The creative force behind Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart, Nikki Tibbles’ Notting Hill home is a sight to behold. A riotous mix of abundant blooms, canary-yellow bookshelves, offbeat vases and eclectic artworks, the florists’ inviting five-story house surprises at every turn. We popped round to chat interior inspiration, rescue dogs, and her beloved Liberty London Flower Shop.
How long have you lived in your home? About 12 years - a long time!
What drew you to it? I lived around the corner in a ground floor basement flat and someone told me this house was coming up for sale. The minute I walked through the door I was struck by the light, the scale, the feel and the nice energy. It hadn’t been renovated, it was just a gorgeous family house on a lovely street. I love the area too, when you go out of the door you just see beautiful buildings and it’s so quiet.
How did you go about putting your personal stamp on it? When I bought the house, it had every paint effect in it and horrible wallpaper - so I literally just stripped it all out, painted in white, ripped the carpets up and painted the floors black. It was all I could afford to do. I didn’t really do anything else to until about three four years ago. The basement used to be a flat, so I re-did that and re-decorated everywhere.
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"I would like to think the house has a generous nature because of the cushions, colour and texture. It’s not precious."
How would you describe its aesthetic of your home? I would like to think the house has a generous nature because of the cushions, colour and texture. It’s not precious. I like it to have a nice easy vibe and for the dogs to sleep on the sofas. I also love print-on-print-on-print - and colour.
Florals are also abundant. Have blooms always been prevalent in your interiors, or did this come after setting up your business? I love a flower on anything. I always wear floral prints and am drawn to floral fabrics. I like colours that shouldn’t go together and print-on-print-on-print. Up in the sitting room I’ve got a geometric rug, a floral print sofa and striped cushions. Most people are like, ‘woah’! I like mixing lots of things.
Which room in the house do you spend most time in? In the winter when there’s a fire we spend most of the time upstairs but in the summer, we spend a lot of time downstairs. The doors open out into the garden making it one big inside-out space
Do you enjoy playing host? I do. Now I’ve finished the house we’ve had some great dinner parties here. We have drinks upstairs and then come down for dinner. I used to cook a lot but now I don’t have so much time I’ve had someone come and cook for us a couple of times which is so nice. Next week I have all my friends and my godchildren coming over – 15 people – so it’s great to be able to get someone in for nights like that. But generally, I cook.
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"I love a flower on anything. I always wear floral prints and am drawn to floral fabrics. I like colours that shouldn’t go together and print-on-print-on-print."
What’s your go-to dish? I’m more-or-less vegan so eat a lot of vegetables and salads - avocados and spinach. I haven’t quite got my head around cooking vegan food, so when we have people over we usually have something vegetarian – which people love.
What do you think makes for a warm welcome when people come over? Candles, fragrance, low lighting and dogs greeting you at the door.
What are your favourite flowers to have in the house?I love roses and foliage. Going out into the garden and cutting branches is a really nice thing to do all year round. I don’t often have flowers in the house because it’s a bit like bringing work home but if I do then I have roses and peonies and sweet peas. I like really traditional, old fashioned English country garden flowers.
What do you do to relax? I’ve been away a lot this year but when I’m here I walk the dogs, cook, watch something fabulous on TV. Peaky Blinders is the best thing on the TV at the moment, in fact it might be the best thing ever. I like a good box set, on the sofa with the dogs.
How many dogs live here with you? Six. I set up my dog rescue charity Wild at Heart Foundation two-and-a-half years ago with an amazing woman Nadine. I wanted to set it up as I had been bringing dogs over from Romania, Spain and Greece on my own and then I realised just how many dogs here were in need around the world. I felt that as my business was doing well, it would be good to give something back. I feel very lucky, so it’s very important to me to do something where I can make a difference, no matter how small.
With a thriving business and the Foundation, how do you keep yourself balanced? I like being busy. I like waking up in the morning knowing that every day will be different. I meet amazing people and go to incredible places. I feel very blessed and I love what I do and that is the fundamental thing. Every day is a nice day.
What has been the key to your success? My dad always used to tell me I could do anything I wanted. I do have that belief and nothing has ever daunted me. I suppose it all just sort of happened. I fell into it and it was a nice fall. We opened the Island and is was based on what I like, which is the same as everything I do. From then we just got busier and busier and busier and that’s mostly to do with having incredible staff. Wild at Heart wouldn’t be Wild at Heart without them.
Why did you decide to open up shop at Liberty London? I used to drive past the flower shop that was there before and think ‘Oh my god, that would be an absolute dream’. When an opening came up Liberty interviewed three people and luckily, we got it. It is an absolute dream, Liberty is my favourite - it’s such an iconic place. It’s got to be the most photographed entrance on Instagram. It makes me feel really proud.
Your earrings are amazing. Maria Tash? Yes, Maria Tash at Liberty London! I love Maria Tash, I have 32 piercings. India who runs Maria Tash at Liberty London is amazing and, after I told her about what I was doing, she suggested doing a collaboration with the Foundation. They’re going to give us a percentage from every one of their dog bone earrings that gets sold. It’s such a great brand and it’s cool and it’s interesting and it’s another way of getting the Foundation out there. How kind is that?