Hooked on Grey Gardens

by hookedonhouses on April 23, 2009

Welcome to Hooked on Fridays, a blog party I host at the end of each week to celebrate the things that make us happy. This week I’m hooked on Grey Gardens, the East Hampton estate featured in an HBO movie starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange. The house was one of the main characters in the film, and it was fascinating to watch it evolve through the years. Here are a few photos from the film set depicting Grey Gardens’ heyday in the 1930s:

I discovered a beautiful blog called Bloomacious this week during my searches for all things Grey Gardens. They have a wonderful interview with Grey Gardens Production Designer Kalina Ivanov and many more photos of the sets from the film that you can see there.

If you have missed Valorie’s series of posts about Grey Gardens on her blog Visual Vamp, I highly recommend them. She actually knew the Beales and has fascinating personal stories to tell about them.

Watching this beautiful home age and decay during the course of the film was painful. I’m sure you’ve seen the images of it with trees growing through the walls and English ivy covering the windows. Happily, Grey Gardens was purchased and completely restored by Sally Quinn and Ben Bradlee. Architectural Digest published photographs of it that you can see here. Over at Content in a Cottage you can watch a video that shows the lush grounds and some of the home’s interiors today.

Did you see the movie? Were you as captivated by it as I was? (I’m joining Fifi’s Fashionable Friday blog party today, too. Be sure to check it out!)

Now it’s your turn to tell us what you’re hooked on. If you have something to share with us on your blog, then add your link below. Just please be sure to:

  1. Add the permalink to the specific blog post, not your general blog address.
  2. You can put what you’re hooked on in parentheses after your blog name. You’ll probably get more visitors that way! Ex: Hookedonhouses (Not So Big Houses)
  3. Link back to the party from your post so that your readers can come and see what everyone else is talking about today!
  4. Visit as many of the other participants as possible and leave comments! That’s what a blog party is all about!
  5. Double-check to make sure your link works and goes to the right page so it doesn’t get deleted! If you come back and see your link is gone, re-read these rules and try again.

Hooked on Fridays Participants

1. Arleen @ Seasons for All at Home
2. TK – (Raod Trip)
3. songbirdtiff ($20 room makeover)
4. Designing Your Dream Home (Hooked on Staircase railings)
5. Chez DeJonge (Hooked on Home Tours)
6. DesignTies (Hooked on sunrooms)
7. Puna – more kitchen pics
8. rue\’s pb&j life (Old Houses for sale)
9. Cooking During Stolen Moments (pineapple chicken)
10. Maya (Oprah\’s Retreats)
11. Floating Island (Photos) | Gennaro
12. Mary Beth {Flowers, Seeds & Growing}
13. Beach Cottage Love (blue table)
14. Deb/Dumbwittellher
15. Eileen@Star\’sFault
16. A Simple Walk (frugal decorating ideas needed!)
17. Katie @ Making This Home
18. Gayle @ Planet M Files(Pet Parade)
19. Kellie (giveaways– keepsake drawings)
20. Wayfaring Wanderer {Hk\’d on Wildflowers}
21. We are THAT family (Dollar Decor)
22. Susan (Exceptional Dining Room & Tablescape)
23. Our Nifty Notebook (Spring Planting)
24. Trish@TheOldPostRoad (Zinnias)
25. Christy – flea markets
26. Jill@Forever Cottage(Pottery Barn)
27. Mrs.Petrie (goody bags & a GIVEAWAY)
28. Lime in the Coconut…(Horses)
29. the BLAH BLAH BLAHger (built-ins)
30. Fifi Flowers Hooked on Champagne
31. Fabulously French (french beds)
32. m (Lovely Letters)
33. Marian – :)
34. Onlinehandyman is hooked on laminate floors
35. The World According to Isa (Treasure Hunting)
36. Claudia@DipityRoad (great photo ops)
37. Visual Vamp
38. Liz@Violet Posy (Wall Stickers & Giveaway)
39. Robin Rane\’ All Things Heart and Home
40. susan (Your home, only better.)
41. velvet and linen (hooked on interior design)
42. Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage (Pink Chandelier)
43. Creations From My Heart (Dollar Store)
44. Kristen@PajamaMama (free craft organization)
45. TidyMom(Banana Cake)
46. Jane @ Beach House
47. Laura @ Decor to Adore
48. Tricia
49. Newlyweds (Rain & Garden)
50. Jenelle @ This Lady Blogs (hooked on handmade!)
51. Angela @ PeonyPatch (Amy Butler)
52. RetroRuth (Vintage Johnson Wax Decorating Ideas)
53. Flower Patch Farmgirl (Blue Walls and Chippy Paint)
54. Shawn/Lifeatbuttercupfarm Spring Bursting Out!)
55. TheEckLife-table cloth curtains
56. Daly Essentials-renovations
57. wendy langston
58. Carolina Mama (You\’re Invited…!)
59. MissCaron (iron staircases)
60. Liz@It\’s Great To Be Home (painting fireplace surrounds)
61. From the Right Bank to the Left Coast
62. ImagineCozy (Shelf Repurposed)
63. {ae filkins} Hooked on Crackbook. I mean Facebook
64. Lynne, Tea for Joy (painted stairs)
65. ginnycartersmallenburg
66. Animator\’s Wife (homemade tumbling composter)
67. Florida Sue
68. SuzyHomemaker (Twilight)
69. The Tea Room (Pink Paper Crafts)
70. Jillian@Housewears(hooked on Design Inc\’s Tommy Smythe
71. WillowDecor
72. Becky *hooked on ladies *
74. Lindsay @ Peacock Blue (garden stools)
75. Jeanette @ A Passion for Scrapbooking, Decorating & Shopping (neoclassicism)

