Of all the necessities in a bathroom, the toilet ends up being the most obtrusive. "The toilet shouldn't be the first thing that you see when you enter the bath," says architect Pat Peterson, of Elswood, Smith, Carlson Architects in Overland Park, Kansas. If space permits, locate the toilet out of sight, for example, behind a partial wall or in a separate water closet. These toilet rooms must be at least 36 inches wide and 66 inches deep; they should also include grab bars, lighting, and ventilation. Kitchen and bath designer Molly Korb of MK Designs in Newcastle, California, suggests using a pocket door for privacy if there isn't enough room to swing a conventional door. If you're relocating the toilet, ask a plumber if you need a new vent stack or if you can tie into the existing one. When it comes to the toilet itself, buy the best you can afford. Federal law now requires new toilets to use just 1.6 gallons per flush, but not all gravity-fed models are created equal. Some work better on a single flush and stay cleaner than others. Choose a gravity-fed toilet with a fully glazed trap at least 2 inches wide. You can also opt for a pressure-assisted toilet. They flush more effectively, but they make more noise and start at about $300 compared with $100 or so for gravity-fed models. If buying a more expensive toilet means having to save somewhere else, use lower-priced tile, suggests kitchen and bath designer Pietro A. Giorgi Sr., of Giorgi Kitchens Inc. in Wilmington, Delaware.
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