COTE DE TEXAS: The Newly Renovated Grey Gardens. Who REALLY Decorated It?????

The Newly Renovated Grey Gardens. Who REALLY Decorated It?????


  Here, in an ad for Grey Gardens, Little Edie stands in her mink coat among the decay.


Fourteen years ago I wrote one of my first ever - in depth, deep dive, long stories – about Grey Gardens.  At that time, my blog stories were considerably shorter and mostly about interior design trends and decorators.

A few years later I updated the Grey Gardens story when some new rental photos of the house came out.  I never thought I would EVER write about Grey Gardens again, but….

Last month Veranda showed the house totally, and I mean, totally updated for its new owner, the fashion designer Liz Lange. The decorators?  

 Mark Sikes and Jonathan Adler.

And this is the basis of this story.  Who really designed what?  It's very unusual to have two top rated designers get credit on one redo.  I was fascinated and after talking around, it seemed like a few of us were wondering the same thing: Who decorated Grey Gardens?  

This was a fun one.  A true Interior Design detective story and I pray you will find it as interesting as I did.


Built in East Hampton around 125 years ago,   only a few owners have called Grey Gardens home.  When it was built, it was a beautiful shingled, Arts & Crafts inspired beach house and it remains so today – minus those few faded decades during the Beales decline.

I want to show the interiors today versus then.   And I want to show the gardens, then and now because the new owner has made extensive alterations both inside and out.

You can read my original story for more of the background gossip, of which there is an amazing amount.  And fascinating. HERE

The house is located in East Hampton, on Georgica Beach, between Lily Pond and Georgica Cove.  It’s not on the beach, but it’s just a small stroll from it.  Today, there isn’t much finer a location to have a beach house in the Hamptons.

Here is a quick bit of updated background:

The original house was designed in 1897 for F.S. Philipps and his wife.   Grey Gardens stands on a prominent corner.   Notice at the right, back, you can see the carriage house which is no longer a part of the property.   The original carriage house was  just recently sold HERE if you are interested in seeing its interiors.

Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe was the architect of Green Gardens.

Notice on the photo above, between the two large gables, there is an open air balcony which will later be enclosed and called the Eye of the House.   Also, the front porch wraps around to the right side of the house.  Soon, this right side of the house will be enlarged and enclosed with diamond shaped glass windows which will become an iconic architectural feature of the house.  This former porch on the right side of the house became forever known as the Solarium and its windows looked out on what would be known as the Walled Garden.

When first built, there was no front curved driveway, nor is there any real landscaping and no trees – YET.  Cars were just being introduced to the public and probably the owners arrived by carriage.  

Grey Garden Homeowners, In Order:

1)  The F.S. Phillips

In 1897, the architect Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe was commissioned by Fleming Stanhope Phillips to build the Grey Gardens estate on 4 1/2 acres, (today the estate is just under 2 acres without the Carriage House.)

In 1902, FS Phillips died.  After contesting the will against her brother-in-law,  Phillips’ widow finished the house and moved in.

2)  Robert C. Hill and his wife Anna Gilman Hill

The Hills became the second owners of Grey Gardens from 1913 to 1924.  Anna created the original gardens, including the Spanish concrete walled garden that remains the highlight of its gardens today.

Anna Gilman Hill (1875–1955) imported ornate concrete walls from Spain to enclose Grey Gardens landscaped area off the solarium.  She hired landscape designer Ruth Bramley to design what would become the core of the gardens.

3)  The Beales

The socially prominent and moderately wealthy Beale family brought all the fame and notoriety to Grey Gardens. 

Big Edie aka Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale had a brother, Black Jack, aka John Vernou Bouvier III.  Black Jack's two daughters would later become famously known as Jacqueline Onassis and Lee Radziwill.  This connection made Big Edie their aunt and brought all the later publicity to Grey Gardens, wanted or not.

In 1917, Phelan Beale married 14 years younger Edith Ewing Bouvier in St Patrick’s Cathedral, NYC, in front of 2500 guests. 500 later came for the reception at the St. Regis.  The other 2000 guests went home hungry and thirsty.

After the wedding, the family lived in this fashionable New York City condo.

Big Edie’s husband, attorney Phelan, bought Grey Gardens in 1923. Apparently, Mr. Beale was unhappy and they separated a few years later, after having three children, Little Edie and two sons.

The Beales in happier times at East Hampton. Mr. Beale has his trusty hunting rifle at his side, he later owned a nearby gun club.  It is so odd to see all the Beales together as a happy family!

According to the 1930 census, a housekeeper was then living at Grey Gardens.  One housekeeper, all those rooms, all those children.  It was a recipe for disaster.

Here, Little Edie stands on the newly installed driveway in front of the car Phelan bought for Big Edie, hiring her a driver too.

According the reports in the newspapers, in 1936, the beautiful Little Edie was presented to society by her parents at the Pierre Hotel, surrounded by masses of floral arrangements.  All totally normal.

The couple remained married but separated for many years until 1946 when Phelan telegrammed Big Edie from Mexico finally announcing their divorce.  She would get $300 a month ($4000 in today’s money.)

Adding to her money woes, Big Edie’s father, Major Bouvier, cut her out of his will after she showed up at Phelan Jr’s wedding dressed like a flamboyant opera singer totally embarrassing the family.   She eventually received a small trust fund, but dealing with the loss of Phelan’s money and her father’s trust, along with the stock market downturn, there was not much left to live on.

Interestingly, Phelan Beale was actually a southerner from Alabama; he graduated from the University of the South.  After the divorce, he remarried a much younger woman.  In 1956, Phelan Beales died in Pass Christian, Alabama where he and his second wife lived.

A great sportsman, Phelan owned the Grey Goose Gun Club in the Hamptons and eventually bought this historic lighthouse that adjoined his gun club.

While originally the Beales were a socially prominent family,  the appearance began to disappear.   With no extra funds coming in to keep the house up, Big Edie let it begin to deteriorate.  The two Edies’ mental status seemed to match the house’s decline.  Big Edie’s youngest son Buddy Beale wrote to his mother in the 1960s, begging her to sell Grey Gardens for $65,000 and move on to Palm Beach.  Big Edie refused to leave her house.

Little Edie and her father Phelan Beale - the facade of a socially prominent family.

Without a doubt, had Jackie and Lee not been related to the Beales, Grey Gardens would have been torn down in 1971 when it was condemned, cited for violating every known housing code.  There were no working toilets, among other things. The Beales sad story made national news.  Their two cousins, Jackie and Ari Onassis and Lee, helped with the cleanup, at a cost of $30,000.  

Attracted by the news articles and spurred on by their friend Lee,  in 1975 the Maysles brothers made the documentary that insured the story of Grey Gardens would live on forever.

Big Edie died in 1977 and two years later Little Edie sold the house to Sally Quinn.  The sale included all the furniture, which Sally would fumigate, restore and use.

Little Edie, at last free from her mother, happily moved around for a few years and settled in Florida, where she swam in the Atlantic Ocean everyday and died in 2002.

4) Sally Quinn & Benjamin Bradlee

Sally came to see the house and fell madly in love with it.  Little Edie trusted her to take care of Grey Gardens.  Sally used her money earned from writing a book to buy the house after Ben told her she was crazy to want to own it. He was allergic to cats.

Sally then spent a small fortune renovating the house that Little Edie claimed needed only a fresh coat of paint.

Towards the later years, the Bradlees would use the house for only a month in the summer.  It was rented out in the other months.  Some of the more well known renters were:

Renters:   Frances Hayward, Tori Burch, Liz Lange

Sally’s best friend and neighbor, Nora Ephron, died and later Ben also passed away in 2014.  Sally said only then was she was ready to sell after all these years.  The buyer?  One of her former renters, Liz Lange who in 2017, paid $15.5 million to buy Grey Gardens, according to press reports.

