Nikki Tibbles Walks on the Wild Side

The celebrated London florist unwinds in her eclectic country home with friends and her posse of rescue pups
In Nikki Tibbles' 1760 English country home, a fireplace with a warm-colored natural wood surround and mantle contrasts with pale blue-gray room (painted Farrow & Ball ‘Parma Gray’ wall). She has decorated the room with two solid bright blue plush rugs in contrasting textures, framed paintings, vintage vases, and a chair piled with throw pillows and cozy throws in cool colors. On a table to the right side of the room, large white enamel pitcher holds cut branches covered in white fluffy flowers. A large white basket holds chopped wood beside the fireplace.
“Nothing makes me happier than sitting in front of my fire with the dogs after a long day.” — Nikki Tibbles

“I completely fell in love at first sight,” says Nikki Tibbles of her cozy yet cool country home. “It has bright rooms, huge gardens, and there’s not a neighbor in sight. It’s my secret escape from the city.” As the owner of Wild at Heart, Tibbles is one of London’s most sought-after florists. She found her rural retreat in leafy Sussex a few years ago and decided to rent it to provide a relaxing sanctuary from her busy urban life.

Surrounded by 20 acres of land, the Georgian property dates back to 1760 but was mostly finished in the 1800s. The interior had been untouched for at least 40 years when Tibbles first saw it. As soon as she moved in, she ripped up the carpets, waxed the floorboards, painted the walls and ceilings, and outfitted a new, simple kitchen. The fresh rooms became a blank canvas for the florist’s enviable art collection and mix of vintage and contemporary furnishings.

portrait of Nikki Tibbles
The florist relaxes on a favorite blue sofa with Ronnie, her Romanian rescue dog, surrounded by her favorite pieces of art.

English country house interiors: a vignette of vintage glass and pewter vases on worn, dark wood table, with plentiful art, both modern and traditional, hanging on the pale gray walls behind
Tibbles’s collection of vintage blue bottles and a Murano lamp

Pretty floral displays adorn rooms decorated with her vast range of vases—from modern colored glass to creamy Fulham pottery by legendary florist Constance Spry. Floral motifs also play a prominent role in the interior décor, blooming across rugs and fabrics, furniture and walls. “I love anything floral, whether it’s on a dress or a dressing table,” she says.

“My country house style is colorful, eclectic, and slightly chaotic—although I’m always aiming for organized chaos! I love playing with color, texture, and pattern, on top of pattern, on top of pattern.” — Nikki Tibbles

At her retreat, Tibbles appreciates quiet time reading, but on most weekends she has friends to visit. “I enjoy cooking and entertaining, and this house is perfect for that,” she says, “One of my favorite design pieces is my Saarinen Tulip dining table. It not only looks beautiful, but I’ve made many fond memories of laughter with friends round the table.”

Nikki Tibbles's light-filled dining room features gracious French doors, an exposed ceiling beam, art-filled walls, layered rugs, and charming mismatched seating around the modern white circular table at the center
The florist’s Saarinen Tulip dining table, with a pitcher of branches as the centerpiece

Yellow tulips in a vintage jug bearing a floral motif and stacks of Nikki Tibbles's vintage dinnerware on a rustic wooden tabletop with distressed white paint
“I collect vintage plates and jugs and have an entire dinner service by Kenzo,” she says.

Tibbles first tried her hand at floristry more than 20 years ago when she offered to do the flowers for a friend’s wedding. She was working in advertising at the time and looking for a change in her career. “I’m quite creative, but I can’t paint, I can’t draw, and I can’t write. I realized flowers were the perfect medium to express myself. They let me work with color and texture.”

After an apprenticeship with an established London florist, Tibbles launched Wild at Heart in 1993 in the Turquoise Island building in Notting Hill. She has since added a flagship store in Pimlico and a concession in the Liberty department store. The events side of the business—from gala dinners in London to weddings in the South of France—now takes up most of her time. (See one of Tibbles’s floral installations at The Bloomsbury Hotel’s Dalloway Terrace.)

English country house interiors: Soaring towers of books in a cozy turquoise room with framed oil paintings, an antique wooden chair, and a colorful rug on a plank floor painted pale turquoise
A corner of Tibbles’s plate room, full of cookbooks, where she sits and reads recipes

English country house interiors: pale pink bedroom with an ornate bed frame painted soft white, embroidered floral throw pillows, plank floors painted blue, and a bedside cabinet painted white and topped with a vase of flowers, an antique framed botanical oil painting, and a library-style reading lamp
A curvy feminine headboard and piles of Karen Nicol embroidered pillows.

