April Tomlin’s passion for interior design began with her mother, a single parent who worked multiple jobs to keep her family afloat. She ran April’s grandfather’s plumbing business, sold real estate and even built every childhood home they ever had, inspiring a love of construction and a steadfast work ethic. This cultivated April’s affinity for turning a house into a home, laying the groundwork for her future career even before she was out of elementary school.

Years later, April Tomlin Interiors graces the homes of A-list clientele, delivering compelling compositions that simultaneously elicit a sense of intensity and serenity. Often monochromatic in theme, her designs are also infused with sophisticated spontaneity, incorporating pieces that highlight her fondness for all things beautiful and slightly rough around the edges. And soon, this mom of two will be traveling for design, having recently announced her exciting expansion into 30A! With a unique style that’s easily distinguishable, please welcome our newest interior designer crush, April Tomlin.

Interior designer, April Tomlin

Meet April Tomlin, our newest interior designer crush!

When did you take an interest in pursuing interior design?

My youngest design story is when my mom came home from work (I was 8, and my brother was 7) to find that we had managed to move some of her bedroom furniture and painted her walls as far as our little arms would take us. It’s like my childlike heart wanted our home to feel beautiful, even though we didn’t have the means. I believe my design destiny started that day.

You have a very distinct style. Can you describe your aesthetic?

I like to describe my personal style as earthy with a little edge. I live my life in a very casual, relaxed way. So, of course, my interior style reflects this. I love slipcovers, linen, wood, plaster, old trough bowls, neutrals — really anything that evokes a calm feeling. I also love funky art and wallpaper and interesting lighting. I love to walk through a consistent, natural home and turn the corner to be surprised by a show-stopping wallpaper. When designing for a client, I don’t try to push my own style on them. Some people, by nature, are more formal. Therefore, their interiors should be a little more formal. With that said, any time you are using a designer, you should like their personal style because, inevitably, who they are will come out in their designs. I recently did a more Southern-style home that I believed was completely opposite of my style, and one person that walked through the home said, “I can tell that you designed this.” That blew my mind.

"This ain't the Ritz Carlton" wallpaper in dining room by April Tomlin Interiors

This sepia-toned “La Palma” wallpaper from Catherine Martin by Mokum becomes the perfect backdrop for some dining room graffiti, lending April’s edgy design touch in an unexpected way. Vintage leather chairs surround the table, while various baskets from World Market add another eye-catching element.

White living room with dark beams on ceiling

“It’s really a cool way to have your dining and living spaces in one area but almost feel like it’s all a living room,” says April of this design that utilizes one large room for multiple functions. Three individual pendant lights are hung together to create a more dramatic effect and highlight the dining area.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I really love looking at exterior courtyards and gardens for inspiration. Outdoor spaces, if done correctly, can always make you feel peaceful and calm. I love bringing that feeling inside.

Where do you curate your design pieces?

We source from a million different vendors around the world, particularly Australia, but we also get decor from Target. Often, you can find a good amount of filler pieces off the shelf. My favorite “off-the-shelf” stores are Target, Crate and Barrel, One Kings Lane and Etsy.

April Tomlin-designed living room with stone fireplace

A custom ottoman offers a unique accent in this sitting room, while a built-in wooden bench is a functional yet artistic design piece. “It’s a very affordable thing you can do on any given fireplace,” April tells us. “Having a custom bench with some pillows and a pop of art is all you need.”

RELATED: Nicki Clendening: Interior Designer Crush

You use a lot of raw, organic materials in your designs. Tell us about some of them.

I am a huge fan of raw woods; I try to make the wood we use appear to have zero stain. I love certain types of plaster. It can really elevate a plain white wall without drawing direct attention.

What design project or vignette that you have created tops your list of favorites?

I am currently designing my own home. It has become one of my favorites because it is the first time that I don’t have to consider anyone’s opinion but my own … well, also my husband’s. Sort of.

What is one piece of design advice you can offer us to elevate our homes?

Spend your money on drapes. There is no way around it; drapes are expensive — even if they aren’t custom! But without them, your space can fall flat. A custom drapery person can advise you on the scale, different materials and installation. I don’t do heavy drapes. I usually use a soft linen, and I am currently loving putting the curtain track on the ceiling for a less heavy look.

Lighting would be the second on my list of importance. Making sure lights are on dimmers, exchanging your Edison bulbs for a soft white light, and purchasing lighting that isn’t in every other house in town can really make an impact.

April Tomlin kitchen with open shelving and white island

A stunning island provides ample space for both kitchen prep and conversation. Originally filled with dark wood, April stripped down this kitchen and re-stained the wood for a new color palette. Thoughtfully constructed open shelves take the place of cabinets, reflecting a couple who don’t have a need for tons of storage.

master bedroom with natural wood wall and globe fixtures

Created by April’s wood maker Andy Gray, of Gray Carpentry, this focal point wall of plain sawn white oak was stained to match this bed from All Modern, which April describes as “super affordable.”

If you could work with anyone in the world — as a client or co-collaborator — who would it be?

I would want to work with Nate Berkus and his husband because I love their style, and they seem so sweet.

RELATED: Nate Berkus’ Kitchen Reno Secrets: How to Splurge & Save in Style

Are there any trends you’re passionate about? Are there any that you aren’t?

I love the minimal molding look that I see popping up in Nashville. For my own home, I have drywall return windows, doors, no crown molding and 2-inch baseboards.

All-white bedroom with swing made of branches

Suspended from the ceiling, this tranquil bed appears to be entirely off the floor, though it is also secured to the wall by hidden supports.

Freestanding tub in April Tomlin-designed bathroom

An art piece flown in from New York offers delicate beauty to this bathroom, while a luxurious freestanding tub adds a modern element.

You are a wife, mom and successful interior designer. Any tips for juggling the work-life balance?

Give up on something. I have figured out how to work hard and be a present mom, but I basically put all of my energy into those two things — as well as some close friends and one charity organization. I have had to sacrifice things like sleep, a perfectly clean home, looking cute all the time (or barely at all), facials and massages, and consistent workouts. I know one day, as my kids get older, I will be able to do more things for myself, but I find a lot of joy in being with my kids and working. It’s also okay to not feel this way. It’s okay to have a job simply to provide for your family. If that’s the case, I would for sure fill up any extra time with a hobby that makes you truly happy. It doesn’t always have to be work and kids — it can be kids and reading or exercising, etc.

What is your favorite design element in your own home?

I am building a new home, and the entire exterior is a lightly stained, vertically planked white oak. I am so, so excited.

suspended swing and outdoor dining table on porch by April Tomlin

“We really wanted to make sure that the outdoor dining was as Southern as the house,” says April of this porch project, “but we still wanted it to be youthful.” She chose a classic Southern swing and table, adding chairs with a bit more spunk.

What is one design secret or hack that you can share with us?

If you are looking for the perfect white wall color and you don’t want to paint your trim or doors, paint the walls the same color as your trim and doors. If you try to pick a different white, you might end up with your trim or walls looking a little yellow.

Can you describe your design philosophy in five words?

Do. What. Makes. You. Happy. You are the only person that has to see your home every day. When you walk into your home, you should be happy. Edit everything that doesn’t bring you joy, and collect pieces over time that make you smile.

See more of April’s work on her website, apriltomlin.com. Thank you to photographer Paige Rumore for the beautiful photos.

**********

Meet more of our favorite Southern interior designers in our archives. Click HERE!