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Remodeling your bathroom: seven things to keep in mind

The average American spends about an hour a day in the bathroom, so when it’s time to remodel, you want to make sure that everything gets done right.

RiverheadLOCAL recently sat down with design professional Dee Ann Federico, owner of Dee Ann Design, of Riverhead, to talk about seven important things to keep in mind when designing a bathroom.

Consider Hiring a Professional

Federico highly recommends putting serious thought into hiring a design professional when it re-designing a bathroom, especially since it is a very involved project that requires plumbing and electrical work.

“It’s a really good long-term investment to get some professional help,” she said. “A designer will not only keep you organized, but can help you to interview contractors.”

Choosing a contractor, she said, can be a cumbersome task and a designer can ensure that your contractor will do the best job possible because they work with contractors on a regular basis.

“When you are gutting a bathroom and replacing everything, it is a serious thing — you need to know that the people you are working with are qualified. You want someone who is knowledgeable and has your best interest in mind,” Federico said.

And even if you don’t want to use the full services of a designer, Federico said there are designers that will provide hourly consulting.

“You can get a lot of information in an hour-long consultation,” she said.

What is Your Bathroom For?

Like designing a kitchen, which RiverheadLOCAL discussed with Federico last week, an important first step is to identify what your bathroom will be used for. A main bathroom with a shower, tub and vanity has much different needs than a small powder room with a toilet, sink and mirror.

Another (often overlooked) question Federico said to pay special mind to answer: how long will you be using the bathroom for? If you plan on staying in your home for the next 30 years, she said, feel free to design your bathroom to suit all of your needs and wants. But, if you are thinking of moving out in the next few years, you will want a bathroom that will appeal to as many people as possible if you choose to sell your house.

An increasingly popular mistake many people make is removing their bathtub. There is recent a trend of removing tubs from bathrooms and replacing them with fancier shower spas, but Federico said that pulling out a bathtub could be detrimental to a future sale of the home, especially if there are no other bathrooms in the house that have tubs.

“If your bathroom is big enough, it is ideal to have a tub and shower installed,” she said.


The most important material to think about when designing a bathroom is the tile.

“The tiles are the star of the bathroom,” she said, adding that they are also very easy to clean. If you are someone who hates cleaning, she suggests you consider tiling your entire bathroom.

Choosing tiles really depends on personal taste, but there are some tricks. For example, if you have a smaller bathroom, you will want to use larger tiles to make the room appear bigger. Large tiles also give a bathroom a more contemporary feel, she said.

“There is so much you can do with tiles,” she said.

The current trend is to give a bathroom a beach feel using white-washed driftwood looking colors, but another trend on the rise is installing tile that is made to look like wood.


Most bathrooms already have a ventilation system, but Federico recommends upgrading the system to ensure that you have the best ventilation possible in your bathroom.

“A window in the shower is not enough,” said Federico. “It is important to have a system that vents to the outside.”

Think Vanity

Like tiles, a vanity is a focal point in a bathroom, so you will want to give thought to choosing one that not only looks great, but also serves your needs.

For example, if it is a main bathroom that you are remodeling, you will want to a new vanity that has enough storage space for the household’s needs.

It is also important to think about what type of counter your vanity will feature, and the extra considerations that come along with that decision. For example, if you use a real marble counter, you will have to make sure it is sealed properly.

Custom countertops that are made of concrete and embedded with pieces of beach glass are on the rise in popularity, according to Federico.

“There are so many options available,” she said.


When thinking about knobs, pulls, towel racks and even faucets and shower fixtures, Federico said it is important to make sure they all match. For example, you wouldn’t want to have a chrome shower head and oil-rubbed bronze light fixtures.

The Toilet

Selecting a toilet isn’t as simple as it used to be, Federico said, pointing out that a variety of bowl sizes, heights and seats are on the market.

“There are more bells and whistles than there used to be,” she said.

Of course, when it comes down to it, choosing a toilet is a matter of personal choice, but Federico suggests buying a toilet that conserves water.

“They are more expensive, but you will defiantly get the money back,” she said.


For more information on Dee Ann Designs, call (631) 495-4912 or e-mail her at [email protected]. If you are planning to remodel your kitchen soon, be sure to click here to read last week’s interview with Federico on nine things you shouldn’t forget when remodeling a kitchen.

Courtney Blasl
Courtney is a freelance photographer, videographer, web designer and writer. She is a lifelong Riverhead resident.