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Arleen @ Seasons for All at Home April 23, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Hi Julia. What a beautiful rooms! I’ve not yet seen Grey Gardens, but I’m so interested in this story. Thank you for including these photographs. ~Arleen

Arleen @ Seasons for All at Home’s last blog post..Inspiration ~ Collections of Framed Botanical Prints

Terry Kearns April 23, 2009 at 9:04 pm

The gardens are amazing. So much time, money, and effort to make it look effortless. It’s less fun for me with I think about the Edie’s. I happier without the drama.

Terry Kearns’s last blog post..Design Road Trip – Georgia Tech Industrial Design

Puna April 23, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Julia. Love love love that house. The bedroom in particular. It speaks of a time gone by. Thanks for letting me leave my linky.

Puna’s last blog post..More Kitchen Pics

Jenny April 23, 2009 at 9:17 pm

I’ve never heard of that movie, but that’s a pretty house!

Jenny’s last blog post..Update on the Dolphin Lapbook

DesignTies April 23, 2009 at 9:20 pm

It makes me sad to see old homes (and barns too) abandoned and falling apart. I’m so happy to hear that Grey Gardens was saved and restored. I love the wainscoting in the hallway/staircase area. It looks like the original wainscoting is still there, but now it ends where a doorway used to be. The fireplace looks original too.

It’s was a beautiful home then, and it’s an even more beautiful home now :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

DesignTies’s last blog post..Hooked on… sunrooms

rue April 23, 2009 at 9:22 pm

Hi Julia :)

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but the home is gorgeous! Funny enough, my post is about Hooked on old houses ;)

I’ll be back to check out the links in the AM… Rich and CSI are calling my name LOL


rue’s last blog post..Hooked on Old Houses for sale….

Misti England April 23, 2009 at 9:25 pm

Oh, that house is just beautiful. I have not yet seen this movie, we have no HBO! Thanks for sharing this, I will go read more about it.


Misti England’s last blog post..Our Childhood Bedrooms: My first Linky Party!

Julie @ Organizement April 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm

What a beautiful home! I’m going to have to netflix Gray Gardens when it gets to DVD ;-)

Julie @ Organizement’s last blog post..Always Something, Isn’t It?

Maya April 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm

I did not see this movie…, I wanted to, was looking forward to…, how could I have missed it…, what an intriguing story it is. I hope I’ll find it on HBO on demand.

