26 June 2011

Grey Gardens - An Update

 

 

image

Little Edie Beale, 1972, the year Life Magazine discovered Jackie Kennedy’s aunt and cousin living in absolute squalor.

When the HBO movie Grey Gardens starring Drew Barrymore came out a few years ago, I think almost every other design blog, including Cote de Texas, wrote about the Hampton’s beach house.  Just in case you missed the movie, Jacqueline Kennedy’s cousin and aunt – Little and Big Edie Bouvier Beale - lived in squalor inside their once beautiful house along with hundreds of cats and all their…droppings.  Mother and daughter had once been the toast of town, beautiful, rich, glamorous, and chic.  The story 0f the two Edies’ inexplicable downfall proved irresistible.  In 1971, the press discovered the two recluses, with the very famous relatives, thus shaming  Jackie and her sister Lee to pay for a total clean up of Grey Gardens.  The house stayed tidy for about a day, and quickly slid right back into its dismal state, becoming even more filthy after its infamous clean up.   In 1975, the filmmakers, the Maysles Brothers, came calling – they stayed for several months filming the two eccentrics and their documentary, Grey Gardens, became a cult hit.  A number of books were written about the two, and there was even a hit Broadway play about the Edies.  Eventually Big Edie died in 1977 and Little Edie moved out in 1979, selling everything to Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee.  Little Edie traveled around, finally landing in Florida where she lived in a clean and tidy apartment and swam in the Atlantic every day.   She lived for 23 years after moving out of Grey Gardens, dying at the age of 84.

 

image

Grey Gardens, 1915.  The house before the solarium was built and the famous upstairs balcony was not enclosed.  Also, the landscaping hadn’t been installed yet.  The original carriage house can be seen behind the house.  The carriage house was sold, enlarged, and still stands today.

 

image

Grey Gardens Today

Once Sally and Ben Bradlee took over the house, they completely  fixed it up – cleaning it from top to bottom and returning the house to its former gracious beauty.  The Bradlee’s have spent every August at the house,  renting it out during the rest of the year to one tenant.   But two years ago their arrangement changed when their longtime tenant left and Grey Gardens was leased for five years to NYC designer Celerie Kemble and her husband.  The Bradlees shortened their usual August stay and have been renting the house out for short durations during that month.   The house is now currently up for rent again,  August 20 through September 5, for a cool $135,000.  Wow.  Takers anyone?   At least it includes Labor Day. 

The particulars for the rental say the house, built in 1900 has 8 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.  It is 6,000 sq.ft.

'A very special 2 week rental. Fully renovated historic "Grey Gardens" on 2 acres of lush landscaping with pool, pool house, and tennis court. Very close to Georgica Beach. Living room opens to old- fashioned sunporch, formal dining room, eat-in kitchen with staff bedroom. Second floor with 4 bedrooms, 3 baths, plus 2 office/studies. Third floor with 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. '

 

image

Today:  the back yard showing the pool.  The solarium is on the left.

I was so excited to see the rental listing because it showed new pictures of the house that I had never seen before.  Included in the rental pictures is one of the kitchen – the elusive room that I couldn’t find a picture of when I was writing my own blog story.  There are also new images of the living room with its beautiful, old-fashioned chintz fabric.  When I wrote the article on Grey Gardens, I researched it for days, studying every picture of each room I could find, looking at you-tube videos, watching the original Maysles Brothers movie – trying to put all the images together so that I could get a true feel for the layout of the house and its gardens.  I think that story is the longest and most in-depth article I have ever put on the blog.  I can’t explain why the house interests me so much.   Perhaps the appeal is its early romantic history, the historic Kennedy/Bouvier connection, and the way that Sally has designed Grey Gardens, inside and outside.  All combine to make an alluring story. Today, the beautifully landscaped “Grey” gardens are magnificent and I can only imagine how gorgeous the yard will look on Labor Day for the lucky few who get the rental. 

To read my original story, go HERE.

image

The Bradlees bought Grey Gardens in 1979 and in 1985 Architectural Digest came to photograph it.  The entry hall has always been a favorite of mine with its crisp, beachy Cowtan and Tout wallpaper.  The table (along with most furnishings) was original to the house and refurbished by Sally.

