Grey (and Stormy Skies) Gardens

Despite my love of casual luxury in the home and garden, and making a career of promoting that to others, I want to acknowledge that even I can’t keep things groomed and manicured at all times! Hurricane Sandy is gone and the assessments and clean-up begins. Incredibly, Rosebrook Gardens lost power for only an hour last night, and since – as of this writing – 87% Westport is still without electricity I count my blessings that the high force winds and flooding didn’t leave more of a mark on my neighborhood and home.

Along with the lawns strewn with branches and so on, I did have one large-scale casualty: my 16-year-old Bradford Pear tree split in a few places while trying to resist the wind. Crrrack and down it went. Considering that Hallowe’en is tomorrow, I like to think that now thanks to the storm even my house has a costume: from the angle in the photo it looks like the infamous Grey Gardens mansion – the Easthampton and terribly run-down home to the reclusive Beales, the aunt and cousin of Jaqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis! Infamous because it was left unattended for so long – allowing the weeds, trees, brambles, vines, and grass to subsume it, almost blocking it from view.

Of course, the secret that was hidden inside Gray Gardens was that the house itself had magnificent bones all along, and the debris and wild growth on the outside was hiding the beauty of the house’s potential. Happily, the house was indeed beautifully renovated by new owners who adored the house and promised to reclaim it, rather than tear it down.

If even something that looked as much like a rubbish pile as Grey Gardens can come back from the ashes, then I have faith that all of the Eastern Seaboard can as well. With a love for our homes and gardens, plus a sense of community and resilience, comes a strength that can make anything happen. So what if our “casual luxury” style is not currently at 100%; let’s settle for “renovation luxury” for a while.