John Perry-Miller at Grey Gardens
You might have seen the story on November 22 in the New York Times, about Grey Gardens, the legendary East Hampton vacation home owned by journalist Sally Quinn and her late husband, Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. The 28-room home at 3 West End Road and Lilly Pond Lane in the Georgia Pond neighborhood of East Hampston, NY, is one of a handful with somewhat of a cult following. Those followers and more descended on the home for an estate sale the weekend before Thanksgiving, the most faithful camping out for first place in line at four am.
But was anyone in line from Dallas, or even Texas?
A young Dallas man with deep family roots in real estate was there. John Perry-Miller, 18, nephew of Dave Perry-Miller, whose name is on the door of one of the most successful luxury brokerages in North Texas, says he first learned about Grey Gardens from Uncle Dave and his father, Ralph Perry-Miller. They talked about it, he saw the movie, and he was hooked. Piggy-backing the trip east onto an audition at American University, John was fifth in line for the sale, staking his place at 7 a.m. for the ten a.m. opening.
Oh yes. The temperature was 33 degrees outside while he waited.
In the days of Camelot, “Big Edie” Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie” Beale — Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ aunt and cousin— made the house famous for their style and dreadful lack of housekeeping. The Beales bought the vacation estate in 1923, by 1971 the house was in squalor and actually once condemned. What is better than peeking behind the rodent-infested draperies of high society? The Beale women became the subjects of a Broadway musical and an HBO movie that brought the house into focus.
Quinn and Bradlee, the power couple who ruled the DC social scene since their marriage in 1978, bought the house in 1979 for $220,000 — “all it needs is a coat of paint” Edie had said breezily. (The Bradlee’s poured millions into it.) Bradlee died in 2014, and Quinn put the house up for sale earlier this year. It has a contract, but like most real estate transactions, the identity of the buyer is being kept secret. (more…)