Notwithstanding her busy schedule, she also finds time to campaign for animal welfare and regularly travels to countries such as Romania, Spain, and Cyprus to bring back maltreated dogs to rehome. She founded the Wild at Heart Foundation, a charity to educate people on animal welfare and encourage them to “adopt rather than shop.” Tibbles owns six rescue dogs that bound around the house.

“The aim is to fund and support animal welfare projects all over the world,” she explains. “In particular, we aim to reduce the world’s 600 million stray dog population by providing funding and support to rescue projects, organizing neutering programs, and delivering education initiatives. I’m very proud of the work we have achieved.”

The rolling fields and orchards around her home are the ideal place for her fortunate dogs to roam and for visitors to unwind. “My perfect weekend is spent here, surrounded by close friends and family, cooking, eating, and then going for a long Sunday stroll with my beautiful dogs,” she says, “It’s blissful and it keeps me sane.”

More Scenes from Nikki Tibbles’ Home

Click the arrows or swipe to see more of the florist’s English country house interiors and to meet her pups.

vignette a stacked books, vintage crystal, tulips, and antique pewter in the Sussex home of Nikki Tibbles
Favorite yellow tulips in a pewter tankard
English country house interiors, bedroom sitting area
A vintage sofa, Karen Nicol embroidered cushions, and a Missoni rug in Tibbles’s bedroom, painted Farrow & Ball ‘Setting Plaster’
The golden-colored dog stands on the stair landing, with paintings in the background
Tibbles’s dog Smith, rescued from Spain
English country house interiors of Nikki Tibbles—The dark gray cabinets are topped with warm-toned natural wood counters. On one side of the counter is a tall stack of vintage plates and a pale blue vintage teapot; on the other side is a silver candleholder with arms for 5 gray tapers. A shelf above holds dog figurines and a royal blue creamer. A backdrop of warm white stucco walls with dark woodwork set off the vignette.
A vintage silver candelabra with Ester & Erik pale gray candles.
English country house interiors: paint color
Sycamore leaf candle holders against a Farrow & Ball ‘Parma Gray’ wall
Clematis in a vintage vase
In Nikki Tibbles's entryway, white walls contrast with dark wood bannister, heavy door, and ceiling beams. In an alcove by the stairs, she placed a long, natural wood table. A tall basket underneath holds cozy blankets. A mod reading lamp and a painting of houses adorn the table. More paintings—including landscape and botanical scenes and a portrait of a dog—fill the wall as the stairs ascend. In keeping with other English country house interiors of the same age, the walls and floors bear the imperfections of age, adding to the charm.
Her art collection extends to the stairway.
English country house interiors, kitchen
The kitchen window is filled with Constance Spry vases and blossoms from the garden.
English country house interiors, bathroom
Painted floors and vintage finds in a bathroom
Tibbles’s country retreat, built in 1760
English country house interiors: A large modern painting, featuring blue, yellow, and green, hangs on a white wall above a rustic sideboard with distressed paint. Nikki Tibbles as arranged a collection of glass decanters, copper drinkware, and a vase of dried hydrangeas on top of the sideboard. On the floor to the left are three vintage bowling pins. On the floor to the right, an a painted portrait of a man leans against the wall.
A welcoming vignette in the dining room
English country house interiors: A copper tray holds two vintage glass bud vases bearing soft pink blooms, a pottery pitcher, a tall, curved olive-green bearing a floral motif, and the corner of a botanical oil painting in a gilt frame in the background
A mix of containers and floral artwork
Potted plants, throw pillows, and vintage blue glass pieces make a charming scene on the “shabby chic” patio dining area, featuring a rusted, scrolled metal table-and-chairs set
“Eating outside is always a joy,” says Tibbles. The vintage furniture is topped with Nathalie Lete cushions.
English country house interiors: A vignette of botanical and portrait paintings hung around a heavy antique chest of drawers with iron details. On top of the chest, sit two colorful vases and a candle stick. The bright pink vase is more traditional, features flowers and leaves. The other is modern and lime green glass, with swirling blue and gray stripes.
A portion of Tibbles’s eclectic collection of vases
One of Nikki Tibbles's rescue dogs
Dog Maisie
Dog figurines and vintage embroidery
Nikki Tibbles vase collection
A collection of vases on a windowsill

By Talib Choudhry | Photography by Ingrid Rasmussen/Living Inside