Grey Gardens Is Summer Rental for $250,000
If you love political and social history -- and have very deep pockets -- you'll love this East Hamptons rental of the Grey Gardens estate owned and restored by Ben Bradlee, the late, great Washington Post editor, and his wife, writer Sally Quinn.
Grey Gardens was once the decrepit, cat-infested home of Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale, aka "Big Edie," and her daughter, Edith Bouvier Beale, "Little Edie" -- the aunt and cousin of First Lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, later known as Jackie Onassis. The home and blue-bloods-turned-cat-ladies lifestyle of the Edies were the subject of a 1975 documentary, a Broadway musical, and a 2009 HBO film starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.
When Bradlee and Quinn bought the house in 1979 for $220,000, it smelled of cat urine. Its ceilings were caving in, and raccoons lived in the attic. Quinn reportedly became obsessed with restoring the house back to its WASPy beauty. The restoration took a year and included installing French doors on the back of the house, which faces the ocean. She also covered the furniture with chintz and painted the walls in blues and greens that closely mimic the home's original decor.
"My goal was to have anyone who entered the house feel good," Quinn said in an Architectural Digest piece about the restoration.
Feeling good in Grey Gardens doesn't come cheap. Quinn and Bradlee spent Augusts at the beach house. But Bradlee died in October at 93 and Quinn is planning to travel this summer, so the 10-bedroom, 6.5-bath house is being offered as a rental for $250,000 from Memorial Day through Labor Day. It also is available at $295,000 for one year or $225,000 for just July and August.
Sound pricey? It's a drop in the summer-rental bucket in the Hamptons, according to agent Gary DePersia, who is handling the property for the Corcoran Group.
"If it were a newer home, it would go for $325,000 for the summer," DePersia told AOL. "We rent for much more than that, dear, up to $1.5 million for the summer."
Aside from its great history, the two-acre estate has a pool, tennis court, and, perhaps, a ghost.
In the Architectural Digest piece, Quinn says during the renovation a neighbor approached with a message from Big Edie, who died in 1977.
Quinn wrote that the neighbor told her, "I talked to 'Big Edie' the other day," in a totally matter-of-fact way. "She wanted me to tell you how pleased she is that you have bought Grey Gardens. She wants you to know that she believes you will make the house as beautiful as it once was, and that she will be watching over you to make sure that everything goes perfectly and that this will be a warm and loving and happy house."
So is Grey Gardens haunted?
"I've been in the house even at dusk and never got the sensation of beings," DePersia said. "But who knows?