 

image

TODAY:  the entry hall remain the same, including the rush rugs. The chair was recovered in Bowood, the famous Colefax and Fowler fabric.   Original photographs from the early days sit on the console table.

 

image

THEN:  The living room with Little Edie showing it all off.   Rather than be ashamed, the mother and daughter felt there was nothing odd about how they lived and they appeared to quite happy in the documentary made by the Maysles Brother.  They contended the house needed just a little paint and dusting to fix it up. 

 

image

1985:  Architectural Digest showed the house as it was furnished by Sally with the wicker and chaises she found up in the attic.

 

image

Today:  the romantic chintz filled living room as seen in the rental brochure.  It looks the same as when the Bradlees first decorated it, but at these prices, I would hope the fabric has been updated!  The solarium is through the French doors which the Bradlees installed.  Part of the appeal of the house is rather than remake it into a fancy, Hamptons mega-mansion, Sally has kept it all cozy and welcoming. 

 

image

An early photograph of the Bradlee dining room.

 

image

Today:  the dining room appears exactly the same with more chintz and more matting. 

 

image

THEN:  The kitchen stove in front of the brick wall.

 

image

1985.  The same fireplace showing the sitting room which overlooks the backyard.

 

image

TODAY:  Finally – a view of the kitchen!  I never realized the kitchen was right off to the left of this sitting room.  Here it looks like the sofa and chairs have been newly slipped in blue fabric with white trim.  Beyond the fireplace is the breakfast room – the former servant’s dining room.

 

image

TODAY:  Another view from the listing.   The beadboard ceiling and walls are original to the house.  I believe this was once a warren of smaller rooms which the Bradlees opened up.  There was at once time a large butler’s pantry between the dining room and the kitchen.  Today the pantry is open to this room.  In the servant’s dining room – you can see the stairs which lead upstairs to their sleeping quarters.

 

image

TODAY:  a new picture never seen before of the upstairs landing.  The master bedroom is behind the French door.  A poster from the Maysles movie hangs here.  There are  no pictures of the third floor which has 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. 

 

image

THEN:  The large guest room where the two Edies lived.  Big Edie stayed in bed and didn’t go downstairs for years at a time.

 

image

TODAY:  On the rental brochure – the bedroom is now clean and sunny and bright.

 

image

1985  Architectural Digest showed the master bedroom with its frilly curtains.

 

image

TODAY:  The rental master bedroom has a new rug, new curtains, and a new quilt.

 

image

THEN:  The solarium as Little Edie left it for the Bradlees.

 

image

TODAY:  The solarium as pictured in the rental brochure.  Looks like it could use some freshening up.

 

image

At a charity function Celerie held last year – you can see she has added pillows to the furniture to cozy up this room.  I wonder what other decorative touches she has added?  It must be hard for her to rent a house for five years and not be able to furnish it as she would like to.

 

 

image

TODAY:  Looking from the walled garden to the solarium.

 

image

THEN:  the original walled Grey Gardens.  You can clearly see the pergola to the right.   These walls were completely overtaken by vines and were not visible when the Bradlees took over the property.  It took Sally years and years to get the landscaping looking like it does today.

 

image

TODAY:   From the real estate brochure, inside the walled garden with the thatched pool house nearby.  Behind the chair the pergola is barely visible under the vines. 

 

image

A very rare shot inside the pergola.  Look at the original stone benches.

 

image

TODAY:  the swimming pool.  Gorgeous!

 

image

Looking from upstairs down at the swimming pool.

 

image

To die for!  The Atlantic is very close.  Here you can see into the walled garden and the little thatched house. Tennis courts are right behind the pool, hidden by bushes.

 

image

The landscaping around Grey Gardens is full of hydrangeas.  Hydrangeas have been on the property since Big Edie’s days.

 

image

Last summer gorgeous potted hydrangeas surrounded the pool.  The Bradlees had replaced the shingles a few years ago and now, they have finally reached the gray stage.  The turquoise trim offsets the gray perfectly.   I just love the backyard. 

 

image

Gorgeous Grey Gardens hydrangeas.

 

image

The Grey Gardens Collections is an online store – the brainchild of Big Edie’s granddaughter-in-law, Eva Marie Beale who is married to Bouvier Beale, Jr. 

