Furniture That Nurtures the Soul?

With home design fast becoming the next frontier in fashion, it follows that decorating one's home is now the newest form of self-expression. Enter Totem (, a cutting-edge furniture store and virtual catalog based in New York City.

Founded on the belief that "our existence, physical and even spiritual, can be enhanced by the objects in our lives," David Shearer opened Totem in 1997, inspired by a conversation he had had with design legend Ray Eames in the mid-'80s. Learning that she and husband Charles collected objects from people and places as a reminder of their interactions and travels, Shearer began to think of furniture in a new light. Totem, an acronym for The Objects That Evoke Meaning, features up-and-coming designers from the U.S., Sweden and the U.K.

"Part of Totem's mission is to provide good, accessible design throughout the country," says Gail Schultz, the company's sales and marketing director. By access, Schultz means innovative design at reasonable prices, available more easily through the Web and via mail order. Soon, these same designs will be available locally. Totem plans to open a store in L.A. in September.

For information: (212) 925-5506.

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