Profound life lessons aren’t necessarily what you’re expecting when you pick up the latest coffee-table tome. Yet in a subtle, non-preachy way, that is exactly what we got upon our first read of Sage Living: Decorate for the Life You Want, the new book by Anne Sage. The Los Angeles–based author, who founded the popular blog The City Sage, delves beyond the surface pleasures of photo-ready interiors to tell the deeper stories of those who live in them: people just like us, who have taken risks, uprooted themselves and their families, and staked everything they own (literally) on following their dreams.
It’s a scenario that Sage knows well. “The idea for Sage Living arose from a time of great transition in my life,” she says. “I’d moved from San Francisco to L.A., leaving behind both my business and my marriage in the process. Seeing it published now is the culmination of several years spent rebuilding from the ground up.” The experience led her to profile 28 spaces that reflect and embody their owners’ transitions at a time of personal growth. As Sage writes, “Instead of decorating for the life you have, why not decorate for the life you want?”
Easier said than done? Let these real-people narratives lead the way. A peripatetic mom of three who, after a lifetime of roaming the globe, put down roots in landlocked Asheville, North Carolina. A couple who met as coworkers and moved into a Minneapolis loft from which they run their recently launched branding firm. A jewelry maker who carved out a light-filled studio on the top floor of her Portland, Oregon, home to allow herself to create a sustainable living with her craft. Peppered throughout the fascinating profiles are plenty of compelling design tips: how to decorate a high-traffic live/work space, entertain without a dining table, or layer history and heritage into your kitchen. Sage’s eye for beauty and simplicity elevates these everyday environments into poetic compositions. “Beauty is anything that brings joy to the beholder; however, the line between joy and junk is a fine one that’s best drawn with a firm editorial hand,” she says.
Even those not on the brink of a momentous life change will find much to love here. If you’re contemplating any kind of transition, however, or are paralyzed by indecision at the prospect of taking a leap, we urge you to go out and get your own copy, pronto. Take it from us: it will inspire you. We leave you with this parting thought from the aptly named Sage: “I’ve made this a volume you’ll want to reach for no matter what your situation. One with images you’ll leaf through for decor inspiration before a sunny morning trip to the flea market. But also one with stories you’ll linger over when nighttime falls and shadows dim the path ahead. Because I’ve walked that daunting path, and I believe that whatever your goals, your surroundings can help crystallize who you are, where you’ve been, and the direction you’d like to head. This book is the road map to a destination in which your home and your heart sing in harmony.” Design as self-actualization? Call us believers.