 

image

Recently the Grey Gardens Collections came out with this Belgian cotton/linen fabric in a hydrangea print in honor of Grey Gardens’ garden. 

 

image

Also available are pillows with the hydrangea print in different color ways!  For information on ordering the hydrangea fabric, see the web site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

image

Everything for sale is either from the two Edie’s era, or was inspired by their style.  I love these velvet cuffs and actually own one!   All these cuffs are now on sale.

 

image

Looking around the collection today, this vintage compact caught my eye.  It looks like tortoiseshell.

 

image

There are all kinds of different items for the home, including a great collection of ironstone.

 

image

And there is a beautiful collection of antique and vintage china.

 

image

 

Also available is this rare book by Eva Marie Beale.  A new exclusive edition is soon to be released, but copies of this book are available only at Grey Gardens Collections.  Many of the photographs in my original blog story came from this book.

Ms. Beale writes of the book:   Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens: A Life in Pictures, the latest installment in a series that includes photo-biographies of John F. Kennedy, Pope John Paul II, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, and others, presents the most in-depth look at the life of Little Edie since the Maysles’ film vaulted her into the public consciousness. Conceived by members of the Beale family, the book traces a line from Edie’s childhood through her heady days as a young socialite and her later years at Grey Gardens, the decrepit East Hampton estate where she and her mother lived in near-total isolation for decades. Featuring over 150 newly uncovered photographs and letters, Edith Bouvier Beale of Grey Gardens offers unprecedented access to the personal history of this twentieth-century woman of mystery.

To visit the Grey Gardens Collections, go HERE

To rent Grey Gardens in August, go HERE.

Thank you for taking a second look at Grey Gardens.  If you didn’t read my original story and you are interested in the house, I urge you to take a look at it.   It’s much more comprehensive with many pictures, floor plans, and interesting comments left by people who added important information to the story.    HERE.

 

70 comments:

  1. I was transported right there ...
    sigh

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, prepare to hate me - Joni, this does not compute. I think the whole Grey Gardens fixation has devolved into gossip, drama and mediocre design. It's a lovely home, to be sure, but very average - the best thing about it, other than it's proximity to the ocean (um, the point of a beach cottage) is the swimming pool. Look, just because crazy rich people let their house go to shit doesn't make it an intrinsically good house - granted it was good before them, they trashed it, Sally sort of resurrected it but it is more sentimentality than design sensibility that makes it interesting. What Celerie does or does not do with it??? Really, it's about the money, don't you think? She didn't want to spend it, and neither did the owners. I have no problem imagining how "hard for her to rent a house for five years and not be able to furnish it as she would like to." Waaaaaa- I thought the whole point was - I'm renting GREY effing GARDENS!!!! Put a skirt on your head and get to the beach!!!

    In what is likely my only dissenting vote re: your taste: huh???? The only real "decor" was that hideous Waverly looking striped Dr. Seuss wallpaper in the foyer and up the stairs. Not beachy, itchy.

    I'm in a mood, sorry, but it's not any more "all that" than any house you've done. So there.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Maybe I am missing something but the only thing I liked about the property is the gorgeous gardens. The interior - not so much! I will go back and read the history of the property.

    ReplyDelete
  4. ok, published my comment and then read "The Cottage Child's" comments. Im not missing anything!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I for one am fascinated by Grey Gardens. I loved the movie with Drew Barrymore and am glad that the house has been restored.

    Design wise I think it could be sooo much more but I appreciate what it must have cost just to get it structuraly in order let alone decorate. Although with a price tag of $135,000.00 for 2 weeks rental I would think they could have Celerie dress it up a bit. lol

    I once read an article about the Grey Gardens movie (I'm sorry I don't remember who wrote it) but there was a very profound question posed by the writer. In describing the condition of the house and the infamous pile of cat food cans in the corner of the living room he said "you have to wonder, who threw the first can in the corner and why wasn't it picked up?" You do have to wonder how it all gets started.

    Thanks for the update, great pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a wonderful house, although I think it's about time for a redo. Bit too Laura Ashely now. And how I would love to hold the reins on that redo!! What fun that would be.

    Oh, and the gardens.... spectacular!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Joni a mix of comments for sure! I am fadcinated more with the story and the people involved than the property although granted the grounds are beautiful!