Maya’s last blog post..Oprah’s Oceanside Retreats

Deb Milne April 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Amazing home, amazing story! Cannot wait to see the HBO movie! The entry way is my favorite.
Have a terrific weekend Julia (:
All the best,

Deb Milne’s last blog post..Outfitting for the Fun of it

ileen @ Star's Fault April 23, 2009 at 9:40 pm

Okay, I probably have been under a rock lately, as I have never heard of the place. Its completely heavenly. Now I’m curious, because it looks rith up my alley…. Off I go to Google – house and movie!

Blessings Eileen @ Star’s Fault

ileen @ Star’s Fault’s last blog post..Little Radish ~

Katie @ makingthishome.com April 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

I hadn’t seen this movie. Thanks for the heads up on it. I’m especially interested since you describe the house as a character, too.

Katie @ makingthishome.com’s last blog post..Our Summer Plans – Revealed!

Gayle April 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm

I haven’t seen the movie. The house is beautiful!

Gayle’s last blog post..Pet Parade Coming Wednesday!

Kalina Ivanov April 23, 2009 at 10:07 pm


Thank you for featuring my design. I’d like everyone to know how fun this project was and how supportive HBO has been in making the film. Although we had the architectural plans of the original Gray Gardens, the director, Michael Suscey, and I had much room for interpretation. We used only vintage wall paper and many antiques.

Enjoy the film!

DawnB April 23, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I recently watched this movie and loved it! The acting by Drew B. and Jessica L. is supberb. The story still lingers w/me and your post today has given me more places to search for more information regarding this story. Thanks!

Susan April 23, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Hi Julia,
I will definitely check out all the links you provided. Too late to do it tonight…gotta work in the morn) but I’m definitely coming back this weekend! :-) Thanks for hosting this fun even and for the info. about Grey Gardens! Susan

Susan’s last blog post..Welcome to Hooked on Fridays and the 35th Tablescape Thursday!

Billy April 23, 2009 at 10:45 pm

“Grey Gardens” is also an excellent documentary about the pair from 1975 and Netflix has it.

lesliejoy April 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

I have the movie on my DVR to watch but I have seen the documentary that the movie is based on and it so sad how the two women lived. It’s amazing to see the pictures here of what the house looked liked originally. I know they said in the documentary that they didn’t have much money after the husband left the mother but it’s hard to believe that they couldn’t keep the house up in some way. I don’t know, maybe there’s more of an explanation in the movie.

Amy @ Living Locurto April 23, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Sad to miss this Friday! Got family in town and I’m taking a break from Blogging. Have a great weekend:-)

Kellye April 23, 2009 at 11:20 pm

I’ve seen the documentary and saw the Broadway show. I was hoping that they would film that because Christine Ebersole was so fabulous. Since the movie was on HBO and I no longer have it, I’ll have have to catch it when I can. I will also have to check out the links that you posted.

Linda@Lime in the Coconut April 23, 2009 at 11:38 pm

I LOVED reading Valories up close and personal posts. Saw the movie. Interesting…very.

Linda@Lime in the Coconut’s last blog post..A moment of tribute…

Mrs. Petrie April 23, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Mmm…it looks so sumptuous and rich. I can’t wait to see the movie so I can check out the house! Thanks for hosting this awesome party!

Mrs. Petrie’s last blog post..Shower Gift Bags and a Giveaway

Nola @ The Bloom Girls April 23, 2009 at 11:55 pm

I so wanted to see the movie, but I do not have HBO. Your pics are awesome and so is your blog.

Nola @ The Bloom Girls’s last blog post..A Healthy Start for Spring!

Gennaro April 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm

Classic home. Love the Hamptons. Beautiful area.

Gennaro’s last blog post..The Uros Of Lake Titicaca

B. April 24, 2009 at 12:06 am

I love, love love Greay Gardens! I actually did a post on it a couple months back! I was so thrilled when I heard they were making a movie that would fill in the some of the blanks… it was wonderful!!! Love this post and thanks for all the added links!!!! yay!!!

