Strega Flora

Nikki Pettus of Strega Flora


How would you describe your style? Whimsical, Sculptural, Playful, Feminine

Do you remember the first thing you made? I grew up in Honolulu and have this vivid memory of begging my dad to climb down a (from my age 7 perspective) VERY TREACHEROUS ravine (likely a small hill) to snip a bird of paradise for me. I was mesmerized by it, and couldn't wait to get home and put it on display. Such a good reminder that a single stem is sometimes more powerful than a whole composition.

Before I started making I… I was an actor. I'd love to dip a toe back into that world again when it feels right.

Purple Flowers Strega Flora

If I weren’t a maker I’d be... A perfumer. Which is still a maker, whose medium is flowers. Can't give them up if I tried!

Favorite quote or words to live by: My best friend (a very wise woman said 'grow what you value' to me the other day and it's been my mantra since. Also finding 'be kind to yourself' incredibly soothing lately.

If I could run away I’d go… Island hopping in Greece

If you could collaborate with one person dead or alive who would it be?  I'm obsessed with the work of Luke Edward Hall- I'd love to collaborate on a raucous tablescape for a dinner party. Allison Roman would do the food and guests would leave thinking it might have been the most fun anyone could ever have at a dinner party.

What would be on your maker’s soundtrack?  Laura Marling, Neko Case, Julia Jacklin, Paul Simon, Indigo Girls, Sam Cooke, Bonnie Raitt, a little Dolly, a lot of Dixie Chicks, and the Peter, Paul and Mary cover of Don't Think Twice, It's All Right

Kitchen Flowers Strega Flora

If you could learn a new skill what would it be?  Fragrance extraction. I'm serious about this perfumer thing! And glass blowing. If you haven't gone down the nineteenth-century Murano glass rabbit hole, you haven't lived.

What is your perfect day?  A picnic in late spring. Blue sky, a glass of orange wine in hand, bare feet on the softest grass.

Last book you read?  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

What would your last meal be?  A slice of my Mom's lasagna with the freshest, lemoniest herb salad on the side.  Negroni non-negotiable.

Favorite scent?  Orange blossom

Favorite flower or tree?  Passionflower. Most insane beauty, probably from outer space.

Favorite artist?  Guy Bourdin, among many

Yellow Flowers Strega Flora Spring
Strega Flora Flowers

What is the most challenging project you have worked on? Why?  Every event has its challenges- flowers are ephemeral, and the timeline to design an event is- nine times out of ten- painfully tight. Working as a floral designer isn't for the faint of heart! Things almost always go awry- the real test is to deal with small setbacks (the flower your bride wants suddenly becoming unavailable) and complete catastrophes (chuppahs flying away in the Santa Monica wind) with grace.  Easier said than done!

What do you hear right now?  The lawnmower across the street and my dog's petulant barking at said lawnmower.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?  Bill Murray came into the wine bar I worked at many moons ago and complimented my upper lip before telling a coworker that 'he wished I was a paraplegic so he could push me around in a wheelchair.'

Can't make this stuff up!

What was the last gift you gave someone?

Gave my neighbor a bouquet after they dropped off steak from a recent hunting trip. He's since tilled a little spot in my backyard to start a garden- kindness and community are much much needed these days.

Strega Flora Flowers

Favorite podcast?  Dolly Parton's America. She's a national treasure!

Any hidden talents?  I'm a classically trained singer. In college, I studied musical theatre, but nowadays you can find me in the shower, serenading my soap with Puccini.

Where did you grow up?  Hawaii and then all over the south- Navy brat.

Favorite holiday?  Christmas. The cheer, the music, the decorating, the baked goods- my serotonin levels are HIGH in December.

What is your most treasured possession? My almost-two-year-old terrier mix is named Hoagie. He's truly a once-in-a-lifetime dog.

Favorite thing to cook?  Tacos. I can (and often do) eat them for every meal.

What are you currently watching?  Rotating between Mad Men for the one-millionth time and Westworld when I'm in the headspace to handle it. Seinfeld when I'm not.

What are you most thankful for?  My health, my dog. The privilege of owning a small business. The Salty Buckwheat Chocolate Chunk Cookie recipe from Bon Appetit.

To see more of Nikki’s work visit, or Instagram @stregaflora

A Maker Moment Flowers Home Decor

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