    The book is probably excellent if it hasn't all been said before.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    Come and enter my fashionable giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Joni,

    I remember your first post on this and I was sucked in....history perhaps???....but none the less sucked in I feel like you do, I love the place. I loved the movie too.

    I could move in and be quite happy there thank you very much !!!!

    Anytime you get an itch to do a post on Greys I will take the ride with you....

    GREAT post,
    Kathy :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think this is all VERY fascinating...Of course, the house in itself is not all that spectacular, but WHO CARES? It's the STORY and the marketing of it that is the deal. Think about it. Literally BILLIONS of dollars have been made off a hokey amusement park ride with mannequins called "Pirates of the Caribbean"! Disney and others have taken a dismal thing, and developed a whole world around it--movies, PJs, dolls, you name it! This outlandish, eccentric, story about the Edies' has a life of its own. The house is just a player in the story. But.. owning the house is owning part of the story! Also, I think Eva Marie Beale is a marketing genius and opportunist that is to be watched and learned from...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Joni! Oh, I just loved this post! I remember your previous post about Grey Gardens and loved it also! I loved seeing the new snaps of the rooms. I am probably the only person in Blogland to have never seen the HBO movie! I did see the Broadway show in New York. Didn't know a thing about these Edies until then. I was so intrigued with the production and came home and read for days about the Edies!
    Now about the granddaughter - she's a smart little one. I'm in love with all that pretty hydrangea fabric!
    You always do such wonderful posts, Joni, and I hope you're doing well.
    be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm sorry, but I've been reading your comments here and I think The Cottage Child was just rude and her comments where very inappropriate. My mother taught me to be nice. You know the old saying - if you can't say something nice/kind don't say anything at all!
    I think the entire place is charming! I'm a big fan of Grey Gardens and of yours! :)
    Continue being a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I find the story of big and little Edie very intriguing. I saw both the documentary and the movie with Jessica Lang and Drew Barrymore. Personally, I like the house, it's simple and relaxing, very airy. However the greatest part of its charm is in its now legendary history. It was raised from its infamous state and brought back, which is no small feat. The rental price, however, is extremely hefty. I can understand they want to restrict it to a very selective group, but $135,000 for a couple of weeks?

    Still, it would be neat to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  13. And thank you Joni by the way for posting these lovely pictures, I had never seen the house redone and had wondered what it now looked like.

    ReplyDelete
  14. After seeing the movie, I can't imagine that the house would have ever returned to a normalcy without tearing it down and rebuilding. They have done an amazing job here.
    Bottom line, it is very charming. $135,000; No. I would love to see it though.
    Thank you for sharing, Joni. After seeing the movie a while back, I am so happy to see the improvement.
    Teresa
    xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  15. how many bloggers would it take to rent this home?!

    i would want to lay in the guest bedroom and watch the documentary again, then the drew barrymore film.

    disappointingly outdated decor, amazing story. thanks for this update. and what is it about this home and this story, i too am drawn in
    debra

    ReplyDelete
  16. I would love to see an episode of Million Dollar Decorators taking on Grey Gardens. Can you imagine what Kathryn Ireland or Martyn Lawrence Bullard could do with a house like this? Wouldn't it be fun just to hear those two discuss the ghastly state of disrepair that the house was once in. An appearance by Jaqueline would be the perfect addition to the episode.

    ReplyDelete
  17. clearly this grey gardens as a rental is a money maker. clearly the kitchen has seen many a catered affair.the gardens are kept manicured by a cadre of clippers? the design is what was the fashion of the day when access to the hamptons was of a nature not known to many. for a sense of what is --read the east hampton star on line

    ReplyDelete
  18. What an extraordinary house and even more extraordinary photos. I love the one of Edie Sr in bed. Wonderful that this house has been preserved and restored.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Joni,
    What a story! It so amazing that I learn so much by your posts!! I am really interested in this story!!
    I am going over to take a look at Grey Gardens and the collections right now.
    Have a wonderful week Joni!
    xx
    Greet

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are a amazing (should I still be surprised by this?!) What a great post-- I am fascinated by this beautiful home, too (but I have to say, I'm totally and completely over chintz-- now and forevermore.)

