April Tomlin of April Tomlin Interiors recently completed a project with a story as sweet as its decor. It isn’t often two sisters live in the same house (at different times), and after one look at this space you’ll see why they wanted to keep it in the family. Tomlin’s keen eye for styling a space (and for not over-styling it) shine through in the photo tour below. Don’t be surprised if your current decorating plans change drastically after a few Nashville-inspired ideas.
Tell us a bit about this project. How did it come about?
I have a lifestyle blog (don’t we all?) called Velvet’s Edge, and I received a phone call from a girl who had seen my design work through the blog. I wasn't even accepting clients at the time, but here was this woman who wasn’t just saying, “I want my home to be beautiful,” she really wanted her home to tell her story. Something told me I had to do it.
The house was built in 1940, think green carpeted porch. Like much of Nashville—which is quickly being revamped—this house was gutted and flipped by my client’s sister. After this revamp, the home was full of Americana charm and thankfully there were so many good decisions made during this process. I was brought in to make the home look and feel like her.
Where did you begin?
Since the client’s priority was a space that reflected her personality, we started by learning about her interests and lifestyle. She is a nurse anesthetist in Nashville, TN with a friendly and lighthearted personality and the proud owner of two of the cutest dogs you’ve ever seen. We reviewed some inspiration photos at the beginning of the process to make sure we had similar visions of the finished space. From there, we presented two concepts for each room, and she always chose the one with a girly, colorful element.
Did your client have any goals for this space or did she leave it all up to you?
Like any young professional who doesn't have a lot of free time, she wanted her house to be clutter-free, serene, and happy. While she really let us take the creative reigns, picking up her style and nailing the concept was easy because she knows who she is. There’s a certain amount of trust required from a client, and she definitely allowed room for the creative process to take place.
What is your personal favorite component of this space?
My favorite area of the home is the living room. I love the juxtaposition of the pink ottoman against the black accent wall, and the image of Gloria Steinem with the "We Shall Overcome" sign may be my favorite print right now. The space ended up being a beautiful blend of femininity and strength, perfect for any successful, single woman, but especially this client.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was keeping the reclaimed wood floors and making them work with the style she wanted. They are beyond beautiful, but when we were identifying the look she was going for, we were worried that the floors would compete with the rest of the design. Technically, they really should have, but it turned out beautifully.
Are there design elements used here that our readers should try for themselves?
Art is not where she wanted to spend her money. So we purchased the prints around her home from art.com. You can find my current favorite art.com prints on my blog.
If you could describe your design aesthetic in three words, they would be…
Edgy, neutral, organic.
What is your favorite memory of this project?
Every new project means becoming pretty familiar pretty quickly with my clients and their families. In this case, it was her dogs, Patsy and June. Watching them assess their new roommates—the black and white marble pigs on the dining table—was a highlight. They just kept circling the table, willing the pigs to move. Hopefully everyone is coexisting peacefully now.