A home we were excited to peek into was the updated abode of sought-after Nashville interior design guru, April Tomlin. Recognized for her relaxed approach to design, use of earth tones, and overall organic natural feel, she has outfitted some of the most beautiful and unique interiors that we’ve visited in town. It is no surprise that the personal beach hideaway she created for her family is a success in seaside living.

“As one of the initial houses built in Alys, it was what you might call a ‘diamond in the rough’—just needed a little love. We didn’t want to do a complete renovation, so we focused on impactful updates,” April shares. “I chose to buy in Alys Beach because I feel like I can breathe here. The atmosphere is kind of like being on island time. I am so happy and at peace here and really cherish the uninterrupted time with my family and friends.” She appreciates the development’s aesthetic as well as the ease of getting there quickly from Nashville. They focus on hitting the beach with the kiddos and enjoying 30A hotspots like George’s and Pescado when not just lounging at the house.

One of the things she enjoyed most about this project was that she wasn’t on a big, celebrity-style budget but instead kept affordability in mind with every step. With her extended family not being able to visit at much as they would like in the first couple of years, she opted to rent her home out when not in residence with her own brood. That means durability and minimal investment were kept top-of-mind.

April noted that making her house look more custom without spending a fortune was challenging but fun and one of her favorite aspects of the project. Normally accustomed to a large design and execution team with clients, the design process presented a different set of challenges as she outfitted Alys by herself. “I had a very short amount of time to design and execute it by myself. It really makes me appreciate the talent that we have on our team, especially our business side that has mastered the execution,” she admits.

She started with a neutral palette and muted accents and added natural materials such as white oak for the bar and living room wall and Oushak rugs for the updates. She made some subtle changes in paint colors, plastering walls, countertops, reworking the hood, and eliminating a barrier to open up the kitchen. Her favorite place in the house is the very simply outfitted master bedroom. She scoured Etsy, Food 52, Lostine, and Target for tasteful but thoughtfully priced light fixtures, accents, linens, and accessories. While she saved there, she spent dollars where it matters, including Sub Zero for appliances, commissioned art photography, custom-made pillows, and curtains. She found furniture at West Elm and Restoration Hardware. Still, she incorporated a couple of select custom pieces into the layout for that magic dust April Tomlin Interiors is known for in Music City. She used some local vendors, including Market Place Interiors and Andy Gray Carpentry for a trusted result on her budget and got the place vacation-ready by lighting candles in all of the rooms. “It’s a trial of the scent we’ve developed for the ATI product line. It smells so good! The scent filling up the whole place gets me so excited about the coming release of the new line,” she boasts. We can’t wait either, as if the effect is as calming as this retreat by the beach—it will be a best-seller that we’ll be burning, too.