5) Liz Lange

After having spent a summer renting Grey Gardens, Liz purchased it from Sally Quinn.

Liz Lange grew up summering in the Hamptons in a very modern home.  She was the niece of Saul Steinberg shown here with wife Gayfryd, both of whom were media stars of the 80s.

Liz has a wonderful dress line, Figue, HERE.

While renting the house in 2015, Liz was asked about buying Grey Gardens,  “If I had $20 million, and another $10 million to restore it, I would kill to own it.”


Once the papers were signed, Liz embarked on a grand renovation, raising the house to build a full size basement where only crawlspace was before.  The now 4000 sq ft basement allowed for all the new mechanicals to be installed along with a wine room, exercise room, and recreation room.  Also,  radiant heat floors were added to the bathrooms, kitchen, sun room, and master bedroom. The house now has 33 rooms, with seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, and two half-bathrooms.

Today, the facade looks recognizable, but there are quite a number of changes, some subtle, some obvious.


1905 – The house as it was first photographed, no driveway, no landscaping.   The front porch wraps round to the right side of the house, open to the elements.  Later, the Hills would extend this out to create the Solarium with diamond paned windows which would become an iconic architectural feature of the house.

1914:   Now, covered in ivy.  The house underwent a large landscaping installation, designed by the owner Anna Gilman Hill and Ruth Bramley.   Notice the open balcony above the front porch.  This room would later be enclosed with windows and called The Eye Of The House.

1930s  The room - The Eye of the House - named by Little Edie is seen now enclosed above the front porch.  Phelan Beale bought the car for Big Edie.  It came with a driver.

1914:    The Solarium was now extended and enclosed with the diamond shaped panes, this will become a popular sitting room.

1970s – By now the house was condemned - given every citation possible.  Lee Radziwill and Jackie and Ari Onassis helped to clean it all up.  You can see the car at the right – the keys were still in it.

Later 1970s.  All cleaned up, but it wouldn’t last for long.  Notice the slight curvature of the posts holding up the porch roof.  This curvature would become quite a bone of contention lasting until 2022.

1985:  Sally Quinn shows off the restored Grey Gardens and the change was remarkable.    Notice the Eye of the House is no longer enclosed – nor is the Solarium.  It would be years later before the diamond panes were bought and reinstalled.

This great tree would later grow so large, wide, and low, it would need to be braced to drive under it.

2015: Liz Lange and Quintessence walking under the now braced tree.  Later Liz would hide the brace under foliage and move the driveway behind the brace.

2016.  Real Estate Photos:  With light aqua trim, the house never looked so pretty before!  Look closely at the posts on the porch – attached at a square angle to the porch roof.  Architectural fanatics decried this change by Sally, but I’m guessing she found it less expensive to build the porch back this way instead of the softly curved posts.

2022 Today:  Liz Lange buys Grey Garden and spends a few years renovating the house from top to bottom.  Striped awnings were added and the shutters were returned long after they had been abandoned by Sally.  The trim is now a much deeper shade – almost a teal or turquoise.  And at the dining room, there are shades, squared off, inside the home.

Beautiful Veranda photos by Pascal Chevalier.

NOTE:  Many of the Veranda photographs came from the Veranda website, as opposed to the magazine.

After years of discussion about Sally Quinn making the porch columns squared off  – Lange has finally restored the subtle curvature of the posts as they were originally designed by Joseph Greenleaf Thorpe.

2022:  Another view.  Notice at the dining room on the left – there is a striped awning covering a side terrace.  This is a new addition.

2022:  The atmosphere at the newly renovated Grey Gardens seems almost like a private beach hotel in Palm Beach, with its matching blue Moke and line of bicycles.  You can see the Solarium here.

2022:  Now, at all the entrances are wooden gates with the iconic Grey Gardens diamond pane motif.  Also, are those cattle guards???  Why???  They must have a different purpose that keeping cattle inside the gates!!

2022:  The entrance driveway was rerouted so that cars are now directed in front of the leaning tree instead of under it.  Ivy hides the structure that keeps the massive ancient branch upright.


1930s  From the Beales years, you can see the driveway they installed which leads back to the carriage house.  And you can see at the right – the walled garden with the thatched roof hut in the corner.  It looks like the famous Beale automobile is at the front porch.  Also notice at the right drive are two stone gate posts.

1970s.  Those stone gate posts were left to fall over like old forgotten gravestones.  A chain keeps out visitors.  As if!

1970s.  Total destruction.  The driveway is almost completely gone and so is the lawn, now it is just overgrown with weeds.    Notice the carriage house is cut off from access to the big house as it is now separate property no longer owned by the Beales.

2010: After the Sally Quinn renovation.  You can see the newly installed swimming pool and the tennis court behind it.  To the right of the house you can clearly make out the walled garden.

2022.  All the changes Liz made:

1.  The new driveway which goes in front of the leaning tree, not under it.

2.  The leaning tree which sits behind the new driveway.

3.  At the left of the house, with the kitchen and dining room overlooking it – is the new white Indian Garden.

4.  The Walled Garden, completely replanted with new brick pathways.  At the middle sits a new water fountain.

5.  The new swimming pool – now round, modeled after producer Robert Evans famous round pool.

6.  The pool house sits between the pool and the tennis course.

7.  The new grass tennis courts replaced the old court that Ben Bradlee installed.  There is also a new garage with a trellis backboard facing the tennis court.


2010:  The right side view shows the walled garden and the thatched roofed hut.  Behind the house next to the swimming pool is the hidden kitchen garden.



1. Shows the new driveway and the two gates that block entrance.

2.  Added back on the second floor is the balcony which Sally had removed.

3.  Along the backside of the house, the patio is now covered by a pergola, something the Bradlees fought against, thinking the pergola and the balcony above would make the living room too dark.

4.  The new pool house and swimming pool along with the grass tennis court.

5.  The walled garden.


2010:  The left side of Grey Gardens was always left plain.  You can see into the kitchen garden – surrounded by walls of privets.

2022:  The left side is totally changed.

1.  Off the dining room is a striped awning covering a porch.

2.  The white Indian Garden was created on the plain lawn.  At its left is the long walkway lined with linden trees that leads from the Indian garden to the garage courtyard with the newly built garage.

3.  Behind the kitchen and breakfast room is now a kitchen vegetable garden.


Originally the chimneys were removed and the porch was taken off along with the solarium extension.

The house is raised to create a new full height basement.  The exterior of the Solarium is gone and you can see straight through the side porch – which was once the glassed in Solarium.

The back of Grey Gardens – raised to build the basement.  As you can see, the one story extension – guest room – was removed all together, to be rebuilt.

   A side view shows the solarium windows and doors were removed and are now replaced along with new shingles.



2015:  The front porch in light aqua.  The shingles were new at this time and had not yet darkened.  Notice these chairs with the birds carved on top of the back.

2022:  VERNADA:  New front porch with the Liz Lange deep aqua shutters and blue painted porch floor and ceiling.

Liz Lange in a Figue dress of her own design shown on her porch.  Love the Victorian plant stand. 

To order - See this dress HERE.

2022:  Close up of the new front porch furniture.

Notice the lantern and the patterned fabric on the sofa.


1970s -  painted green. Little Edie sneaks out to grab provisions left for her.  The foyer has the distinctive diamond paned windows along with the benches.

2015:   The trim color is a little washed out in these real estate photos – it was more light aqua.  Here the front door is seen, a Dutch Door.

2022:   And the front porch today, with the restored deep navy Dutch door.  So pretty!

2022:  Veranda:  Turquoise shutters, striped awnings, straight shades at the dining room, dark navy front door.