B.’s last blog post..Holy Inappropriateness

Fifi Flowers April 24, 2009 at 12:41 am

I must see that movie… sadly no HBO… hurry up DVD!!!

Fifi Flowers’s last blog post..Pop the Cork… it’s time for Fashion…

The World According to Isa April 24, 2009 at 2:11 am

I taped it and haven’t watched it yet, so I’m trying not to read too much! :) Happy weekend!
xo Isa

The World According to Isa’s last blog post..Treasure Hunting….

VisualVamp April 24, 2009 at 3:21 am

Hi Julia,
Thanks for the shout out!
You know I love you!
I posted a link to another great GG article called Inside Grey Gardens that I think you will just love.
Happy Weekend!
xo xo

Robin Rane' ~ All Things Heart and Home April 24, 2009 at 5:30 am

Love the house. Especially the bedroom. I haven’t seen the movie but now I will~
Happy Happy Friday!
All Things Heart and Home

Robin Rane’ ~ All Things Heart and Home’s last blog post..Stephie’s Monster Cookies!

velvet and linen April 24, 2009 at 6:19 am

Valorie did an amazing job positing about this movie and the history behind it.
The set designs were just gorgeous and the story about the two Edies was fascinating.
Happy Weekend, Julia.


velvet and linen’s last blog post..what i have been up to this week…

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage April 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

I just stumbled upon your blog today……..so glad I did! I linked up, since your blog is SO much more suited to me than Frugal Friday (which is also a great carnival). Thanks for hosting this! So many new amazing blogs for me to explore, but first I gotta see some more of yours.

Happy Friday!

Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage’s last blog post..Prettier in pink

TidyMom April 24, 2009 at 7:00 am

I don’t think I saw the movie, but gosh that house is BEAUTIFUL!!
Thanks for the lovely treat this morning!!

Have a wonderful weekend Julia!


TidyMom’s last blog post..Just because he’s SO cute!!

Jane @ Beach House April 24, 2009 at 7:06 am

I have a bit of a Grey Gardens obsession, too. After all it’s in the same county as Beach House and if we don’t look after our home it could turn out like the Beale’s house did in the 70s….. It’s wonderful that the present owners kept their word and restored Grey Gardens, not many people would have undertaken a renovation of that magnitude.

Jane @ Beach House’s last blog post..Wallflowers

Laura Ingalls Gunn April 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

For the most part I don’t mind not having cable. Then a movie like this comes along and I am frantically trying to get it in my Netflix inbox because I have heard so many things about it.
Your post has made me all the more determined to see this film and soon. :)

Laura Ingalls Gunn’s last blog post..Laura’s Favorite Things giveaway.

Palabuzz April 24, 2009 at 8:04 am

Never heard of the movie.

I wish that I own that house.

Palabuzz’s last blog post..Marian Rivera as the new Darna

Petunia April 24, 2009 at 9:02 am

I loved the movie and Drew was FAB! Thank you for all the pictures and links to more info about the family. I think they’re quite fascinating.

Petunia’s last blog post..Fashionable Candy Friday!

Shawn/Lifeatbuttercupfarm April 24, 2009 at 10:01 am

Julia, This MOVIE was so YUMMY! I sat down and couldn’t even think about getting off my couch for 1 nano second. The HOUSE…to die for! I really want to see the documentary now. Thanks for the links above…I’ll have to find a few moments to peek.

Shawn/Lifeatbuttercupfarm’s last blog post..One Spring Day…

desiree April 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

I didn’t see the movie but I LOVE that house.It is in my dreams!

desiree’s last blog post..Petaluma Antique Faire is HERE!

MissCaron April 24, 2009 at 11:00 am

Hey there! I’ve been coming by for a while but have never left a comment nor have I joined in on the Friday fun but this time I am! I absolutely love your posts because I’m totally hooked on houses! My father is a luxury home builder so I’ve always been facinated by homes and all that it takes to build one to perfection. Anyway, just thought I’d say hello and keep doing what you’re doing … I love it!

