Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move

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By Jenny Xie / Published by Dwell
Presented by Resource Furniture
While many established couples prefer the calm of the suburbs, Annette Van Duren and Alan Sacks make the unconventional move into a 830-square-foot loft in a multicultural epicenter of Los Angeles.

Annette Van Duren and her husband Alan Sacks were not looking to move. Both seasoned members of the entertainment industry—Van Duren is an agent, and Sacks is a writer, producer, and band manager—they were content to stay in their suburban home in Studio City. They likely would have, too, if not for the offer they couldn’t refuse: unsolicited, all cash, no contingencies. With their daughter graduating from college, the couple decided to downsize, settling in a 830-square-foot loft in the hip neighborhood of Koreatown, Los Angeles. Though this was a drastic change, they were no stranger to compact living, having designed a 400-square-foot pied-à-terre in New York City (where their daughter now resides) with the help of Resource Furniture’s space-saving pieces. 

Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move - Photo 1 of 5 - Van Duren is an agent for cartoon writers and creators, directors, and producers. Sacks is known for creating Welcome Back, Kotter, managing bands, and producing many Disney Channel movies. Thanks to transforming furniture from Resource Furniture and their flexible schedules, both enjoy home offices in their highly efficient apartment.

Van Duren is an agent for cartoon writers and creators, directors, and producers. Sacks is known for creating Welcome Back, Kotter, managing bands, and producing many Disney Channel movies. Thanks to transforming furniture from Resource Furniture and their flexible schedules, both enjoy home offices in their highly efficient apartment.

True to his profession, Sacks characterizes their old neighborhood with the factoid that it contains the house featured in The Brady Bunch, and their new pad by likening the city view to the opening scene in Blade Runner. "It’s a complete, 180-degree opposite," he says. "It’s urban, it’s on the street. The area itself is having a whole renaissance." The apartment building, which formerly housed offices for the Getty, has been renovated in a midcentury modern aesthetic and enjoys a central location with the subway right across the street. The shared rooftop deck boasts a lawn, pool, gym, hot tub, barbecues, and lounge areas—all with panoramic views of the city. For free-spirited creatives like Van Duren and Sacks, it has been a welcome change of pace.

Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move - Photo 2 of 5 - The move has helped the couple pare back on material items. Van Duren offers some sage advice for homeowners who are looking to do the same: "There are so many things we accumulate that we don’t need. If it doesn’t fit now, it’s not going to fit any better in a couple of years. If you don’t like it now, you’re not going to like it any better in a couple of years. Give it to someone else who needs it and who’s going to appreciate it."

The move has helped the couple pare back on material items. Van Duren offers some sage advice for homeowners who are looking to do the same: "There are so many things we accumulate that we don’t need. If it doesn’t fit now, it’s not going to fit any better in a couple of years. If you don’t like it now, you’re not going to like it any better in a couple of years. Give it to someone else who needs it and who’s going to appreciate it."

"We just didn’t want to deal with a house anymore," says Van Duren, citing upkeep, utility bills, and repairs. Their move into a smaller, urban space has also triggered more profound changes in lifestyle. "Living in a house and working at home can be fairly isolating," she shares. In their new apartment, however, the pair has enlisted Resource Furniture to allow spaces to evolve throughout the day, whether it be the transition from sleep to work, or from entertaining to relaxing. Both the Swing and Penelope wall beds easily transform from day to night, and the integrated Home Office folds up to hide desk clutter. "We have two office spaces, we have bedroom and guest spaces, we have a dining room space for entertaining," explains Sacks. "Whatever we want to do, it’s all in 830 square feet." 

Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move - Photo 3 of 5 - Van Duren demonstrates the ease of lowering the Swing, a queen-size wall bed with nine-foot sofa and sliding chaise. Here, it integrates with a shelving system, which continues the apartment's quirky motif of orange and blue. 

Van Duren demonstrates the ease of lowering the Swing, a queen-size wall bed with nine-foot sofa and sliding chaise. Here, it integrates with a shelving system, which continues the apartment's quirky motif of orange and blue. 

Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move - Photo 4 of 5 - The Swing provides additional storage space under the sofa. In the down position, it fits neatly over the Como Basso, a tempered glass coffee table on casters.

The Swing provides additional storage space under the sofa. In the down position, it fits neatly over the Como Basso, a tempered glass coffee table on casters.

"Friends have come over and absolutely love the place," says Van Duren, "and have been kind of shocked at how versatile it is. Whichever furniture piece can be turned into so many different things." When not entertaining, she and Sacks have been rejuvenated by the ample opportunities to interact with their neighbors, a majority of whom are Korean. "We love the culture. It’s great to go up on the roof and be amongst other people."

"Whatever we want to do, it’s all in 830 square feet." -Alan Sacks

Two Film Industry Veterans Flip the Script With a Suburb-to-City Move - Photo 5 of 5 - Ideal for entries and narrow hallways, the Giralot storage unit swivels open and closed on a wall-mounted column. Here, Alan's shoe rack doubles as a full-length mirror.

Ideal for entries and narrow hallways, the Giralot storage unit swivels open and closed on a wall-mounted column. Here, Alan's shoe rack doubles as a full-length mirror.

From the unexpected move to scaling back their possessions and getting reacquainted with an urban lifestyle, the couple have had no regrets, which is due in no small part to the savvy designs of Resource Furniture. "The fact that we have an unobstructed view of downtown and the mountains in LA really gives [the apartment] a sense of openness," says Sacks. "With the combination of the furniture and the smoothness of it, the contemplativeness of the space is great."

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