As director of the high-end faucet and fixture brand, Franz Viegener, John Weinstein knows his way around a bath remodel. But when it came time to re-envision his own primary bath after a severe windstorm damaged the space, his 30 years of industry experience suddenly became personal. Photographed by Linda McManus Images.
His family’s ordeal began in April 2020 when a violent windstorm with 70-mph gusts uprooted a large pine tree that fell onto his house in Philadelphia. The sudden storm left behind irreparable damage to the primary bedroom and bathroom, with branches coming through the ceiling of both areas after breaking eight trusses. When insurance would only cover the structural damage and re-installation of the original 20-plus-year-old fixtures, John and his wife Valerie decided it was an opportunity. They could finally re-imagine their outdated bath with a fresh look that better reflected their current lifestyle.
“We wanted a fashion forward Euro-contemporary feel, to create an open space, which was spa-like. We wanted to take advantage of the large window and allow the natural daylight to pour in, giving us the feeling of showering outside.”
With the goal of being “one with nature,” the couple turned to long-time friend and architect, Samuel Gordon. “He’s toured the entire world and now specializes in geothermal coastal homes,” recalls John. “I knew that his view of master bath configurations would connect with my desires.” He also enlisted the help of L.A. – based interior designer Jhoiey Ramirez, who made material selections ranging from tile to the bronze wall mirror work. The application of Walker Zanger’s large format Barcelona porcelain tile in a seamless, floor-to-wall arrangement accentuated the volume of the already large bathroom space, and completely transformed it into a calm and contemporary Zen-like retreat. “We opted to run the 24” x 48” size on the floor and 12” x 24” on the walls,” says John. “Grout lines were kept tight. The large tiles really opened up the space and created a great canvas for the other contemporary touches we added to the bathroom, like the Laufen vanities and fixtures and Franz Viegener faucets.”
Rather than keep the tile finishes consistent from floor to wall, they also opted for an Ivory matte finish for the floor tile, which “feels soft and secure on bare feet since it”s non-slip,” explains John. Meanwhile, the Ivory wall tiles have a glossy finish. It was a functional choice, but it also had an aesthetic impact on the overall look of the space. The combination of the two finishes creates a subtle textural contrast as light hits the surfaces at different points during the day.
The delivery and installation process was also a breeze for the couple. “The people at Walker Zanger were great, and the fact that they were bi-coastal was even better,” concludes John. “Our designer was able to work with them in L.A. while I coordinated with their New York office for product delivery, which they were kind enough to run on their own truck to this project.” John and Valerie could not be happier with their new bath sanctuary. “It”s an inspiration to wake up everyday and feel like we can truly relax in our space,” says John. What was at first a disaster turned into a triumph of design.