Bumpy walls and uneven floorboards may not be up there at the top of everyone’s wish list, but it was the imperfections that drew acclaimed florist and founder of Wild at Heart, Nikki Tibbles, to her home in West Sussex, two years ago. ‘I wanted a rambling old house. I don’t like anything in the country that’s perfect and straight, and I was looking for something that hadn’t been done up,’ she explains.
Nikki’s floral style is famously naturalistic and opulent, and it’s no surprise to find nature, colour and texture mingled in her home. ‘I like things to feel natural, although everything has to have its place, so there is some order.’
Scroll down to take a look inside her flower-filled home…
Nikki is a great admirer of Constance Spry, and over the years she has amassed a large collection of the iconic vases the society florist designed for Fulham Pottery.
As with most rooms in the house, the walls, ceiling and woodwork in the sitting room are painted the same colour. A modern painting of three bathers – a junk shop find by an unknown artist – is displayed behind an antique sofa table that provides a useful surface for some of Nikki’s vases.
Still Life with Lobster and Lemons by Luke Hannam hangs above the vintage cabinet on which more Constance Spry vases are displayed. Nikki bought the painting at Mccully & Crane in Rye.
The hallway is the only room in which the woodwork is left unpainted. Paintings of flowers, dogs and landscapes from the 19th and 20th centuries line the stairs. An Italian pottery salt jar serves as a vase on the hall table.
The ‘recipe-reading’ room, where precarious-looking piles of cookery books are actually supported by hidden shelves – if you pull one from the bottom the stack won’t collapse. The rag rug came from Caravan. A vintage cupboard, garlanded with dried oranges, is filled with glass and table linen.
Decorative paintings bought at antiques dealers in Petworth and at antiques fairs are hung low on the walls and propped informally on the mantelpiece. The metal wall sconces came from Howe, a bespoke lighting specialist. The floor light, by Tom Dixon, was bought 25 years ago.
An unused doorway at the back of the kitchen is fitted with shelves to store and display Nikki’s eclectic collection of vases and jugs, with a couple of paintings tucked in behind them.
This feature first appeared in the June 2017 issue of Homes & Antiques.
Images: Jan Baldwin
Words: Janet Gleeson