At home with Jorge & Laura Posada
10/09/2013 12:00 AM
11/14/2013 12:20 PM
When you imagine meeting a real-life, legendary Yankee—of the pinstriped, World Series-winning variety—there are many things you might envision happening. In all likelihood, none of them is this: having said Yankee walking toward you holding a manila folder overflowed with magazine clippings showing his favorite ...interior design ideas? “I scour magazines for inspiration,” said Jorge Posada, the half-Dominican, half-Cuban, Puerto Rican-born catcher who played with the New York Yankees for 17 seasons before retiring and moving with his wife, Laura, and two kids, 13-year-old Jorge Luis and 11-year-old Paulina, to Miami in 2010. “Laura and I had worked with designers to decorate our homes in the past, but now we prefer to do it ourselves. We watched them and we learned.”
Did they ever. The couple’s grand Coral Gables home, a three-story, waterfront beauty they decorated themselves, is an exercise in the art of blending elegant, classic style with homey, unpretentious comfort. “We wanted a house our friends and family would feel good in,” said Laura, who also hosts a lifestyle show, Manual de Supervivencia (Survival Guide), on the Fox-owned Spanish language network Utilisima. “We wanted it to be peaceful and relaxing, but practical too.” Case in point: the kitchen. “We don’t have a chef. I cook every day,” explains Laura. “So it was important for us to have an open kitchen because otherwise I’d be locked up in there by myself.” Married for nearly 15 years and famously family-oriented—together they’ve written two books: 2009’s Fit Home Team, a healthy living guide for families, and 2010’s The Beauty of Love, a touching memoir that chronicles their love story as well as their first child’s battle with craniosynostosis, a rare birth defect that causes an abnormally shaped skull—the couple has carved out a delicious, new South Florida life at the center of which is the ability and the time to enjoy simple pleasures. “I drive the kids to school in the morning and pick them up in the afternoon,” says Jorge, who also steals away once a week to fly to Puerto Rico to play in a softball league with his childhood friends. In no hurry to decide what’s next for his career, “I’m enjoying my time off, and after so many years of not being around, it’s really nice to get to do this.” The Posadas invited INDULGE into their home for a first-ever look at their new Southern life.
So you designed the house yourself. That’s pretty brave.
Laura: Yes, we did. I take credit for the movie theater and the display case of all of his trophies and awards. I wanted Jorge to have all of his memorabilia in one safe, beautiful place. Honestly, I also didn’t want baseball stuff all over the house! But Jorge is awesome at this—and he is the one who came up with the great wine display in the dining room as well as the idea for our bedroom.
Jorge: In the bedroom, it’s actually Jennifer Aniston’s bed! I saw it in an old Architectural Digest she was featured in and I loved it. We took the image and had one made just like it. If she only knew we have her bed!
Of all the houses you must have looked at when you were searching, what was it that made you say yes to this one?
Laura: We had seen so many we didn’t like that I had all but given up. Then Jorge came home one day and said, “I found a house!” There wasn’t even a “for sale” sign on it. I walked in and I was pretty negative, thinking this was going to be another one I didn’t like. And in fact, I didn’t like it. I walked around and said the kitchen is too closed up, the closet is too small, there’s no open space. As it turned out the owner, who was also the builder, was right there and he said, “We can fix all of those things.”
Jorge: Then we came back just four or five days later and the guy had opened up the kitchen, expanded the closets and addressed everything we had said. That really helped us see the house differently.
Had he recognized who you were?
Jorge: At first no, but when I left after the first visit, one of his workers said to him, “Don’t you know who that is? It’s Jorge Posada from the New York Yankees.” I thought that was funny!
What other changes have you made to the house?
Laura: We made a second closet for Jorge’s suits. We built a Jacuzzi outside. We did all of the landscaping around the house and behind it, and brought in beautiful flowers in bright colors. We wanted it to be more tropical.
Jorge: We wanted it to be more Puerto Rico.
You also rebuilt the first level of the house and turned it into a veritable kid paradise.
Laura: For me, it was important that we each have our space, including the kids. I want this house to be the house that friends come to because I want to see the other kids. I want to hear what they’re talking about. I want to see what they’re doing. We created an area where Paulina can be with her friends, and an area where Jorge Luis and his friends can play their videos and hang out. They each have sleepover rooms too. Then in the middle, there’s a big ping-pong table and a pool table, so Jorge and I play down there too. That way, it doesn’t seem like we’re right on top of them but we totally know exactly what everyone is up to.
You have an impressive art and photography collection too.
Jorge: It’s funny because my son always asks, “Why do we have pictures of strangers in our house instead of having pictures of us?” We explain to him that it’s art. That it’s collectible, that it will last forever. But he doesn’t really care. He still thinks we should sell them and get something else. You also do a lot of entertaining here.
Laura: Yes, and people come and they love to stay. And I love that—to a certain point. It’s funny because when we’re ready for people to go home, after they’ve been here all day, Jorge will just get up and start cleaning. Our friends recognize the sign now.
Laura, tell us about that closet of yours.
Laura: I love my closet! I literally counted all my purses, my shoes, my belts, everything, and I sat with the people who were going to make the closet and we designed it based on what I had. You know, when I was a kid in Puerto Rico, we always celebrated Three Kings Day. And as a present the Three Kings always, always brought me a pair of white Mary Jane shoes. I had to wear those shoes for everything, and I absolutely hated them. So I swore that when I was older I was going to have whatever shoes I wanted. Some people might look at my closet and wonder if I really need that many things. But every time I look in there, it’s a reminder of how hard we’ve worked and how far we’ve come.
So after so many years in New York, why did you pick Miami?
Jorge: I didn’t really like the cold weather. And the cost of living is great in comparison. It’s also close to Puerto Rico as well as New York. And finding a place with a great school for the kids was really important too.
What do you hope the kids get from growing up in Miami that they may not have gotten from growing up in New York?
Laura: Well, first the obvious things: there are so many Latinos in Miami and that’s important for them to be able to learn Spanish; also, they just have more space to be here. Paulina comes home after school and she goes to our back yard to fish! But most important, is that in New York, because of who their father is, they were always “Jorge Posada’s kids.” I remember my son coming home one day and saying he wanted people to like him for him, not for who his father was. Miami is a chance for them both to be their own people.
What’s is your favorite spot in the house?
Jorge: For me, it’s the theater. It’s so quiet and I can just sit back and watch a movie. But I love the bedroom too.
Laura: And for me, it’s those terraces outside. I can sit there for hours and let the breeze blow on me. It’s so peaceful, and so far away from New York.
Join the Discussion
Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.