She may be a celebrated florist — Tom Ford, Nicole Farhi and Jo Malone are clients — but with Nikki Tibbles, her partner Raymond, his sons Oscar, 12, and Luke, 10, plus their four dogs Tia, Reuben, Lenny and Smith all living together, this is no time to be precious about the interiors.
“This is a home first — that’s the most important thing,” says the founder of Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart, in an interview with LivingEtc.
She bought the gorgeous, 19th-century, five-storey townhouse 10 years ago. There’s an office on the lower-ground floor, a dining room and kitchen on the upper-ground floor, an open-plan living room on the first floor, a master bedroom suite above, and two bedrooms and a bathroom on the top floor.
At this time of year, it’s also the location for lots of laid-back entertaining. “At Christmas, I look forward to being with my friends and family,” says Nikki, a former advertising executive. “We prefer to entertain at home. I’ll do roast beef, salads, potato dauphinoise.”
Everybody clusters around the dining table, next to the roaring fire, while an abundance of decorations ratchets up the festive mood.
This year Nikki has designed a tree brimming with gold and copper baubles, while garlands of dried lavender, hydrangea, fern and eucalyptus wind up the stairs and spill from the mantelpiece.
“I love generosity in everything,” she says. “With friends, with flowers.”
The house looks just as good come January when all the decorations come down — a good balance of moody and cosy, edgy and warm. Nikki, who has two Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart shops in London and concessions in Harrods and Liberty, was drawn to the size of the house and its location in a buzzy part of west London.
“I loved the light and space,” she says. Though untouched for 25 years, it only needed cosmetic work, so Nikki painted the floorboards black and chose greys for the walls. It’s the perfect backdrop for her eclectic collection of photography, designer and vintage furniture, glass and ceramics, each item treasured for its beauty. “I only have things in here that I love,” she says.
She’s a natural magpie, and has found many pieces at antiques fairs. “I like the ones at Ardingly and Kempton, and go to markets wherever I am in the world,” she says. She points to a rose painting in the living room. “That was from a car boot sale,” she explains. “I love old, quirky pieces.” A crucifix was a gift from Raymond (“We both love them — it’s a Catholic thing”) and many vases were bought for just a few pennies.
“If I see something I like, it doesn’t matter if it costs 50p or £50,” she says. The house abounds with gorgeous pieces, so many in fact that Nikki often refreshes her space by moving existing collections around. “I’m not always good with change,” she laughs. “But I move rugs and vases. That’s about as much change as I can cope with.”
Her home is for calm and stability, full of much-loved treasures and her dogs — three of which are rescue dogs from Spain. “Work is always changing with flowers coming into season, new varieties, new colours,” she says. “I love the fact that everything changes every day and season” — but home stays the same.
Nikki designs flowers for individuals and big events all year round, and from October creates bespoke Christmas displays. “Then I come home and deck out my own home. I have fun with the decorations. And if the dogs nose the tree or nibble the garlands, who cares?”
* Browse bouquets and Nikki’s new line of homeware, Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart… At Home, at wildatheart.com
* To read this feature in full, see the January issue of LivingEtc, on sale now. Visit www.housetohome.co.uk/livingetc
Photographs: James Merrell