    ReplyDelete
  21. by luck, i caught the maysles film last evening on tv. i haven't seen 'the edies' in over a year and actually felt like i was seeing old friends! doubling my happiness was to see that you bumped into our edie's too! joni, i think the house is more than the chintz and wicker...it transcends any redo...at the end of the day it's a tribute to those kooky, lovable albeit tragic women. as i write 'tragic', i am arguing with myself. they were tragic by all standards of decent living, but yet i am compelled by their story, and never feel sad for them. as i watched for the hundreth time last night, i watched little edie swim with ease and grace in the ocean. glad she had a good soaking and also laughed at her awesome athleticism at 55! oh, i could go on....thank you for honoring them.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Joni: I think the articles you've written on Grey Gardens are very interesting, and for someone like myself, who has not researched this story or seen the documentary, it is compelling. I love history and am fascinated by the elusive and eccentric. I don't think every post has to be about the perfect decor....sometimes the story and people are intriguing enough to tie it into a blog on decorating, which you've done so well. And to anyone who finds the story "over-told", I guess the aspect to focus more intently upon could be the extreme transformation in their lives, not just their fame and the historical home, although it certainly makes it more interesting. When I first moved into the house we're in now, the very same situation was developing in the house in front of me. The neighbors were very old, and she was in the last stages of MS. He was jaded with life in general. They had not been upstairs for over 10 years. Squirrels and masses of bees were living upstairs. Once they both died, the children were faced with emptying the house and selling it...as is! What an undertaking it was to restore for the new owners. I guess my point is that it happens to even the ordinary, as well. And while it's intriguing to read about it among the rich and famous, I'm more curious as to HOW anyone, famous or not, metamorphose into this existence.

    ReplyDelete
  23. There's something quite wonderful that the house has not been decorated and tarted up within an inch of its' life.We had the very same rush mats from the oriental junk store and the same chintz at our summer house.It's a wasp mentality of furnishing once and than leave it be.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm fascinated about this post, Joni.

    I wish I could hug and thank you for taking the time to do posts like this one for all of us. It's a gift you share with us and I feel thankful for that, for your time, for your effort. I just want you to know that you're appreciated for all of that.

    Have a blessed week!

    xo

    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'd love to know the particulars of that floral chintz. I am looking for a classic, untrendy fabric to make bed coronets in my daughter's room.
    Personally, I hate that disfunctional kitchen and the bedrooms are creepy but the sunroom is divine.
    The Maysles film reminded me of my sister-in-law, hehehe.

    ReplyDelete
  26. WOW Joni! another reason why I LOVE reading your blog. You take such great effort to bring not only the history to us but the entire essence of the story comes to life when you write. Thank you for all your hard work researching things and bringing these stories and pictures for others to see. Im headed over now to read your original post.

    ReplyDelete
  27. This is such an interesting post. I love all the before and after photos. I loved the movie and the history of little Edie.

    ~Emily
    The French Hutch

    ReplyDelete
  28. What a wonderful and insightful tour you've taken us on. Thank you, as I won't be renting this property any time soon {or ever} to provide myself with a self-guided adventure. The story and history of this home and its family is intriguing to say the least.

    If only walls could really talk!

    Jo

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hi J-This is so interesting. Grand Post! xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. What an AMAZING post! I really, really loved this one
    Stacy

    ReplyDelete
  31. I wonder what the rent was for the 5 years Celerie is leasing if two weeks is $135,000 - Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your original post on Grey Gardens was fascinating! It is the post that really got me "hooked" on your blog. Thanks for sharing this follow-up.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi Joni - the research you do is amazing. What a sad story of those two mentally ill women.

    I wanted to make sure you saw my blog http://beachcountry.blogspot.com/ since :) Linda

    ReplyDelete
  34. You've put an amazing amount of effort and time into these posts and it shows. I don't know how you do it?? But I'm so happy that you do!
    You've had me fasinated from the start!
    No the decor isn't "amazing" and the house isn't the most lavish either...but who cares! I't's a wonderful Cinderella story!! And I can never resist those! *winks* Vanna

    ReplyDelete
  35. I am truly fascinated! I hate to admit I have not heard anything about any of this! I can assure you that it will now become an obsession of sorts! I will definitely watch the movie and I am definitely going back to your original blog post! You have done an amazing job and I loved seeing this entire post! Anything with the Kennedy's is always fascinating to me! So glad I ran across this post,
    Carolyn