But, looking back at older photos – things were very different which brought up questions.


2019:  Another view of the house which is a bit of a mystery – white shutters, light blue front door, no striped awnings, and notice the dining room window – with ruffled shades in the window, as opposed to the straight edge shade shown in the Veranda photo.  It also looks like there are Louis XVI chairs around the dining room table.

On the front porch - there is a different fabric on the sofa, lamps with fabric shades,  blue and white Oriental tables, a Mark Sikes trademark, and different lanterns.

Question: why would you paint a house with white shutters, no awnings, only to repaint and add awnings a few years later?

The two front porch decor seen in photos changed from 2017 and 2022.  

2019:   Another earlier view of the different front porch and dining room decor.  Also, the tree before the brace was hidden.

2019:  Another view before all the decor changes of 2022 were made.

This early Lange renovation view shows the light blue door and the dining room ruffled window treatments, the white shutters, no awnings.

It just didn’t really all add up.

And this is where the mystery begins.

Originally, many years ago, after the house was first purchased by Liz Lange, internet sleuths had found clues on Instagram that Mark Sikes was hired to decorate Grey Gardens.  As was expected, this was the most exciting news!  Mark Sikes was perhaps born to decorate Grey Gardens – a lover of blue and white stripes and chintz, he seemed to be the most perfect choice - bar none.  And so the long wait began for confirmation.  Here and there photos would show up on the internet of changes at Grey Gardens and even a few After installation photos slipped out furthering the clues that Mark Sikes had been hired to design the renovated Grey Gardens.

If you were really interested in Grey Gardens and Mark Sikes, in all honesty, there were just a few hints out there, if you were lucky enough to find them.  And some people were lucky and these photos were shared via the internet which only heightened the excitement!!

Mark Sikes got the job!!!!

As it always happens with a newly designed well-known house, Grey Gardens was under embargo, meaning until it was published in a magazine – no official photographs could be shown.   If the designer and/or owner wants the project put in a magazine and a contract is drawn up - all photographs are held until the magazine is released.

So, the long wait began.

Those who love Grey Gardens and love Mark Sikes, we have anxiously waited for YEARS – for these photos of the newly renovated Grey Gardens to be released.

And so, it was with great anticipation that Veranda announced they had landed the official photoshoot of Grey Gardens, showcasing the work of Mark Sikes and Jonathan Adler.


Jonathan Adler?  



Honestly, I can’t really remember another so prominent house newly decorated by two well known beloved designers – and both are showcased in the same exact story.  It was puzzling, to say the least.

Adler, it turns out, is one of Liz’s best friends and has decorated other houses of hers.  It makes one wonder why he didn’t just decorate Grey Gardens from the start?

The two men have very different aesthetics.  Adler is more contemporary, more hip, more inventive.  Sikes is more traditional, more classic, more Granny chic.

Could they meld their styles into one house?  Not that its for us to decide, but it is published in one of the most premier design magazines and it is worth discussing from a design perspective.  If I was teaching a course in design I would spend a few sessions on this house.


The floor plans from the Sally Quinn renovation.  This does not show the Liz Lange renovation unfortunately, but it’s good enough to get an idea of the room placements.

  Let’s go inside now, then we’ll go outside and do a dosey do and try to figure out - Who Really Decorated What???


1975:  The internet is filled with photos of the squalid Beales house but I just hate looking at thea squalor.  Personally, I like things clean and neat and hoarding makes me nervous.   Google if you want to see this room before it was “cleaned.”  But you can see they did try to fix this up with the chairs and the floral arrangement.  Through the curtains is the powder room.

1985: Peter Vitale captured the newly refurbished entry hall for Architectural Digest. The beautiful wallpaper is from Cowtan and Tout. The console table (flip top dining table) and chair are originally from the house – brought there by the Hills! When Little Edie sold the house to the Bradlees, Quinn said Edie could either leave it empty and “broom clean” or leave everything in the house, as it was. Edie chose to leave everything. The attic was filled with untold treasures: papers, letters, photographs, accessories, dinnerware, and furniture. Quinn was besides herself when she discovered the attic loot. She was so excited and overwhelmed, she says she started  smoking again. The Bradlees furnished the house almost entirely from the furniture found in the attic and the small housekeeper’s bedroom off the kitchen. Of course, first everything had to be restored and fumigated.

In the Beales time, these newel posts were painted – but Quinn stained them dark to match the floors. The sconces appear to be the original ones shown before.

2015:  The chair was recovered in Bowood, as was the powder room under the stairs. I absolutely love the foyer, just as it was.  Perfection!

2000s.  Sally always had a collection of original Grey Gardens photographs on the table, along with hydrangeas from the gardens.  Hats in an antique spatterware bowl and a drawing of Grey Gardens on the wall finish off her styling.

2022:  Ready for a complete change?

Leafing through the Veranda article, not really reading it – just looking at the photos, my jaw dropped.  Mark Sikes designed this?  It just didn’t ‘look’ like his work.  It was nothing like I imagined.  So, I started reading the copy and found that Jonathan Adler had decorated this room.

I have no idea who specified the black and white painted wood floors – but I do love those.  I also like the skirted table and pagoda.

Schumacher leopard print lined the entry and landing walls.

I found a parcel of photos from Figue ads and media web sites like TicTok and Instagram.  Here, the skirted table with large pagoda.

Liz Lange on the stair runner.

Honesty time – not a huge fan of the lamp and shade and chest,  but that’s just me.

Adler said he wanted to create a statement look in the foyer.  And he did.  But, I’m curious,  exactly who did what?  Did Mark do anything in the foyer??

Similar dress


This is an interesting shot – to the left is the dining room, seen through portières – just as the Beales had – portieres at both entrances!

I love the curtains at the entrance.  Was that Adler or Sikes?

Most likely this is the powder room off the foyer.

I’d love to see more of this room, it looks wonderful.

Get her shirt HERE.


1930s – Beales.   A rare photo of the living room before the decay came.  This is the view towards the backyard.  Those curtains remained until Sally Quinn removed them!   She took a remnant from the original curtains to a fabric house and had it replicated as best could be done.

Large area rug.  Bookcases held books which remained.

1930s  A view from the dining room with its own portière through to the entry and then into the living room with another pair of portières.    Notice the table in the foyer – it’s the same one used in the foyer during the Bradlee years!!  What beautiful table linens.  Sally kept those sconces.

And notice, it looks like the crown molding is painted with a dark line just like Sally did with her painted green line.

It’s so hard to believe how badly this all ended for the Beales.  Why?????

1970s  The decay years.  The piano could not be reused, it literally fell apart when Sally played a few keys.  The bookcases were copied by Sally, just heightened.

1985.  The Grey Gardens I will always love!!  I love this color scheme  – pink and green.  The twin chaises were in the attic as were all the wicker chairs and tables and many of the lamps.

2000s.  Sally filled the bookcases with books that the Beales owned.

Come and relax.  Just lovely!!!

It's hard to realize this Grey Gardens is gone forever!!

2015:   And the view of the windows off the front porch.

A rare night view.  I want to stay here!!!

2015 Real estate photos.  Not much changed through the years – just the plants got bigger.

LOVE!!  I had never noticed that rug under the coffee table before.  Love the old boom box.

Are you ready for the 2022 version?


2022:   The new living room is now completely different.  The area between the living room and the Solarium was changed a bit, allowing this sofa to rest on a wall that was not there before.  Perhaps a large bar was placed in the Solarium on this wall??   More deep turquoise on the chairs AND the light fixture.  Large elephant table.



This is the view looking towards the back yard.  A brown and aqua roundabout divides the room into two seating areas.  Through the open door is the Solarium.  PLEASE notice the roundabout - for later discussion.

