore did not ship as expected just days before installation, which required the Suitely team to search more than a dozen manufacturer showrooms in the United States and then every boutique in California who had a relationship with the brand until they finally found one in Pacific Palisades that wouldn’t fit in the car, requiring an Uber pickup service to get it to Hollywood just in time.
“The studio is designed like a living room, which we like, because we want to make sure everyone feels comfortable,” says Sarna. A palette of blues with pops of orange and pink give the space a vibrant energy that is more expected of a private home than a studio. The obvious lack of recording equipment also makes it laid back and comfortable. Faris likes to be able to fold her legs up and move around, so roomy armchairs and a large sofa with lots of deliberately mismatched cushions were key. Coffee table books, ceramics, pendant lights, casual throws, and Instagram-worthy greenery also create an inviting environment.
“We wanted celebrities to feel like it was an intimate space,” says Faris. There’s a lot of glass inside “in the best way so it’s open and flowing, but they offered to put up curtains that we could draw if a nervous celeb didn’t want to feel so interactive with passers-by,” or as if they were in a fish bowl. There is also a secure entrance from a private garage with an elevator leading directly to their floor, so high profile guests can enter unseen.
When it comes to their growing podcast business, Faris and Sarna are pretty tight-lipped, though they reveal the expansion will delve into a few other areas beyond relationships, though they won’t lose focus on Without reservation. According to them, podcasts are an important medium in the midst of the Hollywood madness. “It’s so amazing to be able to have some control over your own narrative as a celebrity,” says Faris, “and to be able to talk and interact with people about the same kind of issues that most of us are face, which is ‘does he really love me?’ It’s strangely reassuring how relatable it is.