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Before & After

A Kitchen Layout Made 100% Better Thanks to April Tomlin’s Big Ideas

Words by Morgan Goldberg
a kitchen with a large center island with chairs

The finished kitchen. Build by Wesley Thomas, Photo courtesy of Jessica G.

For one Louisiana mom, working with Nashville-based interior designer April Tomlin was a pie in the sky.

“I’ve loved April’s work and have followed her for years, but never dreamed I would have access to her,” she remembers. That was until April joined The Expert and made her signature Southern style accessible through virtual consultations—right as the admiring client and her husband were finalizing the kitchen plans for their newly-built house.

The couple halted the project so they could schedule an appointment with April, eager for her to help transform the big, empty space. “We knew that the kitchen would be the focal point of the entire house because we're always in there with our kids and it's where we entertain,” the client explains.

In just one 55-minute call, April sketched out an entire floor plan, arranging the appliances in clever spots the couple would have never considered, and suggested a slew of neutral finishes and fixtures. The homeowners were so pleased with the earth-toned result that they booked a second consultation for their living room, which feels like an extension of the cozy cookspace. Here’s how it all came together in under two hours.

a room that has been painted with blue tape

The Before.

Laying It Out

Before their first appointment, the couple was struggling to come up with a functional kitchen layout that met all their needs. “I knew I didn't want upper cabinets, but I didn't really know how to incorporate the open shelving,” the client laments. “It was just a blank space, which sounds like it would be easier, but actually made it more difficult because there were so many options.”

April recommended adding open shelves along the left side wall and moving the ovens next to the refrigerator on the right side wall to let the stovetop and statement hood sing in the center. She also made the island deeper for easy eating and added posts so that it wouldn’t feel so heavy.

a room with a lot of unfinished furniture in it

In Progress.

Going Neutral

Aesthetically, the homeowners were set on a neutral palette with organic textures—which is April’s specialty. “My husband didn’t want an all white kitchen,” the client shares. “I’ve always loved how April uses white oak and natural stones that are beautiful and timeless, but also have a warm Southern touch.”

The couple was thrilled with April’s suggestions, which included a honed Taj Mahal quartzite island countertop, McGee & Co. woven water hyacinth stools, and a quartet of rustic pendant lights. Most of all, they loved her ideas for a pearly zellige tile backsplash and an oversized plaster hood with interior niches for oils and seasonings.

a living room filled with furniture and a fire place

The After. Photo courtesy of the client.

Keeping It Consistent

Once the kitchen was complete, the homeowners asked April to craft an earthy living room that felt compatible but not matchy. The designer picked an ivory, sink-right-in sectional, a veined marble side table, a beige boucle armchair, and a striped fabric for the custom ottoman. She also showed them how to position the furniture three inches in from the edge of the rug.

Finally, April helped them understand how to hang the white oak shelves that flank the plaster fireplace. “She shared her thought process for styling open shelves and how to make them look clean and not cluttered,” the client says. “I actually used a lot of pottery and ceramics from her line, Tomlin House. She didn't tell me to. I just love it.” For this couple, the two consultations were a pipe dream come true with lasting effect.

a kitchen with a stove top oven and wooden cabinets
a living room filled with furniture and a sliding glass door

The After. Photo courtesy of the client.

The After. Photo courtesy of the client.

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