It doesn’t state if Adler or Sikes decorated this room.  I’m not sure how that arrangement actually worked?  Two high profile designers working on the same house is unusual, but Adler and Liz have collaborated on several houses before.

Here you can see that the dark stained wood floor was painted white.  And there is a peek into the solarium.

And here, a model stands in front of the closed curtains in the same Quadrille fabric as the sofa.

A similar dress HERE.

I have to say - I LOVE Figue!!!!!!

AND the second seating area in the living room – these are the windows that look over the front porch.  Are those faux elephant tusks  - it looks like it?  Brown linen.

I think it’s illegal to buy tusks today.  They may have been passed down, but I’m guessing they are faux ivory tusks.

   And here, you can see the sofa is a Knolle and you can see the lamp base.  Cute!

Let’s talk some more about the drawing room design.

It was after looking at this room and the foyer, that I was a little puzzled, and went to Mark’s instagram where he had published each room from the Veranda photoshoot (ONLY the rooms that were his, I presume) and talked at length about them, given due credit to all the artisans and workshops who made his rooms so special – highlighting all the details you might miss (many that I did miss) and details that weren’t discussed at all in Veranda.

I can’t remember another magazine shoot where Mark republished all the photos and then discussed them - on his Instagram.  If I am wrong I apologize.  It just makes one curious?  And, not every room was published on Mark's Instagram.  Like this living room, that doesn't look like his work, nor the entry hall.

Looking back at the magazine there were quotes in the Veranda Grey Gardens story from almost everyone involved. There was just one small quote from Mark.  Couple that with Mark putting out all his thanks and credits on each photo on his Instagram, why? 

And there was the roundabout and the Quadrille fabric on the sofas.

Sikes has shown this photo of Billy Baldwin's work using the same Quadrille fabric on his Instagram many times:

The sofa fabric is the same and the rug is similar.  Even the lamps in the Veranda photos are similar to ones Mark uses a lot.  So - was the room originally Mark's, but later Jonathan Adler changed it.  For instance, the roundabout.


The roundabout.  This must be Adler's choice of fabric, because I have never seen Sikes use this fabric before, and there is this:

One of the photos found on instagram during the original installation of 2019 showed this roundabout in a typical blue and white stripes Sikes fabric.  AND it was shown in the foyer although no one can find that particular photo now.  Of course.

So, it's obvious the roundabout was painted dark brown and recovered and a skirted table was moved into the foyer instead.

It's just interesting.  I would love to see how the house was going to look before it was changed by the owner who has every right in the world to change her house.  It's just as a HUGE fan of Mark Sikes, I wish I could see how he wanted to decorate Grey Gardens.

That's all.

I wish I could see the foyer with this roundabout as it was initially designed.  



The solarium was once part of the wraparound porch.  The Hills enlarged it, building it outward and enclosing it with diamond paned windows.  The solarium looked out on a direct axis to the walled garden.  Thankfully, we have photos that document the original solarium and walled garden.

1914:  The Hills.  Here, you can see they built an extension from the original covered porch, adding doors that folded back.  Wicker furniture with matting rugs and stone floors.  Paper Oriental light fixture.  How cute and on trend is this?????!!!!

1916:  A view from the outside shows the solarium with an arched gate at the right that leads into the backyard.

1925ish:  The three Beale children on the wicker sofa with the matting covering the floor.  They are sitting in the newly extended portion of the Solarium.

1930ish – Little Edie outside the Solarium.

1980.  When Sally bought the house, the solarium was falling apart – the roof over the extension had fallen apart, allowing the rain to ruin it.  At one point, Sally thought she would just tear it all down,  but she restored it instead.   Look at that old bed in the middle of the sun room!  LOL.  Why????

1985.  When Sally showed the house to Architectural Digest, the Solarium was windowless.  Possibly the windows were ordered and had to be custom made, or, she was waiting to save up for the huge expense of all the diamond paned windows, which also included the Eye Of the House room upstairs.   This photo was taken from inside the pergola.

2015ish.   The same view in the height of summer.   You can barely see the path.

2015:  Inside the Solarium – I was never sure if these were the original tiles that Sally salvaged?  Probably not.  But what a beautiful room!!    I would have decorated it in stripes and chintz.  And wicker.   Woo!  How original.

Notice how the shingles were brought inside.

The roof beam shows you exactly where the original solarium once was and where the Hills extended it from.

2015ish  Sally, before she left.

And 2015, Liz Lange renting the house she would buy a few years later.  You can see here the soft aqua trim color on the door.

2015:   The view towards the walled garden pergola.  In the summer the vegetation gets so dense.  Love!

2022:  The new Grey Gardens.   The path is more organized and less free flowing due to help with borders.  In the middle – a large fountain is new.

2022:  The Solarium.  I believe Sikes decorated this room, solely, although he did not show it on his instagram.   Striped dhurri rug, wicker furniture, antique bird cage and the best thing in here?  The Botanica Trading fabrics at the windows and pillows!  This is the same pattern I just used in my own guest room.  I love it when Mark copies me!!!     But,  please, just don’t let him know that I  know he copied me.


I wish.

Liz Lange on the wicker sofa in the solarium.

Pillows by Botanica Trading.

A promo ad in the solarium.   



  1974ish:   The cleaned up dining room.  Sally used the sconces seen on the wall. 


  2010ish:   The same view with the built in seat. 

2015:  Another view.  Later that built in with the diamond glass would be removed by Lange.


2022:  Who actually decorated this room?   This room is stunning in its use of the Vladimir Kanevsky porcelain flowers.   Mark Sikes discuses this at great length on his Instagram photo of this room.

He describes how he and Liz’s team and Deborah Nevins, who did the landscaping, had specific flowers from the garden recreated by the master Vladimir and how he carefully brought the flowers back to East Hampton, using his own lap for fear of breakage.  Mark also talks about how the custom table was modeled after Babe Paley and the custom Paul Ferrante pendant which reminded me of the pendants commissioned by Renzo for Drue Heinz (my last blog post.)

  On his instagram story about this room, Sikes said that Jonathan Adler came in later and created the “final glamorous layer” – the backdrop of the turquoise silk fabric on the walls and the wainscot of lacquered tortoise.  The chairs were Adlers.  Sikes couldn’t be more gracious when he added “Like my team likes to say ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Remember in the earlier 2019 photo - you can see Louis XVI style chairs in this room along with ruffled shades.  It's obvious this room now looks different than how Sikes designed it, and again, I'd love to see that version too.  Not to say I don't like Adler's version - I do.

Another shot of the curtains that match the style of the awning outside the dining room that Mark said he had designed.  Did Adler redesign these curtains?

One thing I am very curious to know – if Adler came in later and added the silk fabric on the walls, what was there before??

This door is a change – before there was a cabinet here which you can see before in Sally's photos.

But this dress!!!!!  LOVE  HERE.

This publicity photo shows the sconces in the dining room, but no credit known if they are antique or not.  They look it to me.  They are beautiful!

Shirt HERE.

One shot of the back of the dining room –  these cabinets are the original ones, just fauxed painted.  They do have the same structure, drawers and doors, so they are probably painted.

And one final view – showing the curtains with the outdoor awning.  The wonderful pendant and a beautifully set table.

For the dining room, it appears it is truly a collaboration between Mark Sikes and Jonathan Adler.

But still, what was the original room supposed to look like, with the shades and French chairs?


1972ish – Little Edie shows off the butlers pantry.

       2015:   The butler's pantry as it was under Sally Quinn.  She opened up the kitchen to the butler's pantry making it one room.  Liz Lange later separated the two.  At the back you can see into the dining room.

   2022:  TODAY.   An interesting view of the butler's pantry which I love.  Liz Lange has made it a proper pantry.

