Totem Home is an interior collection inspired by Kim Ficaro’s unique interpretation of textiles and cultures from around the world. From her iconic pom-pom blankets to her palm leaf market bags, Kim’s products are each handcrafted by local artisans in Mexico and Morocco. Kim welcomed us into her cozy and eclectically styled apartment to share her unique experience with running her own company, three must-have pieces she recommends for every home, and why you should never force an interior vibe.
What inspired you to start Totem Home?
It was a natural progression from my prop and interior styling work that I have done for the past 12 years. I’m always sourcing, being inspired, traveling and dreaming up installations, sets and environments that I have to be able to create for clients. Thinking about taking my style and putting it all together with spaces and product that spoke to the aesthetic inspired me to create Totem.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Eased, relaxed, slightly bohemian but with a restrained palette.
So many of your products are globally sourced + hand made. What drew you to this global, artisanal aesthetic?
I am interested in texture, tactile pieces while also honoring techniques that are still preserved and used in different countries, and then seeing how Totem can be incorporated. I am interested in stories behind pieces, colors, textures influenced by much of the travel I do, and being able to recreate the feeling.
How does your background as a prop stylist influence your perspective at Totem?
As a prop stylist, there is always a bit of flying by the seat of your pants. Even though I have a particular style, I still need to be able to adapt to my client’s needs. For Totem, I am able to be really precise in keeping the thread of my style consistent while incorporating so much around me. My eyes are always open––they have to be.
What sets Totem apart from other home collections? Can you speak to your experience running a small, personal company with an intimate knowledge of each product, when so many design vendors out there are big box stores?
I am very intimate with my product. It’s all a learning experience and I take it slow. I try and understand what speaks to my customers on a level of care. Ultimately, I have found that most are influenced by the Totem style as a whole. As long as my pieces stay true to this style, then I am able to provide a piece of my style and my brand.
What products are your current favorites? Must-haves?
I love the macrame chandelier, which we are now experimenting in dying with natural dyes in Oaxaca. I always love a pom-pom blanket at end of the bed and of course the ceramic cups––they are very well used and loved for anything from water, flowers, wine, sake or just for display.
Can you tell us about the name, Totem? How did you come up with it?
I was spending a lot of time in Mexico and one time I was there on a road trip shopping for textiles and it came to me. I love the idea that Totem can be the symbol of a tribe or family, and that symbol can be anything from an animal to a spirit. I love the significance of that.
Your apartment is stunning – so cozy and eclectic and textural. What vibe were you trying to create in your home?
I never really try to force creating a vibe, especially in my own apartment. What works for me is creating a calmness, a softness, a place where I can work, create, live, have dinners sitting on the floor and a place people want to hang.
What are three things every room needs?
Plants, texture in a rug, a very good lamp or hanging light.
How would you describe your personal style? How does LR fit into that? Are there similarities in what you look for when selecting textiles as when curating your wardrobe?
My personal style is very neutral tones, very casual, slightly 70’s at times, never ever too precious. LR has the qualities that I love in the precise style without being overly precious.
What’s next for you?
Totem-spaces and places, creating interiors, environments, installations, and hotels all in the Totem style. Becoming laid back, thoughtful in design and materials, mixing of textures, creating well loved places and feelings. Styling always as well, you never know what the next project or job is, so I have to be ready for that. New designs, new countries developing Totem product. And of course, surf. Whenever I can. Always improving, always learning.
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