High Concept

Elegant portapotties. Oxymoron, right? Actually, no. Not if you believe Ronald Frank Valenta, the founder of Portosan Co. Lately, his company has risen to the top of the portable-toilet market by offering luxurious leased loos. "They're nicer than what you have at home," Valenta says. "There's marble, wood, sinks with running water, wonderful little soaps, mirrors. ... We've even had full-blown bathrooms with showers." While a plain old roadside stall rents for about $85 a weekend, the cream of the portapotty crop can go for as much as $1,350 a day, including delivery and service.

Portosan rolled out its upscale model two years ago, when filmmakers asked Valenta to make posh lavatories for their location shoots. "There was a real need in the entertainment sector because you're dealing with celebrities," he explains. Since then, Valenta's handiwork has graced the sets of movies like American Pie 2 and The X Files. (The truth is out there: even Scully goes to the bathroom.)

Soon Hollywood's elite may not be the only ones enjoying such restful rest rooms. Valenta notes that federal and state health authorities are considering mandating that portable bathrooms feature hot-water plumbing and wide washbasins at construction sites and at camps that emergency-relief workers set up during floods and hurricanes. Valenta's wonderful little soaps, alas, are not part of the proposed health code.


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