Notice the ceiling and the lanterns - love.  The chairs are Jonathan's Adlers, from the dining room.

Another view from TikTok  - shows the butler's pantry between the dining room and the kitchen.

Again, who designed this room?  Sikes or Adler?

1972ish:  BEFORE.  The Beales kitchen, after it was cleaned up.

The original kitchen stove which was eventually thrown out by Sally, although another stove was placed here by her.

1985:  As the kitchen was decorated originally by Sally.  The deck is off these French doors and here, is the newly installed fireplace to replace the old stove.  Through the open doorways is the breakfast room.


2015:  The galley kitchen with the opened up butler’s pantry, with a view into the dining room.


2022:  The completely redone kitchen, now separated back from the butler pantry.  Mark Sikes said that a kitchen planner designed this space, while he did the decor - the lighting, the pendant, shade, etc.  Now, notice the floors!!  Painted a blue that on his instagram Mark said is the same color he recently painted the most important room of his career.  Hmmm?  Could that be a room for Jill Biden?????  At the White House???  Thanks for the tip Mark!


2015:   Behind the kitchen is the breakfast room which overlooks the backyard and the deck.  Through a side door on the left, not seen, is the one story maid's room and the hallway to the back door to the hidden kitchen garden.  Through these French doors is the back deck.


  Today!  2022:  The breakfast room is Mark Sikes Grey Garden masterpiece.  An incredible room, with the same blue floor,  it is really special.  The French doors were added to go directly to the back garden - which is now a vegetable garden. 


This view shows the dish cabinet that Mark Sikes designed and had built.  More about that inspiration a bit later.  Notice the carved breakfast table.  Amazing!!

I can't imagine eating breakfast here!  It's stunning!!

A close up of the fabric, Arjumand's World. In his Instagram, Sikes talked about how hard his assistant worked on ordering the fabric and having it perfectly matched from the walls to the curtains.  I can’t imagine how difficult this task was!  Mark’s responsibility was working with the cupboard – ordering the dishes from Europe and making sure they fit perfectly in the cubbies.  What was interesting was how the different details of this room was handled by different people, whom Mark praised effusively.  No mention of Adler in this room.

Through this window is the back yard and now covered deck.

The hutch was made by Mark and he had to order all the dishes to be sure the hutch would fit each piece.  I love this piece and several others have been seen lately, inspired from one another.

The initial inspiration hutch is found at Alvøen Manor, Norway, a private house built in 1797 - and it is absolutely glorious.  This is the first version I could find of this type of dish hutch.  Gorgeous.

Don't you want one??


The entire room shown here.

And a few years ago, Michelle Nussbaumer designed this pantry for her china. Again, amazing.

OK - someone needs to design a chest like this that the public can buy!!

Would you buy one?????

The red arrow points to the breakfast room with its new French doors that lead directly to the new kitchen vegetable garden.  The hall leads out to the door at the right of the house.

A view of the vegetable garden.  Notice that the new breakfast room's French doors have the iconic diamond panes!

2015:  Sally's secret kitchen garden looked like this, taken from the second floor.

2015:   Inside Sally's secret kitchen garden.

2015:  Looking back from the secret garden into the hall that leads into the maid's room and the breakfast room.  Today - this hall, seen below, was redecorated by Mark Sikes and moved by the architects.

2022:  The once plain hall which I think was redirected to the side of the house - now decorated by Mark Sikes.  Darling!

2022: The flower room also by Mark Sikes.  I'm not exactly sure, but I think this is where the once maid's room was by the breakfast room.

2022:  Now, this room was seen and hashtagged Grey Gardens on Figue's Instagram.  I have no clue where this room is in Grey Gardens.   It has the same trim work as seen in other rooms, like the back hall.   Is it in the basement?     I don't know, but I think Mark Sikes had a hand in this design - the striped rug, the wallpaper, etc.  It would be nice to know.


The floor plans again as we head upstairs.


2015:  Above the breakfast room from the spiral staircase was this room, once Ben Bradlee's office.

This room was labeled The Sitting Room on the second floor plans.

During the renovation of 2022 - the spiral stairs in this room were removed and a stairway was added.

2015:  This bathroom connects to the yellow room, but I’m thinking the 2022 renovation removed that connection.

2015:  The landing.  The chest shown was once owned by Little Edie's brother Phelan Jr.  It remains in the house today.  Through the double doors is the master bedroom.

2015ish:  Another view shows the master bedroom.   The French doors lead into an entry in the master bedroom suite.


2022:  This is the room labeled the sitting room on the plans.  And where the back staircase leads up to the third floor.  At the rear is the guest room, seen below:

2022:   The guest room by Mark Sikes.  He described all the details on his instagram.  Bob Christian painted the bed to match the Bennison fabric.  Amazing.  Not sure Adler did much in this room.

In this Figue ad, you can see how Bob Christian painted the door to match the fabric.

One last view of the guest room with the Sikes curtains and Bob Christian's incredible painted trim.

2022:  The landing.   This was decorated by Jonathan Adler.  Mark Sikes provided the sconces.  Is the fabric on the walls from Adler or Sikes?  We will never know.

If you don't care, then you don't care and the mystery doesn't matter to you.  But, if you are like me, just want to know!

The Eye of the House Bedroom:

2015:  The Eye of the House bedroom - with the once open to the elements balcony.  After Sally renovated the house, she left the room open - without the windows - but a few years later, the windows were replaced by her.

This room is called bedroom/sunroom on the floor plan.

2015:  The Eye of the House balcony room.  Notice how the floor had never been changed from being an outdoor balcony.

2022:  From Instagram and TikTok ads - this room is apparently for a younger member of the family.  In 2019, photos of this room showed up on instagram but no one can remember how it was decorated and no one knows if Mark or Adler decorated this room.

Regardless, what a cute design!

Similar dress design:  HERE

2022:  Another view from the Eye of the House room.


Through these French doors on the right is the master suite.  The bedroom and sitting room are both here in separate areas.  On his Instagram, Mark Sikes described this small area behind the French doors as a vestibule, tented in blue and ivory by  @frenchfinish.   I would suppose the fabric was striped.  No photos tho!!!! 

At the very left is the unseen back stairs and the now guest room.

1977:  The master bedroom as Edie decorated it.


1985:  Sally's master bedroom with the fireplace.

2015:  Another view of Sally's master suite with her newly slipcovered chaise and round table.

2015:  The master suite bathroom.


2022:  The master bedroom as seen on the Veranda web site.  But, I can't make this photo fit the floor plan of the master bedroom with the fireplace (which matches Sally's bedroom fireplace exactly.)

Drove me insane trying to find where this photo/room fits in the house today.

So, I flipped the image and, in the REVERSE, it seems to fit the floor plan - look below.  I wonder, did they flip the photo for the magazine website or am I insane?


The flipped photo - it seems the bathroom door was moved to the right side of the fireplace.  This is the only way I can make sense of the master bedroom photo fitting the floor plan.  

Again, this master bedroom is a Mark Sikes design.  Colefax and Fowler fabric.

From TikTok, the master bedroom sofa.

Master Suite Sitting Room:


Across from the entry vestibule in the master bedroom suite is the master bedroom sitting room, originally painted in pink.


  1975:  This is a very interesting room because there was once a balcony here,   but Sally removed it since she and Ben felt it made the living room below too dark.  Later, Liz Lange restored the balcony, along with adding a pergola atop the back deck.  The restored balcony represents yet another part of the original house that Liz Lange reintroduced to Grey Gardens.


1930-1940:  The Beale boys on the balcony outside the pink bedroom.  Notice it is encased in wood with a similar pattern to the molding found in the first floor foyer.

1975s - How the balcony was altered by the Beales after it was damaged somehow, either in a hurricane or rot.

