Grey Gardens

Yesterday I stumbled upon the 2009 HBO movie “Grey Gardens” starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.  I could not stop watching!  The fashion in the film is stunning.  The story of the crazy mother and daughter, who just happened to be the aunt and first cousin of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, is riveting.  But it was the East Hampton mansion herself that absolutely captivated me.  And watching her demise before your eyes is compelling and heartbreaking, all at the same time, like watching a train wreck, unable to tear your eyes away.  Her scale is magnificent–10 bedrooms– and yet, her exterior in its prime was a welcoming hulk of beautiful multipaned windows, exquisite millwork, airy front porch and grey shingles.  How did the architect capture that weathered grace–that of a dignified elderly woman– in this summer home turned full time residence for Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie?

I had to do some digging to satisfy my own curiosity and came across a wonderful article in the New York Times from April 2009.  There I found a treasure trove of photographs of the house in her worst state of deterioration just after it was purchased by Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee.  But I was also treated to photos of the newly restored Grey Gardens, including her magical gardens. 

I invite you to watch the HBO movie to get the full story of this eccentric mother and daughter living a free spirited life as their home literally crumbles around them.  But you will also delight in visiting the NYT photo gallery and details of its restoration. 

exterior in the 70’s
the famous grey walls– how she got her name
gardens restored and enhanced
All photos via New York Times online
© Copyright Heidi, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decor & More

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