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November 8th, 2021 | Tracey McKee

I grew up in the South of France and studied in Paris.

Well, I wish! Actually, I’m very grateful for where and how I grew up right here in the USA.

I was born into a long line of furniture retailers. I’m the third generation that has taken on this exciting occupation, and today I run my business alongside my incredibly smart and patient husband of 35 years. (We were married at age 6😊.)

Tracey + Brent Mckee

I don’t remember much about the business growing up, but I do remember hours spent creating long hallways and rooms out of sofa boxes in the warehouse with my little brother while Dad must have been somewhere working.

I went to college to become a doctor, which lasted all of one semester. I switched to business, and ultimately to fashion merchandising. I thought I wanted to design clothing because my sister told me I had a knack for putting outfits together. It was also easier than chemistry and biology. And accounting for that matter.

I was all set to start my fashion career when I received a call from my dad. He thought I might want to consider working in the family business, which at the time was one of the largest high-end furniture chains in the country. I decided to give it a go, and it only took about six months for me to discover a true passion for furniture and interiors. I was hooked!

My 12 years working with my father taught me so much. We opened 15 new stores in California. I traveled overseas creating product, and gained exposure to every aspect of this beautiful business. I discovered the joy of working with amazing creative people, brilliant marketers, and business professionals with every type of mind — all while learning how to ride the ups and downs of the economy. And along the way my husband joined the company, too! I am so grateful for that time.

Sparrow and Sage

Although I loved working, I decided to take a step back to spend more time with my two beautiful children while they were young. But sure enough, within about six months I found myself drawn back to my professional passion. Soon I was helping people, sort of accidentally, with their houses, their paint colors, their flooring… I couldn’t stay away.

Brent (that smart, patient man I’m married to) handles the business side of things, and is also an entrepreneur and a dreamer. We decided we wanted to do something together, and on our own. What began as a plan for a retail business evolved to become a combined retail store and design consultancy — my two favorite things in one wonderful vision.

We opened our first furniture and design store in 1999 in Laguna Niguel, California, and have had the privilege of helping many people in Southern California with their homes. Our lifestyle brand Sparrow & Sage is our newest venture. After years of listening to clients’ frustration about furniture pieces they couldn’t find, we decided to create them ourselves!

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Sparrow and Sage

Today my work encompasses many different things, and I love all of them. I do buying and merchandising for McKee & Company while also creating products for Sparrow & Sage. And of course I continue to work with my own interior design clients alongside an incredibly talented team. 

Sparrow & Sage Design Advisor

Next to my husband my kids are my biggest joy in life. With a wonderful extended family and circle of friends, life is busy and full. Despite the demands of my work, time together with the people I love means everything to me — and is ultimately where I find my greatest inspiration. It’s no wonder that helping my clients create places in their homes for togetherness sometimes feels less like a career, and more like a calling.

- Tracey McKee

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