Tracey Jackson

Aug 11 2011 | Comments


Because of the legendary Maysles documentary and the multi -award winning 2009 HBO film of the same name Grey Gardens conjures up images of dilapidation and filth of mythic proportions.

The names Big Edie and Little Edie automatically stand for dysfunctional relationships and lives as chaotic as the house they lived in.

But what is Grey Gardens like today? Not many really know and I think most people hold on to picture of the mangy cat and rotten food filled, falling down wreck of an estate.

But the truth is for over thirty years the house has been owned and lived in by writer Sally Quinn and Washington Post ‘s uber editor Ben Bradlee, their son Quinn and now Quinn’s gorgeous wife Perry.

Sally took on the task of restoring Grey Gardens close to 35 years ago; and a monumental task it was. She bought it at its most decrepit and has restored it to its original beauty, actually my guess is it’s better.

She went so far as to drag furniture from the attic and have them refurbished to their original condition. She researched fabrics and wallpapers so everything would be authentic. She didn’t just Ralph Laurenize the place.

It’s a very pretty house albeit not an enormous one as people might think and it sits on a spectacular lot in a special part of the world. And it was not called Grey Garden’s for nothing.

The images we all have of the gardens are of weeds and sticks and rotting trees. This is also no longer the case.

The other evening Glenn and I had dinner with the Bradlee’s. We got there early; Glenn has this thing about when people say seven we walk in the door at seven. I always say, seven means seven-thirty. The only other time we had been there it had been very dark so Ben said, “ Take a walk around the gardens.” We did and they are anything but gray.

Grey Gardens in the 70's.

Grey Gardens Today

Grey Garden in summer bloom.