With just five years of collaborating together – including starting their own firm, Heaton + Williams – designers Courtney Heaton and Laura Williams-Ulam have have quickly established their place in the broader Bay Area design community. Today they are sharing a recently completed project that involved a full home renovation with the goal of creating better family time. We talked to the two designers to learn more. 

This was a renovation of a family’s existing home. What inspired the remodel?

The client had been spending a lot of time in Lake Tahoe. The weekends were filled with friends, families, food and flowing wine in a large open kitchen. They loved having the ability to cook, share, and laugh together, which was inspiration enough. They came home one Sunday night, walked into their home, and said “let’s do it”.  They have a large family; two busy teenage boys and a young daughter. With everyone going in different directions, they wanted to create a space to come together, cook, and eat. 

The only real requirement was to help create a space to cook and gather as family and friends with an open plan and some good organization – breakfast bar, root vegetable drawer, bar, knife drawer, and a spot for electronics. The client envisioned everyone gathering around and sharing tasks. They first selected the range and built around that with beautiful white marble and clean white cabinetry, some refined industrial finishes, a large island with a warm stain and some oversized black pendants. They wanted the space to feel comfortable, not too precious, but beautiful and interesting, classic with an edge.

How has the renovation changed how the homeowners use their home? 

The client said moving back into their home after a year of work was an entirely natural transition. They never felt like they had to relearn the space, or reorient themselves. The home felt the way it should have – it now made sense, and was laid out for the way they live. They had been squeezing their life into a box that didn’t fit. Now, entertaining is simple, not stressful for them. The client can cook dinner with one, two, or all three of the kids. Her grandfather was a chef, and she grew up with the understanding that the kitchen was the heart of the home and now that is what they have!

See more in the slideshow!