    ReplyDelete
  36. WOW!! What a beautiful house...I read your 2009 post as well. I felt like I was transported through the years as you described this beautiful house. How wonderful that you are so taken with an old house and shared it with us. Grey Gardens is before my time but I am fasinated by its history. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful piece of history!
    Blessings My Friend,

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this post and for your former entry on this same topic. Like you, I cannot explain my love for Grey Gardens, but I respect the history and am fascinated by the two quirky Edies. All the best!! ~LWW

    ReplyDelete
  38. MESMERIZING. Totally. Thank you for the followup on top of a great original blog post.

    Like a trainwreck, I couldn't take my eyes off the Edies...the movie is stomach-churning. The shot of Little Edie, posing coquettishly with lacy stockings and her ever-present headwrap amidst utter squalor, says it ALL. These two were mentally ill...every psychiatrist should watch the documentary. Denial, co-dependency, and a weird ability to float above the mess they made.

    I think the riches-to-rags element plays here since the FASCINATION of Jackie Kennedy is part of this sad situation. It's a bit like how we couldn't get enough of Lady Diana's life details...Poor Little Rich Girls are always interesting.

    Personally, I think the granddaughter is trading on her ancestors' mental illness and it feels...unseemly, or something. And yes, they really DID have elegant things and lots of money, but (as somebody once said) Hitler liked art. I mean, making money on the hydrangea designs is MORE denial and overlooking the tragedy of their illness.

    UGH.

    And thank you. I'll read anything you write on them!

    ReplyDelete
  39. I enjoyed reading this post from a historical aspect. The bones of the house, the gardens, and pool are quite beautiful. I, also, like the proximity to the ocean. If I were to actually live there, however, I'd want to do quite a bit (like a whole lot)of updating as the current style of decor is not mine.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I think it is such an interesting story! And even if the decor is not your favorite, you cannot deny how incedible the house is. I can't stop looking at that pool!
    www.betweentheboxwoods.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. Joni-
    I'm so glad you posted this! I was just in the Hamptons last week, and we drove right by Grey Gardens. Funny enough, I didn't recognize it at the time...I saw it and thought, "I know that house from somewhere..." We were driving around showing my parents where Martha Stewart's house is (just down Lily Pond Lane) and Ina Garten's. I just can't believe the story of the two Edies. It's fascinating. I've never seen the movies, but I just put them on my Netflix queue! Thanks for your in depth posts...you really dig deep and give us all the details!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I loved this post! I'm obsessed with old houses in general, and I've seen too many end up being neglected and eventually destroyed. Any time an old house is restored and made beautiful again, it's like a fairytale for me.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Joni, you have done your research and as always your blog is extraordinary. I like shingle style homes (I live in one myself)and the interior is just my style. BUT I could never live in this particular house. The Grey Garden story is so creepy. I think the vibration of those sisters must somehow remain in the house. I don't think those sisters were eccentrics at all--why doesn't anyone see the mental heath issues in living there. And yeah the tuna cans. Sorry but this is just how I feel.

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is story is so interesting. I had never heard of Grey Gardens and knew nothing about it so I was completely engrossed in your post. I plan on reading your longer story, too. It's so hard to imagine living in such squalor in such a regal home at the same time. Amazing. I did really love seeing it restored. Much information to explore. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  45. I thoroughly enjoyed this! Thank you.

    I, too, have been intrigued by Grey Gardens since I was a young woman, fascinated with Jackie Kennedy, and read about the two Edies. I've seen the Mayles' film and I really found the movie with Drew Barrymore to be interesting.

    Thank you for bringing the house to light in your posts. It is so interesting to see the pictures of the squalor and then to see the renovation. Fascinating. I find Grey Gardens to be enchanting, though I doubt that I would ever want to sleep there - too creepy for me, no matter how much renovation went on.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks for the wonderful post. Loved every moment.

