Laura McNary and her husband Vale have always cared deeply for the communities they live in. Three years ago, the couple tackled an old run-down café (Dos Palmas) with some elbow grease in Normal Heights, turning it into a thriving sandwich hub for community hangouts and live music. Having moved to Ocean Beach last summer, the two became inspired to renovate a formerly forsaken laundromat after hearing the owner was selling the building.
“We use laundromats ourselves and when we saw this place…well, it was a dump,” said McNary. “All of the machines were full of water and dirty, they didn’t have hot water and nothing worked. We decided it’d be a good opportunity to get in there and give the neighborhood a safe and clean place to do laundry.”
With the renovation team consisting of McNary, her husband and a few friends, rehab of the facility took three months and Launderland had its grand opening this past December.
“We ripped out pretty much everything,” said McNary. “All the washing machines are brand new. All the dryers are the same but needed quite a bit of maintenance. We redid the paint, the floor and the ceiling… It was definitely a process.”
The fresh interior is incredibly unique, with food and drink vending machines right at the door, chrome Speed Queen dryers placed up against a newly finished wooden wall along with ocean-blue pillars between folding stations which actually consist of butcher-block tables.
“They weren’t meant to be used as laundry folding tables, but since we work at the café, we knew they were durable and would last long,” said McNary. “They look pretty cool too.”
But the pride and joy of the laundromat is the back-wall ocean mural made up of orange seahorses, salmon-colored coral and, at the center of it all, a woman’s face with wavy blue hair that blends into the oceanic background. At the bottom right-hand corner is the creator’s signature: Gloria Muriel. The local artist also added a smaller-scale mural on a side corner wall of the laundromat
“I had seen her art before,” said McNary. “She has murals all over the place, so I just contacted her and told her that we wanted a mural and she came up with the idea. It didn’t take her that long, maybe three full days of working on it. She’s pretty quick. I think the seahorses are my favorite.”
Laura and Vale are at the laundromat three times a day: in the morning to open and in the evening to clean and straighten up. They feel like the business has made them more acquainted with the people in the community and still have plans for improvements.
“We have a huge to-do list,” said McNary. “We talked to the community right when we started renovations and we’d like to add a soap machine and, eventually, a fluff-and-fold where people drop off their clothes and the person here would be doing the laundry for them. We’re just excited to be here for the community.”
Where: 1960 Cable St.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.