MissCaron’s last blog post..Hooked on … iron spindles

from the right bank April 24, 2009 at 11:39 am

I wanted to see the movie just for the interiors.

from the right bank’s last blog post..Black & White Striped Rug

Cass @ That Old House April 24, 2009 at 11:40 am

Hi Julia!
As a native of Long Island, I remember when the story of the Beales hit the local papers — how very sad and shocking it was, that such things could happen right in the midst of such wealth and beauty as is the Hamptons. It absolutely haunted me. (Plus young as I was, I was shocked at the state of that beautiful old house!)

I’ve always felt torn about this story; I am as fascinated as anyone else, but I think that the Edies were exploited. Despite their agreement to being filmed for the Mayles’ documentary, they clearly were not in any condition to make informed decisions. I wish someone from their family had shielded them.

However, having experienced my mother’s dementia, and the near-impossibility of influencing her or making things “better,” I have more sympathy now for the Bouvier family; there probably isn’t much they could have done. But while I no longer blame the family for the situation, I do blame the brothers who photographed and documented this private tragedy.

Cass @ That Old House’s last blog post..Tablescaping with Thrift Store Bounty, Or: I Need A Keeper

Angela @ Imaginecozy April 24, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Thank you for hosting your blog party. It is so fun every week to see what everyone is hooked on.
Love the house!

Angela @ Imaginecozy’s last blog post..Redesign with what you have already.

Amber April 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm

I’ve never heard of that either, but that house is beautiful!! I love the picture of what seems like it’d be the foyer. LOVELY!! Thanks for sharing, Julia!

Amber’s last blog post..Finding bloggy friends on Crackbook

Kris April 24, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I had not heard of Grey Gardens until I read about it on a friend of mine’s website. We don’t have HBO but I wish we did because I would certainly watch this movie.

The house is beautiful..I did see pics of it in it’s deteriorating condition on my friends blog. Such a shame…but I’m glad it has been restored.

Wonderful post.


Kris’s last blog post..Fashionably Friday With Fifi

Slowish Food April 24, 2009 at 2:50 pm

How funny. We just put the original Grey Gardens documentary from the 1970s on our Netflix. I recently read that the daughter living in the house in the 1970s was looking to sell it after her mom died. She wouldn’t sell it to anyone who was planning to rip it down. Ben Bradlee walked in to its squalor and said to her, “This is the most beautiful house I’ve ever seen!” and she said, “I know! It just needs a fresh coat of paint and it will be perfect!” I can’t wait to see the films — both the HBO and the documentary.

Slowish Food’s last blog post..Whoo-hoo! Guess Who’s One Year Old?

Suzy April 24, 2009 at 5:05 pm

So glad you did this post…I saw Sally Quinn and her son on THE VIEW this week, and they talked about the house and renovating it. I couldn’t figure out if she still owned it or not, and did she live there full time???. The son said he lived in what he called a group home next store to her…so I was a little confused.
Anyways thanks for sharing this beautiful renovation.

Suzy’s last blog post..Hooked on the Phenomenon of Twilight

Daly Essentials April 24, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I didn’t get to see the movie, but thanks for sharing the pics! I love all of the white woodwork in the foyer.

Daly Essentials’s last blog post..Former spaces..

Scribbler April 24, 2009 at 8:14 pm

We watched Grey Gardens last night. The accent of the New England Upper Crust was hysterical to us Southerners — probably as ours is to them — but the story was so poignant.

It was almost unbearable to watch the house fall into ruin — and its occupants being so oblivious to its state of decay.

The degree of denial and detachment and dementia hit so close to home. But the house was gem, and I understand why the older Edie would not leave. In the immortal words of Big Edie, echoed by my late mother: “Feet first!!”


Scribbler’s last blog post..Tablescape Thursday April 23 — New Dishes!

Jill@Housewears April 25, 2009 at 2:06 am

Hi Julia,
You’ve peaked my curiosity, so now I want to watch this show!