    ReplyDelete
  47. oh gosh the Vogue article regarding private screening of HBO Grey Gardens

    ReplyDelete
  48. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you always find the most interesting things to blog about but this one pretty much tops them all. I understand your intrigue with the original grey house there’s a house somewhat like it around here that seems so mysterious to me only nobody is living in the decrepit house. We have a lot of abandoned stone foundations in our woods where houses once stood and I’m always fascinated by what the houses must have looked like…small by the foundations. Thank you for one of the most interesting blog posts I’ve read, keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Your blog is always such an education! I really appreciate the meticulous research and depth you go into on such an eclectic mix of decor related topics. I am sorry Cottage child couldn't show more appreciation for your wide-ranging interests. Not every house you show is my cup of tea, but it is always a treat to discover new things just for the joy of it!

    ReplyDelete
  50. Fact stranger than fiction, and Grey Gardens is certainly intriguing, no matter the current decor (which is secondary; history is primary). As a kid, I took piano lessons at my teacher's house--she was very kind, talented, but a terrible housekeeper--and her husband was the worst offender. Their house was akin to Grey Gardens; trash piled in the fireplace, dirt on top of dirt, junk cars in the driveway. It was horrid. When her husband passed, he had an acre of accumulated stuff, including a large storage unit filled literally to the roof. The strange irony was, my piano teacher's daughter was drop-dead gorgeous, a cheerleader, and totally unaffected by living in this dirty house. I eventually got to have my teacher visit our house instead, as I couldn't ignore the mess any longer! Great comments here...they sparked nerves, some of them...thanks for this post, Joni. You rock, Lady!

    ReplyDelete
  51. I read an interview with Sally Quinn once about the restoration of Grey Gardens. She said that the first summer they used the house they were going to spend the month of August there. It had rained a lot that season and when she arrived all she could smell in the house was the odor of cat urine. Apparently despite the fact that the floors had been refinished, the humidity caused the odor to come back into the surface of the wood.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Really interesting post. I'm British and the kennedy family isn't 'our' history but what an interesting family they were. Their tentacles spread everywhere even to Chatsworth Derbyshire UK wher Kathleen 'Kick' Kennedy became a member of the Devonshire family and is buried in the graveyard.
    The world is made interesting by these kooky individuals.
    ZoeB

    ReplyDelete
  53. I was a preteen the first time I had heard of the Beales which was when I picked up The National Enquirer. I was fascinated mainly because these people were once wealthy and related to Jackie O. When I was older and read more about Grey Gardens what fascinated me was the fact that little Edie was so much more beautiful in her youth then Jackie could every hope to be. The Beautiful Body Beale someone had descibed her. So true. The house isn't that interesting it is the history and the story of it's and it's owners trip into decay that fascinates me still.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Now study the book cover of that rare book, she is holding a leash of a dog on the lead. The shadow, the foreboding shadow it is the shadow of the photographer? or is it her mother or is that big edie in the photo in the first place any way it is so symbolic kind of

    ReplyDelete
  55. First off, I lived in Sag Harbor New York and had a shop in East Hampton New York. My shop was down the street from this home. The story is true and might have been a little blessed, but it was all documented for a TV special, with real camera men and the the real ladies. Not made up. This house was and is a summer home. It is the typical beach house of the Hamptons. It was a true mansion of it's day. I love the decor, as it reflects that period of time and the decor is right from the documentary. If you have not been to the Hamptons, or see these homes in Magazines, you my not understand it. They all work very hard to make there homes comfortable, yet not be to lavish, as they are week end homes. Every body has a home there. Ralph L., Julie Andrews, Martha Steward, Christie Brinkly, on and on. No matter how much money they have, how big the house is, they want it, to be that relaxed, comfortable, beach feeling. The stip[ed wallpaper was what was there when the ladies lived there. Of course they had it reproduced and left it. It was the height of Summer House fashion of it's day. Love the wicker chairs and yeas the gardens are wonderful. Take a trip some time and visit the Hamptons, even if it is only in a magazine. It is where the Rich, Summer.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Joni, Thank you for posting such intersting articles about Grey Gardens. I have been a HUGE Grey Garden fan for years - way before it became mainstream. I am absolutely facinated by the Beale's - I will admit here...I have watched both (the original and the later - not the HBO movie although it was well done)) documentaries countless times and I always see something new. I find Little Edie and Big Edie very likable...in an odd way. I don't find them to be "sad". I think they would of enjoyed seeing Grey Gardens looking so beautiful now. As a homage to Little Edie - I actually dressed up like her for Halloween a few years ago and put the sign on my door - "In the tub" - my friends had a great laugh!

