Project DescriptionLUXE Linear Drains architectural-grade, 100% stainless steel tile tray insert shower drain set the tone for an elegant, seamless full master suite addition designed by Wiedemann Architects for a 1950s California Ranch in Bethesda, MD, just north of Washington, D.C. The owners, a middle-aged couple with a freshly “emptied nest,” still couldn’t find one good reason to part ways with their beautiful site and unique period-style home in this charmed little pocket of America.
Instead, they turned to Bethesda’s most decorated architect, Greg Wiedemann, AIA, and Principal of Wiedemann Architects. Wiedemann’s last name is usually followed by half the alphabet and a dozen more certification acronyms, most of which his full-scale architecture firm would rely on to realize the ambitious changes planned for every section of this classic “California Rambler.” The linear, low to the ground single-story home with Usonian lineage was scheduled for renovations to the guest wing and gym inside the door and down to the far right end, as well as the remodeling of the central atrium just inside the front door. Way to the left, Wiedemann Architects were faced with the challenge of building a seamless, three-room addition to include a luxury master bath and bedroom suite.
Like is often the case, Wiedemann Architects entire design program was implemented by H. Gray Builders, Inc. from nearby Washington, D.C. LUXE Linear Drains president Joe Phillips refers to the master craftsmen at H. Gray Builders as “top-notch contractors.”
They must be, Greg Wiedemann and Harold A. Gray have been working closely together now for 25 years in the Beltway. For the upscale Bethesda ranch, H. Gray Builders project manager on the scene was Nick Stanisic. And in fact, it was through him that Wiedemann Architects first discovered the premium collection of LUXE Linear Drains in the first place. Stanisic already had installed one in his shower at home.
“(Nick) Stanisic was the very first one to introduce us to LUXE Linear Drains,” said Wiedemann. “We’ve been using them more and more ever since. Actually, right now we are building a new custom home using the linear tile insert drain for the master shower, and we’re using two of their drains for the complete remodeling of a penthouse apartment into a luxury condo. In the condo project, we wanted to completely reposition the shower and LUXE Linear Drains gave us the flexibility to be able to do that without having to remove the existing plumbing and then reposition it all.”
Wiedemann Architects goal was to modernize the 1950s home while being respectful of its origins and the classic style of this beautiful retro home that at one point was the dominant style in the U.S. In addition to the selection of LUXE Linear Drains – Tile Insert for the new 6’ x 5’ curbless shower, Wiedemann Architects materials list remained luxurious with the “Linen” series of marble tiles from Ann Sacks for the shower walls in the ultimate, horizontal format, 1 ¾” x 16”. The new sophisticated, elegant and complete series from Ann Sacks also includes all trim, mosaic and accessory pieces. Linen in 2” x 2” porcelain mosaic tiles were used to facilitate a smooth transition to the shower floor. The same porcelain mosaics were the perfect fit for the 48” (four-foot), ¾” deep tile insert tray from LUXE Linear Drains. The beautiful materials specification continued to showcase only the best, including all Dornbracht fixtures for the faucet handles, the shower handles and shower head from its “Performing Water” collection, and a Poliform vanity in a softly-contrasting walnut finish.
Just inside the door from the master bedroom, the modern, curbless or barrier-free custom shower begins the space. The LUXE Linear Drain – Tile Insert runs along the back, facing wall of the shower, ensuring there is no annoying and possibly dangerous standing water. Like the entire collection of architectural-grade, 100% stainless steel LUXE Linear Drains, the linear tile insert tray meant the mortar bed only had to be gently sloped in one direction, toward the drain along the back wall. This saves time and labor for H. Gray Builders, and provides for even easier access and enhanced safety for the homeowner provided by a stylish, high-performance linear drain that finally replaces the outdated round-center drain that’s plagued America for generations.
The new master bath is really comprised of three distinct spaces but cleverly designed to feel totally integrated. For what would be the third standing shower wall, Wiedemann Architects used a well-placed frosted glass pocket door that opens up the entire middle section of the bath, which features a luxurious soaking tub in the far, left corner of the room.
For a bit more luxury, Wiedemann Architects specified WarmlyYours radiant electric floor warming under the 12” x 24” Ann Sacks porcelain tiles that surfaces the open middle section of the bath. The modern, rectangular Ann Sacks porcelain are extremely similar in color style and texture to the linear, 1 ¾” x 16” marble tiles from Ann Sacks that surface the two interior shower walls from the floor to the ceiling.
“There’s a simple directness to it (LUXE Linear Drains),” said Greg Wiedemann. “And they solve a lot of problems in custom shower design, and they do it in a very elegant way that can set the tone for an entire space. They provide flexibility, more ways for us to get to the specific design-look that we were after. We’re using them more and more and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”