Notice the mounds of ivy crawling up the Solarium below the pink bedroom.  No wonder it almost collapsed under its weight. 

Had the Bradlees not restored the house when they did, it would have been overtaken by nature and would have disappeared under all the foliage.

Late 1970s - a rare photo of the reconstruction undertaken under by Sally Quinn.  To eliminate the cat odor, and strengthen the floors - all the wood had to be removed and reinstalled.  This is the pink bedroom as it was before the Bradlees moved in.

2000s:  Inside the master bedroom suite’s French doors – this vestibule leads to the pink bedroom/sitting room.

2015:  How Sally decorated the pink bedroom.  Later, this sofa was sold during the estate sale, after Sally sold Grey Gardens. 

2015:   The back of the house with the balcony removed by the Bradlees.  Notice the back deck is completely uncovered.

Later, Liz Lange will add a pergola and a balcony to this same area.  This is where the Bradlees did not want the pergola or balcony to keep the living room from being too dark.

2015s Close up of the Juliet balconies added inside the Pink Bedroom/master bedroom sitting room.

The Beale Boys Bedroom:



1975 - The two Beale boys slept here.  This is the other large room on the second floor along with the master bedroom.

2000s:  Love how Sally decorated this room, so classic old Hamptons.

2015:  The boy's room.   How it looked when sold.

No Veranda photos of this room.

The Yellow Bedroom:


1975:  The yellow room where the movie was mostly filmed.


2015:  The yellow room in Sally's day.

2022:  The yellow room today - used as a sitting room, with Phelan Jr's chest.  Designed by Mark Sikes.

The door to the connecting bathroom to the guest room is now gone.


Guest Room

2015:  Sally Quinn’s guest room on the third floor above the breakfast room and now the guest room, once Ben Bradlee's office.

2022:   The same room as above.   A double window was added in this bedroom on the third floor with custom colored green Bennison fabric all over.  This was designed by Mark Sikes.  On his Instagram Mark discussed how he wanted to bring a touch of India to the house, which was done with tables like this.

A view from a Figue ad shows this side of the bedroom.  The detail on that duvet is divine.  Notice the beautiful window here, covered with an awning.  This window overlooks the back deck and swimming pool.

This chair! 

Here is the shirt in black.  


Another view.   Love the treatment of the eaves and the windows.  Such a cute room!

The Lounge Area:


2022:  A family room on the third floor with a mural by Bob Christian.  Additional Indian style furnishings.

Mark designed the bedrooms and third floor.  I think Adler designed the second floor landing, but left the bedrooms as they were originally designed by Sikes.

From TikTok - you can see the stairs that lead up to the third floor.  Notice you can the green mural painted by Bob Christian on the walls and you can see into the guest room at the right.


Third Floor:  a game room – notice the tiny arched door and opened window.  Too charming.  This room was also designed by Mark Sikes. 

The antique lamp was bought at Instagram’s @lilibetdesign.  A few years ago, the shop owner got a call that this lamp was urgently needed at a Memorial Day installation in East Hampton.  She didn’t realize at the time it was for Grey Gardens!!!

     Another view from a Figue advert.  And another flipped photo.   This is an antique lamp that was bought from Lilibet Design.



2015:  The back deck under Sally Quinn.


2015:  The deck was painted white.


2022:  The new deck is covered with a pergola and instead of a wood floor, it's now brick.  Decorated with beautiful blue and white pagodas.  No idea who decorated this, but the linens are from Figue.




1914:  Designed in 1914, the walled garden is the center of the estate.  Totally overgrown during the Beale years, Sally was able to uncover the walls and restore it, including the thatched roof hut.

This original photo was taken in 1914 and was colorized.

1970s:  The Beales let the walled garden go back to nature.  You can see one of the three arched gates that lead into the walled garden.


1980:  Sally Quinn begins the clean up - the plaques above the arches remain. 


1985:  Looking through the gate right after the landscape was finished, for this round.  There have been four total landscape projects.

2015:  The walled garden gate leads out towards the front porch.

1914:   The entire garden as it was first designed.  Incredible photographs that were colorized.   See the thatched hut at the back left and at the center is the pergola.   I'm not sure when this center portion was opened.

1985:   Sally's completed garden.  So sparse from what it would become! The walled garden is now opened in the center for easy axis from the house.  Later Sally would have the house relandscaped.

You can see the new beams in the pergola that Sally installed, along with the doors.

2015:  You can barely make out the walls of the garden or see the pergola.

2022:   From the upstairs looking into the walled garden, there is now a fountain where initially there was a center flower bed.  It looks like a new row of trees have been planted behind the pergola.  At the very right you can just spy a new Edwin Lutyens styled white bench. And more white furniture sits inside the pergola. 


1914:  Pergola and the bird feeder which remained in the walled garden all this time.

1914:  The bird feeder surrounded by newly planted roses.

1916:  Two years later the roses have grown large, overtaking the wall.

2022:  Liz Lange's new brick pathways run through the garden keeping it neater and easier to walk through.  Yes - that is the same bird feeder, except you can no longer see the plaque on the wall behind the feeder because of the overgrown vines.


1914:  The entire walled garden.  At the center is the pergola.  The center entrance was not originally a part of the garden. In 1916, the wall was opened in the center for easy axis and the vista.

This photo from 1916s shows that the Hills have removed that center wall so that the vista from the solarium is unobscured to the walled garden. 

1914:  The Pergola as it originally was.   The large hedge behind the pergola is not yet planted.  Eventually the hedge and trees will completely shield the property from the neighbors.

1914:   The pergola remains intact today.  The thatched hut is seen through the arched gate beyond.

1920ish - The pergola with its flowering vines grown out and two chairs now added.

1985: The newly restored pergola with Sally seen sitting inside on the concrete bench.  

1985:  A view from the inside the pergola to the house.   The center landscaped island is now added to the walled garden.

2000s  Taken from an upstairs bedroom, probably the third floor.  You can barely see the pergola at this time.
Notice the hedge behind the pergola - how large it had grown.

2015ish  Another later view where the landscape is so overgrown and wild you can barely see the pergola.

2015:  The pergola has been photographed many times with and without a table and chairs inside.  Its beams are so covered with vines, they can barely be seen.

2022:  Today.  From Instagram.  The center flower bed is now a fountain.


1914:  The gate from the walled garden to the thatched roof hut which sits outside the walls of the garden.

1914:  With the gate open, you can see the bench outside the hut.

1914:  The thatched roof hut as it was originally designed with a bench and one window, outside the walled garden.  Weather vane atop the thatching.

1985:  As Sally Quinn redesigned the thatched hut with new Grey Gardens iconic paned windows and an arched door to match the arched gate.

The weather vane is now gone.

1997:  Decorated inside for the book by the late Chris Madden – A Room of Her Own.

2015.  All open to the breezes and now painted the Sally Quinn light aqua.  The door looks to be screened, but there must be an inside door too?? 

2022:  Today.  With the bench outside and a new beautifully thatched roof, the hut is painted the Liz Lange Deep Aqua.

Want to go inside the newly renovated hut?   


Inside, it is now totally tiled in blue and white with images taken from Grey Gardens folklore.  The floor is tiled.  Are these the original tiles from the Solarium?  They seem very much like them.

Long version of this dress HERE.

Notice – do you see what might be the word “Staunch?” onone of the tiles - this was a favorite word of Little Edie. Lots of cats on the tiles and eyes, like the Eye of the House – the room that Little Edie named.

A version of this dress HERE

Is that Buster, the raccoon that lived in the Beales’ attic???   I'm not sure what the significance of the striped ribbon is?  Notice the bird house.  There was once a dovecote on the property.