    ReplyDelete
  57. Oh, I do want to add -you can rent both documentaries on Netflix - the orginal is "Grey Gardens" and the other one is "The Beales of Grey Gardens"- both by the Maysles - the second one came out much later, with all the extra footage the Maysles had shot - it is as good as the first!

    ReplyDelete
  58. Wonderful post! You can find some amazing information on the Beales and Grey Gardens, including rare photos and scarce memorabilia at Grey Gardens Online.

    The website address is: http://www.greygardensonline.com/

    And the companion Facebook page has lots of additional information: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Grey-Gardens-Online/129498377137195

    Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  59. Their story is absolutely fascinating. I saw the documentary last year and then the movie more recently.

    I read your post with even more interest as I just devour any details I come across trying to unravel the mystery of their lives.

    Just fascinating - thank you so much for all of your research!

    Trina

    ReplyDelete
  60. http://greygardensnews.blogspot.com/2011/11/huge-set-of-photos-of-grey-gardens.html#more

    The latest photo's of Grey Gardens, bathrooms and more.....

    Thanks for your wonderfull information, you are trully special!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hi Joni, Bar none your blog is the best out there in design blog land. I*Love*It. I cannot believe I get to read this every week for free and would honestly consider paying a subscription to read it. The amazing amount of time and effort you put into your posts shows that you truly love what you do and we readers are so lucky to be a part of it. No other design blogger that I have run across can compare. Gratefully, Summer

    ReplyDelete
  62. louis vuitton uk are diversified in various kinds, handbags, backpacks, portable bags, purses, wallets and pouches. All kinds are popular among the whole word people.louis vuitton Store Online Handbags can also bring great accuracy as well as practical applicability and fashionable.Have you ever dreamed of being as charming as Madonna? Have you ever thought of becoming an envy of all your friends? If so, come to louis vuitton outlet.

    ReplyDelete
  63. At the coach outlet online you have the largest selection of the day. If you touch the item and like it, keep it in your possession until you make your final decision.The coach factory outlet has been in business for many years. You can log in to find more information about its products and services.You know, Coach items are so perfect and fascinating. Now I grow up, and find coach outlet on the Internet offering affordable products with reliable quality.

    ReplyDelete
  64. There certainly are a amount of methods to acquire affordable coach products at coach factory outlet,it could possibly the most effective options.the most vital cause may be the reality that you simply can purchase genuine coach products at there.All people give the good comments for the coach factory online, and now the Coach outlet store provides many discount goods online.Coach bags enjoy high popularity throughout the world. I would like to share the coach factory outlet online with you. What are you waiting for? Just come to visit.

    ReplyDelete
  65. There certainly are a amount of methods to acquire affordable coach products at coach factory outlet,it could possibly the most effective options.the most vital cause may be the reality that you simply can purchase genuine coach products at there.It is believed that you will like the products on the coach factory online. There are spacious sizes and different colors, styles and so on.in the market you definitely can find various colorways that are designed in as well as the high quality that applied in. For most of you would like to come. So just come to our coach factory outlet online store to choose one.

    ReplyDelete
  66. The coach bags are utilized for formal event in company area that will display your excellent taste.Not only does a briefcase make is easier to carry things.coach outlet store online with fashion style and top quality succeed. In any occasions they are very suitable and appropriate for its precise and rich design.Coach Poppy Signature Carryall Handbag purchased from the coach outlet store is an ideal bag for every occasion. It's a lovely hot pink bag with a comfortable double strap that can be handheld.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Historic looking photos are great.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Agree with cottage child and kmc'c comments.
    The gardens are definitely the best thing about the house to me.
    And from anonymous about Sally Quinn saying the cat urine smell came back into the house after the rains despite the floors being refinished? Ugh!
    That's amazing nerve to rent the house for $135,000 for two weeks.

    Even apart from that, an 8 bedroom house in 6,000 square feet sounds horrid! The bedrooms and baths must be TINY, no thank you.

    Hoarders freak me out. i cannot imagine having so little self-respect, or pride in your living space.
    Shame though about Jackie O. fixing it up and all for naught. That just shows you that you can't help some people, and it really isn't worth trying in some cases.

    ReplyDelete