• Lauren Vallario Designs

New Innovations that Make for Amazing Designs

Hi All! I know it has been an extremely long time since my last post. Life has been hectic! I have had lots of really great projects come my way, which means I’ll have lots to tell you about, BUT they have been keeping me really busy in the meantime. I did, however, want to take a few minutes and tell you about something really special that I learned about.

Over the last 7 years, I have had the pleasure of working with some really great contractors, builders, and tradesmen. Being able to work with such great people is what makes me successful. Ideas are wonderful but if you don’t have the right skills behind them to execute, well, they are only ideas. All of the trades are important to my designs because it really only takes one detail to be off for the design to not really be successful.

One trade, in particular, that is super important to me because of the nature of kitchens and bathrooms is the person who installs the tile! In a bathroom, especially, there is so much tile that it really is critical that the layout works as well as the installation. Over the years I have had the pleasure of working with many great installers including Mirek Kozlowski and his team. Mirek is an entrepreneur in every sense of the word. Not only does his team install tile, they polish concrete, install micro cement finishes and now he has set out to revolutionize the shower drain world with his wall drains by Drains Unlimited. Now, you’re probably thinking “did she just say wall drain?”, yes, I did. And your next question is probably “what the heck is a wall drain?” well, you’re not the only one. I had that very same question and a LOT of skepticism (although I didn’t tell Mirek that!).

You see, I sold plumbing fixtures for almost as long as I have been independently designing spaces. I’ve seen a lot of products come and go, work and not work. When it comes to shower drains the popular innovation was a “linear” drain. While they look cool and allow you to use a larger format tile with them than a traditional shower drain, they can be complicated to specify, expensive and extremely difficult to snake when clogged. Naturally, I stay away from them for those reasons, the last thing I want is issues for my clients. To my surprise, Mireks’ wall drains are not like those linear drains. Yes, they are still great for large format tiles but they are not at all hard to snake when there is a clog. My absolute favorite part about them, there isn’t a drain grid that you have to stand on when you’re in the shower ( I HATE standing on a shower drain, it grosses me out). Here’s the real kicker, while the drain is “in the wall”, it’s not really in the wall. You’re probably thinking I’ve really lost it. Nope, I couldn’t grasp this concept at first either, I mean, water needs to drain DOWN not into a wall, right? Yes, but the drain itself still gets installed in the floor and the shower floor is still sloped to it so the water travels down, however, the body of the drain gets placed at the bottom of a wall. Check out these images below.

Initial Rough Installation:

After Tile Work is Completed:

You see that hole in the center? That’s where the drain outlet is that gets connected to the drain line. Rather than being out in the center of the shower floor, it gets pushed into the wall. The easiest way to make this work and use a full-length drain to match the size of your shower is to have the framers frame a “floating” wall. Think of it this way, they build the wall short but install it so that it is floating up 6” instead of down 6”. Then the drain with its flange gets set into that space and the plumber makes the same connections that they always do. When your tile installer tiles, they tile just like they would if it were on the floor and then tile the removable face so that it blends into the wall. If and when you need to remove the face, the drain comes with a handy little tool to help pop it off. Industrial strength magnets keep it in place so it doesn’t move around. This is a truly innovative way to design a shower. As you can see in the images above, the drain disappears creating a seamless look and as I mentioned before, my favorite part, no shower drain grid to stand on!

This product recently won Best of KBIS 2020 Silver which is an amazing accomplishment. I think we will continue to see a lot of great things from Drains Unlimited!

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