Jill@Housewears’s last blog post..Housewears Chats with HGTV’s Tommy Smythe

Ramona April 25, 2009 at 10:24 am

Hey there Julia ~

I saw part of this movie last weekend…and can’t wait to see the whole thing…I loved it. What a lovely house! Thanks for sharing it with us. I have been in volunteering overload lately but will be back to blogland very soon.

Have a great weekend!

Smiles ~ Ramona

Ramona’s last blog post..Cowboy Boots ~ My Highest Recommendations

Denise April 25, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Oh, I want to see this movie. What an amazing story – thanks for sharing it with your readers.

Denise’s last blog post..The Geek Squad hits Seattle

Deana with ALCHEMY April 25, 2009 at 1:53 pm

Hi Julia!! What a fun blog party! Thanks for being the fabulous hostess.

ps. I linked twice because I messed up the link the first time. Really sorry.

Deana with ALCHEMY’s last blog post..Hooked on fabric!

Why S? April 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm

For some reason I never saw the documentary but I DVR’d the HBO movie last weekend and hope to get to it soon. Thanks for posting this. Now I’m extra looking forward to seeing the film and comparing against the links you’ve posted.

Why S?’s last blog post..Desk Done

Robyns Online World April 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I had no idea a new movie had been made about Grey Gardens! I saw the documentary from the 70′s and you could not help but be captivated by the family and the house. Hopefully, this will be released on DVD since we don’t subscribe to HBO.

Robyns Online World’s last blog post..Walmart Remodel – UGH!

Peacock Blue April 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

I saw Grey Gardens and it was very interesting to learn about the Beale ladies. The home was absolutely beautiful! It was a shame to see it (and the ladies) deteriorate like they did.

Peacock Blue’s last blog post..What’s Hot….

Shelia April 26, 2009 at 9:14 pm

I saw Grey Gardens on Broadway in New York. I would like to see the movie. I got all interested and looked up many things about these ladies and there are some video on Youtube you can view.
Thanks for the post.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Shelia’s last blog post..Blue Monday and Met Monday

Moi May 30, 2009 at 9:28 am

I haven’t seen the movie but like the actresses and would probably like the movie.

The house is GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ann Z July 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm

When little Edie spoke I thought it was Jackie – she sounded just like her! That accent is not New England upper crust but New York (downstate)…just a little bit similar to the famous “nu yawk” accent… but it’s the gentler blueblood version :)

Elvia September 5, 2009 at 4:38 am

I saw the movie, it is so easy to get hooked to it, it was very interesting!!!

Ryan October 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm

Great post! I’ve been a little obsessed with Grey Gardens & the 2 Edies ever since I first saw the documentary years ago, and the HBO film was such a nice surprise. They clearly put a lot of effort into doing everything right, including their faithful recreation of the real Grey Gardens up in Canada. And I was so pleased to see Kalina Ivanov receive a very well-deserved Emmy for the amazing work she did.

To me, Little Edie’s accent is kind of hard to peg. She did speak like her cousin Jackie, but her accent was noticeably different from Big Edie’s…and Big Edie was part of a wealthy family which divided its time between a posh NYC home and their beautiful Long Island estate. Somebody somewhere suggested that Little Edie’s speech was influenced a lot by her time at Miss Porter’s School and also by hearing her very southern father’s accent. I loved hearing Little Edie talk, but I tend to think she had her own totally unique way of speaking. I grew up in the the so-called “Great Estates” region of the Hudson Valley, and the old-money types there always reminded me of the way FDR used to speak, or the way George Plimpton speaks…he’s still alive, right?

Anyway, fascinating characters, splendid house and 2 great movies! Everyone should try to catch the HBO version if possible. As usual Jessica Lange was wonderful, but Drew Barrymore was surprisingly good too.

Babi February 19, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Exactly what I was looking for! I can’t believe there are so many others like me who loved that house in Alvin and the Chipmunks! I’ve been looking for pictures of it on line for the longest time, until somehow I stumbled onto your site. And then what a treat to find so many of the other houses that I loved on movies!

Thank you!

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