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Home Improvement Guide 2007
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Ideas and suggestions for your next project, from simple plans to designing extensive renovations.
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Designing your perfect new bath

Creating an efficient yet stylish master bath, family bath or powder room is hard. It is often the smallest room in the home. Plumbing and wiring are nearly impossible to move. Yet, remodeling the bathroom isn't as difficult as you may think. You might want to make radical changes, but experts must decide if what you want is feasible.

"Do-it-yourselfers who want to remodel any bathroom in their home should hire a bathroom designer," says Alan Vaughn Hilsabeck Jr. of Alan Hilsabeck Jr. Interior Design in Flower Mound, Texas. Hilsabeck says remodeling a bathroom is harder than it seems because there are so many different skills involved: construction, plumbing, electrical, tile setting. "It may seem easy when you look at the shows on television, but a lot of crucial items are not mentioned as to what will happen in every remodeling project," he says. "If it's simply switching out a faucet, replacing a light sconce, replacing a shower head or painting the wall, you can do it yourself. If not, get the opinion of a professional and hire a professional."

It's important, too, to carefully consider the number of people who will use a bath and their ages, Hilsabeck says. "In general, bathrooms are very product-driven so the selection of the right products that meets the client's needs and will fit within the bathroom are very important factors in creating an efficient bathroom environment," he says.

In most communities, you will need a building permit describing your project before you begin. If you hire a bathroom designer to help you, be sure to check with your local building department to find out your town's building codes.

Layout design options
Depending upon the size of your bathroom, usually four efficient layouts are possible.

4 efficient bathroom layouts:
A bathroom in which one wall has the tub, bowls and toilet all on one wall. It's not an exciting design, but it may be what is necessary for a small bathroom.
An L-shaped bathroom features a vanity and toilet on one wall with a bathtub along the back wall.
A corridor bathroom with a tub on one wall facing the vanity and toilet on the opposite wall.
A U-shaped bathroom has your fixtures on three walls. However, you need a square bathroom with more space to create this look.
-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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