1914:  Here is the original dovecote.  I have not seen one in later photos.  It probably did not survive the Beales.   Love the hut's tiles!

This pair of eyes are wearing glasses! Is that cat standing on a bag filled with cat food cans?  Hard to tell, but it makes sense.  

I have no clue who designed this tile mural but WOW.  The photos were found on ads and on TikTok.

    Here is a long sleeve, long dress version HERE.

The Beales friend, the artist Lois Wright, lived for awhile in the Eye of the House room.  She painted this eye on a large fan that hung in the room and remains today owned by the family.  Perhaps this also inspired the tiled eyes in the thatched hut. 


2010:  The landscaping looks its best in the spring and summer.

Behind the pool – the tall clipped hedge – is the kitchen garden.


2000ish This view from the pink bedroom was the best in the house – you can see the ocean from here.  And you can see the thatched roof hut right next to the walled garden.


The exact same view, from the same room.  

The swimming pool was removed and replaced with a round version, completely surrounded by grass.  It was said the round pool was inspired by Robert Evans' round pool.  His was originally photographed by Slim Aarons before Evans even bought the house and I think the Aarons photograph might have been the original inspiration for this pool.  Behind is the pool house and outdoor kitchen on its right.  Love the lounges by Mark Sikes.

Slim Aarons in 1952 – when the Pendletons lived in Robert Evans House.  After Evans died, his classic house was sold and completely renovated instead of being torn down.

At a Figue event.  The cutest loungers!  You can see the newly built garage in the back of the pool house.

Inside the pool house – all Mark Sikes blue and white stripes which were painted by the amazing Bob Christian.

Outside the pool house, probably the bathroom.  Notice the hand blocked fabric in the window.

A photoshoot in the pool house.  To order this Figue dress, go HERE

Another photoshoot by the pool.  The table linens are also by Figue.


2015:  Aerial view before the renovation.  The left side of the house is on the street.  The dining room and kitchen both overlook this view.  It’s always been rather empty lawn.  That is, until Liz Lange bought Grey Gardens.

Notice though how overgrown the walled garden was.

1970.  The left side of the house.  Under the Beales.  Just left to decay.

2000.  Under Sally Quinn, the left side is just boring lawn.

2022:  And today.  The left side is now alive with a white Indian Garden.  From the driveway, a path lined with trees leads into the Indian garden and the kitchen garden.



2022:  From the driveway, a tree lined, slate walkway leads into the Indian Garden.  Close up of gates that open to the Indian Garden.

2022:  The view out the dining room of the white Indian Garden.  Filled with white pots and a fountain.  Bordering the dining room – is this blue and white striped awning shades of Mark Sikes?  Yes.

2022:  A close up view of the white pots and the furniture grouping at the left, at the end of the garden vista.


2015:  The tennis court that Ben Bradlee installed against the wishes of Sally Quinn.  Just a regular court, it was behind the swimming pool.

2022:  A grass court was put in right behind the new garage and pool house.  Along the back of the garage a backboard was installed by Accents of France.

The End:  Except for these two photos.  They are included in the Grey Gardens Figue advertisements under the Grey Gardens hashtag.  But, nowhere can it be proved it's a room in the house.  It COULD be the Beales boys bedroom - that isn't seen anywhere.  And Mark Sikes did the upstairs of the house - this looks like his colors and style.  The room looks wonderful with the banquettes that could be day beds?

Another view.  Unless Sikes wants to tell us, we will never know if this is actually a room in the house.  Although I'm leaning towards that it is!!



Who Done It???????



  1. Thanks for reading and leave a comment!!!! I love to hear what y'all have to say!

    1. Mark’s work is beautiful and closer aligned to the style and history of the home. Jonathan is very talented but his aesthetic just feels too contemporary. I wonder how they were able to find common ground ..

    2. How very interesting. I like the Quinn version so much better. This is amazing because I am generally a fan of Mark Sikes. It looks like those awful clothes.

    3. Thank you for the detailed read. The stark turquoise and so much else in the house is so ugly. I’m usually a big fan of Mark Sikes, but whatever the collaboration was supposed to be ended before it began. I’m glad the current owner likes living with it. I sure couldn’t. And, it seems to me to be a desecration of this lovely old home.

    4. touche 1,000 times!! Round swimming pool...ugh! Glad the homeowner likes it but I believe the decor just ruins the history of the home. Oh to have money but no taste! Sally did a much better job with her decorating choices. The only thing I liked was the Indian Garden. Thanks again Joni for such a detailed and historical post. You rock!

    5. Never knew, this garden in my memory bank for decades. Collector of old Garden books, a few of the 1914 shots are included. Amusing to have enjoyed discovering Grey Gardens, following for years, then learning with your post, it is the Gray Gardens, garden in that old book.

      Seeing the first pic of the round pool, immediately saw the copy of Slim Aarons pic. Later you fill in detail on who designed that pool/garden space. Thank you !

      Thought the India Garden a nice touch, but did not understand the 'reasoning'. Going to the Figue website, seeing all the clothes......... Obvious a touch of India in the clothes. Hope the India Garden allowed to come into its own over time. Will only improve like a fine Viburnum. A garden designer, copying good historic Garden Design, and an obvious love of his client, India, I think, it's Mark Sikes. What you share about him, in this post, an incredibly elegant man in what cannot be bought.
      Great work, Joni. Brava !

  2. Simply amazing! Thank you for a great read, Joni! You’re a treasure yourself!

  3. It's a mystery. What a wonderful history of the house you have created. The effort resulted in a fabulous read.

  4. Fantastic recap. You are a true architectural historian. Thanks.

  5. I cannot begin to imagine how much work went into your research of Grey Gardens. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!!!!!!

  6. Yes, I would order that display cabinet. FAB review and read!! franki

  7. Wow, Joni. That was a lot of work. Thank you for all that detail. What a dream of a house!

  8. I'm a 'more is more' kind of gal, but this is way too much. Sikes rooms feel better, are more akin to the aesthetic of a historic home. The foyer is horrible.

  9. Have you ever thought about writing a book- putting all your articles on famous american houses together in one space? You do such great research and your writing style is so approachable. It would be so great to have a decorating book that was photos, descriptions, tips and history all in one place.

  10. From what I read, she's personal friends with Jonathan Adler, so my bet is on her hiring Sykes, getting the house all done up, having Adler over for a weekend, and he and his partner convincing her to let them "Zhuzsh it up" for her "a bit".

  11. It's a vintage Arts and Crafts inspired beach house, wouldn't it be much more beautifully freshened with that as the inspiration? Imagine some Morris wallpapers (trending!) in the lighter cleaner softer end of the Morris palette (because it's a beach house), greens, yellows, blues, whites, browns, so perfect with everything open to the outdoors, fabrics cottagey/nature-inspired/checked, early 20th century furniture some painted some brown, keep all the wicker of course and Arts and Crafts built-ins. Gah, I can picture it all, so beautiful. It doesn't want glamour, it wants simple natural things.

    So much money spent in the current renovation but I feel like everyone involved has misunderstood the spirit of the house.

