Nikki Tibbles, founder of Wild at Heart, helped spearhead Notting Hill’s new-found glamour in the 1990s. Her Turquoise Island store has become a local landmark and was the launch pad for a floral empire that now includes a shop in Pimlico, and concessions in Harrods and Liberty
Where do you go to relax? I walk my dog Reuben in Hyde Park. I can walk from my house to the park and go to the Serpentine. I love that Notting Hill is so central. Describe your ideal London weekend. I like to go to the movies then shop for food and invite friends over and cook for them. I really enjoy cooking and I love being at home. If you didn’t live in W11, where would you be? In the country – either in West Sussex or France. But until then I’ll stay in Notting Hill. There is nowhere else in London that I want to live. Describe Notting Hill in three words?
Fun, quirky, interesting What do you love about the neighbourhood? That I live in the heart of London, but that I live on a street that’s lined with trees that blossom James Merrell
and that there are so many green squares and spaces. It is the best of both worlds. What’s your drink of choice? Hendrick’s gin over Fever Tree tonic with a slice of cucumber is perfect to help me relax.
What first attracted you to W11?
great building, which has since been listed and is
What are you currently reading?
I have lived in Notting Hill for 20 years and I moved
iconic within the area. Also, we have our regulars
I like to have several books on the go. At the
here because I had friends who lived in the area.
who have lived around us for years, which is
moment I’m reading The Corrections, by
I loved it because I thought it was a really
always nice. The congestion charge meant
Jonathan Franzen, The Slap, by Christos Tsiolkas
colourful place to live.
people didn’t come to shop here as much, but
and Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna.
Why did you first open in Notting Hill?
hopefully with the western extension recently
As a florist you must be surrounded by lovely
In 1993 a flyer from the council was put through
being lifted, things will improve.
smells but what is your favourite scent?
my door inviting tenders for a new flower shop
What has been your career motivation?
A close friend gave me a bespoke fragrance,
in Piers Gough’s Turquoise Island, a then new-
I feel very blessed to have found something that
made for me by Lyn Harris at Miller Harris, which
build in Westbourne Grove. I put in a tender and
I love to do. I don’t have a day where I am doing
includes all my favourite smells: vanilla, amber,
I got it. I actually didn’t want a shop – I didn’t
the same thing, which is great as I have a short
green violet (it reminds me of my grandmother
want to be tied to one thing. But I got it, and
attention span. I get to meet interesting people
and the parma violet sweets she always had),
decided to take it. That decision forged my life
and see some amazing houses and venues.
cherry and roses, which are my favourite bloom.
and I have Notting Hill to thank for that.
If you weren’t working with flowers what
What other projects do you have going on?
Do you feel part of the community?
would you be doing?
I support Noah’s ARC in Murcia, Spain, which
Yes, because the shop has been here for so long.
I would be running a dog charity. If I had enough
takes in injured and abandoned dogs and re-
I am sure like all of the shops that have been
money to retire, I would build kennels and bring
homes them throughout Europe. Wild at Heart
here from the start – Dinny Hall, Tom’s Deli and
street dogs over from Spain and Greece.
has raised over £9,000 for them. I’m currently
Themes & Variations – we could probably find
What restaurant would you recommend
awaiting ten dogs that I am sponsoring to come
an area that might be better commercially but I
to someone who doesn’t know the area?
to the UK from Spain. I plan to keep two and then
wouldn’t want to move out of Notting Hill.
I go to local places, such as upstairs at The Cow
find lovely homes for the rest.
What are the pros and cons of having
or for takeaway I go to Crazy Homies as they
a business in the heart of W11?
do great Mexican food and you can get
We are so central and I am lucky because I have a
Wild at Heart, Turquoise Island, 22 Westbourne Grove, W2; wildatheart.com
Domus Nova Spring Summer 2011