LOS ANGELES — Gas station restrooms have a notorious reputation in general, but a series of renovated stations in Southern California is changing people’s minds. Erika Winters, principal of Erika Winters Design in Los Angeles, has led the redesign of five gas stations for her client and has more locations on the drawing boards.
In fact, these restrooms are designed to offer comfortable, leisurely waits for customers of the stations’ car wash and oil change services.
Bella Marketplace is the branded theme of the gas stations owned by Winters’ client with each location taking a slightly different take on the Italian villa look. Customers of the Las Posas 76 gas station and car wash in Camarillo, Calif., are treated to restrooms with granite countertops, vessel sinks, sensor-activated toilets, marble tile and a chandelier.
At sites in higher crime areas, such as the new Victorville, Calif., car wash and gas station, Winters alters the product and material choices to keep the restroom design fresh, attractive—and vandal resistant. Restrooms accessed from the outdoors tend to be more subject to abuse than restrooms located within a retail store. For Victorville, which has both types of restrooms, Winters has chosen vandal-proof fixtures and fittings for the restrooms adjacent to the car wash and then upgrades, such as granite surfacing, for the restrooms within the convenience store.
Vandal-proofing is not dictated solely by locale. Men, said Winters, are typically much tougher on restrooms than women — and are not as sensitive to the aesthetics — so selections such as mirrors for the men’s restrooms are based more on sturdiness than looks.
In any case, what do not change are the flushometers: They’re all Sloan. “We’re happy with Sloan. They’re functional, and they always look good,” said Winters, explaining that Sloan manual and electronic flushometers are dependable, both in terms of performance and in retaining their finish and overall appearance for years to come.