House becomes home to petals and piglets

Published 11:25 am Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lesa Nivens lived in south Florida for awhile and taught school there, but when she moved back to Chelsea, she wanted to do something with her marketing design degree and the old homeplace her grandfather had left her.

So, two years ago, she opened Petals to Piglets in her grandparents’ old house, which sits along side Old Highway 280 just before you enter The Narrows.

Why the name Piglets, I asked, looking around the eight-room house at the cozy arrangements of stuffed sofas and chairs, flowers and hundreds of gifts items and collectibles.

“We wanted to let people know that we have a little of everything,” she said. “Everything from petals to piglets.”

And I did see some piglets lounging around the rooms: stuffed pigs, ceramic pigs and even a cute lamp base in the shape of a pig. But it’s the flower end of the business that keeps her busiest right now, making arrangements for funerals, weddings and other events, she said. Nivens offers delivery service and uses FTD and Teleflora.

Older Chelsea residents, and those who traveled Old 280 some 20 years ago, will recognize the site of Petals to Piglets as the place where Frank Nivens’ grocery and filling station were located beside his house.

They will likely recall the cool breeze that whispered through the open doorway on hot summer days, when they went inside to purchase icy cold drinks and pay for the gasoline pumped outside.

The building which houses the shop, was the Nivens second home in the immediate vicinity. The original home stood a few feet to the east.

“But it once stood further up the road, where the railroad trestle is now,” Nivens said. “When the railroad was put through, they rolled it closer this way, then when the road was built, they rolled it on down here under the pecan trees.”

Nivens recalls many happy hours playing around her grandfather’s farm and store, and the house where she now spends much of her time re-creating cozy settings and arranging flowers. Petals to Piglets can be reached at 678-4756 or visit the Web site at