    1. It's obvious the owner likes "more." Adler does more. Sikes usually doesn't.

    2. Yes, I feel like Sikes got pulled over to the dark side for this one, lol. Always enjoy your articles so much :) Judy

  12. Thank you for a beautiful and detailed post. Grey Gardens has always held a fascination for me. While I appreciate many of the changes that were made to restore and enhance the home, I prefer many of the older photos. The gardens are breathtaking and probably my favorite part of the estate. One can only marvel at the evolution/transformation of the home from it's original condition to squalor to present day. I was looking for photos prior to the 70's era cleanup and found an article suggesting a mold related component affected the women's mental state. It was suggested that the county wouldn't pick up the women's garbage which might explain the piles of refuse in the house. It also mentioned that the fire department inexplicably broke into the house and flooded the first floor. My thought is that these women were quite eccentric and a potential mold related mental illness couldn't have helped matters. Interesting reading:

  13. OMG, I cannot unsee this horror. So I’m working hard to visualize an old Hampton’s house with its windows open to the sea breeze, the family dog lying in the entry way and nearby in the parlor, faded ticking stripe sofas, banged-up wooden tables, splintering wicker settees, baskets full of paperback books, old magazines, and sun-bleached baseball caps. Through the windows, you can hear voices, distant chatter–maybe the neighbors playing badminton? Smells of salt mixed with leftover sweetness of the morning’s coffee and toast.

    1. "windows open to the sea breeze, the family dog lying in the entry way and nearby in the parlor, faded ticking stripe sofas, banged-up wooden tables, splintering wicker settees, baskets full of paperback books, old magazines, and sun-bleached baseball caps. Through the windows, you can hear voices, distant chatter–maybe the neighbors playing badminton? Smells of salt mixed with leftover sweetness of the morning’s coffee and toast."

      Exactly! Agree completely. That's the description of a beautiful house

    2. Love your writing.

  14. My cousin was married to Phelan Beale Jr….both passed long ago

  15. So much work you do! Thank you, thank you! I think Figue owes you some merch for all the adverts and links you provided!

  16. Love your in-depth posts! I prefer the Mark Sikes version of rooms. I've seen you musing if Mark Sikes decorated Jill Biden's office....have you seen the photos of her office in Real Simple magazine? It sure looks like he did. Check them out here:

    1. Thanks!!!!’ I’ll look right now !!

  17. I am awestruck by the work you did to produce this post. I rather wish it were a slim coffee table book of its own!
    Most of these spaces don't strike me as collaborations but solo work. Some of the current decor actually repels me but over all, I'd say Adler pushed Sikes to up his game. A good thing,in my view. I do wish Sikes had rubbed off on Adler more.
    Again,thank you so much for all this.

  18. Good Lord! I'm suffering from OVERWHELM (but I think, in a good way). Every minute I spent with this post was pure joy...I lost track of time. Thank you for all your research, observations, opinions, etc. YOU are amazing, Joni.

  19. That was the best blog you have ever written! Thank you for the hours of research it must have taken. Such a fascinating house!

  20. No, no,no,no,no! I'll take the blue dutch door and leave the rest! Great blog though!

  21. First of all, applause for a tremendous amount of work. Well organized, concise and very interesting. That said, way too much money and way to little taste. Sears catalog from New York. Honestly it would be great to open a discussion on, “ Which room was the worst?” Ann

    1. Absolutely agree. 100%. Not soul, just money and decorators without the flair to be anything than whatever they spew on instagram all of the time. Hideous.

  22. Fascinating post. Before I leave a snippy comment, let's be clear that both Adler and Sykes are at the very top of their professions and there's a lot to admire (if not love or even like as the case may be) in both of their styles. I personally find Adler's hollywood regency shtick not very interesting and dated (early 2000s blogs come to mind), while Sykes "colonial via hamptons klassy" is boring and a little offensive (if one could be bothered to be offended by white designers pillaging the work of Indian artisans and instagramming their ways through Jaipur ad nauseum). He's a one trick pony who doesn't have the delft handedness of a Michael S. Smith or even a Bunny Williams (who would be the American decorator i'd choose in the extremely unlikely event that i'd secured this property). Ideally, this house would shine if decorated by the late Robert Kime - Tory Burch's house for example, is beyond stunning. This, by contrast, is tacky and heavy handed. Brooklyn in the Hamptons IMHO.

    1. You had to mention Tory’s house. Lol. Sigh.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Thanks for the idea. Now I'd like to see Gray Gardens as designed, interior/garden, by Furlow Gatewood.

      (1st comment removed. Typo with Furlow's name.)

      Garden & Be Well, Tara

  23. The cattle guards at the entrance to the driveway are used in the Hamptons to discourage deer from entering the property. Deer are everywhere!

    1. Interesting!!! I was wondering. Never thought of deer. Thanks !

    2. Good to know. How effective are they? Thick hedges discourage deer also. They won't jump what they can't see over.

  24. What a lot of work you put into this post and I enjoyed it so much. It took me two days to go through it all. Thank you so much, Joni!! I am hoping to run into you one of these days since I live in Seabrook and go to Galveston regularly.

  25. This post really is a tour-de-force Joni! Whew! I had to break it into parts to read! I have to say that I truly abhor the Adler front hall, stairs and upper hall the most. I also dislike the new bright teal trim on the exterior. I always loved the Beals darker green but Sally Quinn's light teal is pretty as well. Mark Sikes work is always amazing. Adler's work can be fun but it's all wrong for a grande dame house such as this. A fun more casual beach house sure. A glitzy city apartment definately. But it does not work with this house at all. The gardens and grounds are amazing but kind of miss the 1914 barren look where you can see all the neighboring houses - feels so classic beach community.

  26. The word that kept coming to mind was GARISH. Sally Quinn really loved and understood this home. The new version, whoever designed it, looks like it was inspired by circus posters. Liz Lange spent so much money but she missed the point IMHO. I did like the flower room and back hall though.

  27. Having lived in a home of that era ( ' I must say that the new look does not speak to the soul and bones of the house. I do like a bunch of Mark’s designs but it’s a beach house, steps from the ocean. Sally had the more authentic feel. The round pool is all show and no utility how can you swim laps? Too much money ...Liz got carried away. . Such a classic house deserves better.
    Your research always slays me. It took two days to digest it all.

    1. I’m sorry. It took me four hours to edit it. God. I apologize

  28. It's as though they were having a sale on the color turquoise! The exterior architectural restoration looks admirable--the choices and compromises all make sense (minus the turquoise). The problem with designing a house like this is its extra-special history--it is not just another fancy East Coast Shingle Style. The interior is now too modern and "magazine-ready." Although the broken and dirty items didn't need to be incorporated, there is little left of the traditional look of the interior (which complemented the exterior). But my biggest disappointment is that there is no frisson of the mystery that held so many people spell-bound to Grey Gardens; inside it could be any renovated house.

    1. So true. The mystery is now gone with Sally.

  29. Been following the Grey Gardens Saga since the film came out -- thank you for your deep dive into their archives -- so many fabulous photos on your blog. BTW I think Mark Sikes was a good fit for the Grey Gardens Renovation -- less is more with great architectural bones -- and Jonathan Adler's work just misses the mark. It screams "look at me" when the home's history & pedigree are surely enough to make it a unique property. No screams needed.

  30. I agree. Thanks!!’

  31. I would have just moved in and left it as Sally had it. Does anyone ever do that?!
    Thank you so much for the work you've put into this, fascinating! I'll have to go back and read it again.

    1. Yes, wonderful research…thank you Joni. But this renovation is hideous….such a shame…Should have been left in Sally’s style, much more appropriate to the ‘soul’ of this grand home. V.

  32. I loved every bit of this post and appreciate the massive research and time you took to share this with us. I was so confused by the Veranda article. I could not figure out why Mark Sikes had veered off the path. I'm glad to know he didn't and I love you for letting us know!

  33. Liz Lange was on a podcast called Just Enough Family about her family and their rise to great riches with her Uncle Saul. It's definitely worth a listen. I don't remember though if it discusses her buying Grey Gardens.

  34. You knocked it out of the park with this blog!! Just amazing work!! Thank you and appreciated!
    Where are the rooms, of soft color and restfulness that speak to the outdoors and setting? The rooms that invite you in and say, stay awhile? This Hampton house calls for the style and grace of Nancy Meyers or Bunny Williams.

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