Designing Women

24 hours with . . .

Courtney Heaton is a second-generation designer. Her love for interiors began while working alongside her mother transforming homes in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Beaver Creek. In 2003, she launched her eponymous firm Courtney Heaton Design in San Francisco. Eleven years later, veteran designer Laura Williams-Ulam, whose career has been spent creating beautiful projects in Washington, D. C., Atlanta, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Napa Valley, joined Courtney’s team. Recently, the duo decided to officially partner and rebrand the company Heaton + Williams. Gentry Home caught up with this talented team to understand the secrets to their success.


Laura Williams-Ulam: 5am Wake up, have coffee, and check my social media—Instagram and Pinterest—then do some online sourcing for Atherton clients.

Courtney Heaton: 6am Grab my phone to check the time and see there are texts, Instagram messages, and emails . . . so I check it all from the comfort of my cozy bed. Then I shower and get ready for the day.

Courtney: 6:30am Wake up my three girls and help them get ready for the day—they wear uniforms, so that helps! I make myself some tea because everyone knows I’m a lot nicer after I’ve had my tea!

Courtney & Laura: 7am Ready for the day and conference call with each other about our Healdsburg project. Today, we are finalizing finishes for the kitchen and baths. Loving the tile samples from Heath Ceramics!

Courtney: 8am I drop the girls off at school and now I’m off to check on progress on a Victorian remodel we are working on in the city. Thankfully, we have the best contractor and he has everything under control. I show my client furniture plans for her living room—a beautiful sectional sofa, two swivel chairs in a great Anna French fabric, and a large rug from HD Buttercup to ground the space. We’re off to a good start.

Laura: 8:30am Stopping by our Napa project for a quick site visit. Hardwood floors are going in today.

Courtney: 10am I need to source a rug for a client in Los Gatos, so I stop at Krimsa and find a few options along with a few pillows that are perfect for another project!

Courtney & Laura: 11am Lunch at the new Marlow Cow Hollow as we go over our meetings for the day, and decide which fabrics to show our client in Atherton. We review some great options from Well Made Home—one of our favorite resources.

Courtney: 1pm Arrive in Atherton for the delivery of dining room furniture. The room has been lacquered, the chandelier was hung, and now the table and chairs complete this beautiful dining room for the holidays. This is what makes our job so much fun! We run by another client in the area to show her some art to complete her living room; we really enjoy the finishing touches.

Laura: 1:30pm Arrive in Atherton for delivery of furniture. This is so fun to see the finished product! Make a few quick decisions on the fabric for pillows and shades and we’re off to our second client close by. New coffee table came in and we can’t wait to see it!

Courtney: 3pm Head back to the city to get my girls. We don’t have any activities today, so we get a snack and get started on homework. I open my laptop and follow up on emails and place a few orders.

Laura: 3pm On my way back to Napa, stop in the city to see the new Hewn showroom and meet with them about the new fabric lines they are carrying.

Courtney: 5pm We walk the dog to the park and enjoy a little fresh air.

Laura: 5pm Time to brave the traffic! Always a long drive in the evenings back to the Napa Valley!

Laura: 6:30pm Arrive home. Time for dinner at R&D Yountville with friends. Seems to be a regular event! Courtney: 7pm Dinner, bedtime reading, and tuck in.

Courtney: 9pm It’s been a long day. I trade in my iced-tea for a margarita, and my husband and I chat about our flip project in the wine country. Then we settle in for some nighttime TV. Shameless is the show for tonight.

Laura: 9pm Crash on the sofa for a little HGTV and Bravo. Always sourcing online while I’m watching my shows! Try to stay awake, but usually out by 10. At the end of a long day, I’m so happy to be doing something I love!

Courtney: 10:30pm Time for bed!

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