Meet Nadia. Wife of major league baseball player, James Loney, mom of two boys, San Fernando Valley native, and UCLA grad. This beauty is more than a pretty face; she passed the California bar and worked as an attorney prior to meeting her husband. I spoke with Nadia to find out more about the MLB life and her new interior design business: Design by Nadia. Might I also add that she is the sweetest? People do business with people they like, and I like her! Check out our interview after the break...
Name: Nadia Loney
Husband: James Loney
League/Team: MLB – Drafted out of high school to the Los Angeles Dodgers, 7 years with the Dodgers as their first baseman (also played for Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and New York Mets)
Children: Jordan (almost 4), Aidan (1.5)
Education/Career: Bachelors in Political Science (’07) from UCLA, UCLA Law (’10), passed California bar in 2011
Hobbies: fitness (small group cross functional training, spin), interior design
Where are you from originally? Describe your journey to getting where you are now.
I grew up in Los Angeles in San Fernando Valley and went to school in the Los Angeles area. I attended UCLA, then UCLA Law, and took the bar in February 2011. I met my husband the summer after I passed the bar and he was traded a year later to the Tampa Bay Rays. When he was traded, we moved to Florida. About a month after we were married in 2012, I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I really wasn’t able to practice law because you have to take the bar in every state and we moved around so much. I was pretty much a mother and handled all the moves, etc.
How did you and your husband meet?
We met in Summer of 2011 in Los Angeles. I was working in LA at the time as an attorney and he played for the LA Dodgers. We met through mutual friends and started talking. We were engaged about 5 months later and married the following year.
When you know you know, right?
Right. And I wasn’t willing to leave my job and move out of state for a boyfriend. I couldn't do that. Sitting in some random state by myself and you’re just my boyfriend? He kind of knew that’s what I was thinking so maybe that was an incentive for him. Living the athlete lifestyle is a major commitment and it requires a lot of sacrifice, therefore I needed to make sure that we were both in this for the long run.
What are some of your favorite memories from MLB life?
Probably traveling to visit my husband with my son. With my oldest Jordan, we took him to New York, Miami, Chicago, LA (kind of everywhere) and he was able to experience that and going to the games.
Another fun memory I have is from Spring Training 2016 at the first sporting event in Cuba. My husband was with the Rays at the time and he hit a home run in the game versus Cuba. President Obama was there and my husband got to meet him too. Editors Note: Tampa Bay Rays-Cuban National Team Exhibition Game was an exhibition game played on March 22, 2016 at Estadio Latinoamericano in Havana, Cuba, between the Tampa Bay Rays, representing Major League Baseball, and the Cuban national team.
What are some of the challenges you've encountered with being a baseball wife?
Spring training starts in March...then season starts and you move to the city you play in until September…then during off season you usually move again. It was normal for us to move three times per year. You have to ship your cars, and when you have kids there’s 10 million things you have to bring with you. It was very difficult and also difficult (as the wife) to have a career because you’re never in any place long enough. You never know if your husband is going to get traded to another team. The wife is normally left with the responsibility of handling the moves. Last year, James was with the Rays then was released before opening day. We came home and then he was picked up by the San Diego Padres for two months then the New York Mets. It was madness! Makes filing taxes challenging.
What has retirement and the transition been like?
I was always very conscious of the fact that my husband would not be playing forever, and was mentally prepared for that lifestyle to come to an end one day. I always made sure to keep my identity and self worth separate from and not reliant upon his status. So I was excited for the next chapter in both of our lives. Of course I had the normal concerns of what he would be doing with his time, but so far it has been smooth and we are enjoying time together as a family.
Let’s talk Business…
How did the Design by Nadia concept and brand develop? You have serious skills!
Thank you. I decided to launch the firm because I kept getting compliments on my personal design projects, and we are building a home in Las Vegas right now where I’m doing all of the designing. In Las Vegas, the high end market is growing rapidly. We have a professional hockey team (Vegas Golden Knights) and the professional football team is coming here (Oakland Raiders). I saw it as an opportunity. There’s not as many interior designers here as in other major cities like LA and New York City. With my husband retiring, it was time for me to make a move. Now I’m meeting realtors, networking and getting my name out there in the Las Vegas community.
Design by Nadia also provides an athlete relocation design service. I understand the challenges that come with professional sports and frequent relocation. Baseball season is so long. You only get four months off. Last year we moved to four different states. When we move, I have to deal with the contractors, etc. I gained a ton of experience doing it on my own. I had a bad experience with an interior designer during one of our moves. I arrived at the house and it was a disaster. She took all the money, none of the items I ordered were there, and there was junk in the house. I had to hire an attorney. I ended up doing all the renovations, interiors, etcetera myself. I got a lot of positive feedback when we sold the home. Our buyers purchased the home as is. People told me I should get into this business and here I am!
I've always been artistic and loved finding and going to vintage shops, but never really saw design as a profession. I'm Middle Eastern so my cousins, aunts, and uncles are all professors, doctors, lawyers, etc. Culturally, the pressure you feel is that you can’t really make a career out of the arts. My mom is an artist. She went to interior design school and she's a painter and sculptor. Even though my mom is an artist, she still pushed for something more prestigious or serious for me.
If a person had a limited budget-let's say $5000-to invest into their home, how would you suggest they spend it?
If I’m speaking on furniture, I would invest in one or two main pieces that you use the most and that you’re going to have long term, then accessorize with lesser priced items around it. Spend less on the love seats or accent pieces.
On the renovation side, I would say the kitchen is a great place to invest! It's the center of the home where a lot of time is spent. There are cost efficient ways to update the backsplash and countertops. For example, you could stain your existing cabinets another color rather than buying new ones.
What has been your favorite project to date?
My favorite project is the one I’m working on now which is our home in Summerlin, Nevada. We bought the land and we're building from scratch. I'm involved in every single detail. I'm going for a different style I call Vintage industrial – it's a loft feel with exposed brick and rough elements mixed with more vintage pieces. I’m having fun with it!
Where do you see your company in five years?
I’m hoping to have expanded outside Nevada and be recognized in Architectural Digest.
With your skills, I have no doubt Design by Nadia will be featured in magazines sooner than later!
Find out more about Nadia and her company by visiting designbynadia.com or clicking on the links below: