Now that Grey Gardens is more widely known, it seems that any squalid home or episode of Hoarders references Grey Gardens. However, this home in Maplewood, New Jersey, actually does closely resemble Grey Gardens! Keep an eye out for the portrait (although not of Big Edie), and note how the interior architecture closely resembles that of Grey Gardens! To top it all off, the house is infested with raccoons as well!
From Maplewood Patch, by Mary Mann, on July 16, 2010
'Grey Gardens' of Maplewood Finally Sold
The home has been a blight on Plymouth Avenue, but neighbors are hoping things will improve soon.
The Grey Gardens house of Maplewood—a dilapidated and unoccupied home that has attracted vagrants and a family of racoons—has finally sold.
Famous on MaplewoodOnline, the house on Plymouth Avenue was occupied by two sisters in their 80s who had a penchant for hoarding. One sister passed away three years ago this spring. The other ultimately moved into assisted care two-and-a-half years ago. However, according to one next-door neighbor, ownership of the house was in question for about a year: "There was supposedly a reverse mortgage or something. There was also the problem appointing counsel since the surviving sister fled the state."
Neighbors then began contending with the mess left in the backyard of the home and the animals that began infiltrating the house due to a large hole in the eaves in the back roof. The next-door neighbor quoted above noted that Township Health Officer Robert Roe was responsive: "The town has been aware for years of the problem with the house and the ladies, but there's nothing they could do about it. [Roe] did come out and set traps for the rats/raccoons. Roe also suggested I go to Township Committee meetings to see if I could get money put in the town budget to have them clean out the house."
According to another next-door neighbor, the Maplewood Police contacted her in June to warn her that vagrants were possibly using the house late at night. Vagrants or not, a family of raccoons has been seen in the house, coming and going through the eaves.
Although these pictures attached here (taken in June) are startling, a neighbor says "it was a million times worse" until workers recently began hauling furniture and other debris from the house. The two elderly sisters had piled newspapers, records, plates, clothing and knick-knacks up to the ceilings in each room—and up and down half the staircase. Water had collected in the basement.
Over the years, neighbors had worked to help the sisters comply with codes—helping to clear their driveway at one point—and contributed to their tax bill payment.
The new owner of the home tells Patch that he paid $273,000 for the house. He does not plan to live there (he lives in Pittstown) but plans to renovate the home completely and re-sell. He projects that the renovation should take one-and-a-half months. Despite the look of the home, he finds that the house basically is in good condition: "I pulled up the carpet and the floors are beautiful." He plans to retain the basic layout of the house and keep and fix the existing windows. "It's really a pretty house," he said, standing on a neighbor's lawn. "And it's a great neighborhood."
Clearing out the house is the big project. "It's a lot of clothes," said the new owner, as workers threw arm-fulls of material out of upper-floor windows and started removing piles from the backyard with a bobcat forklift this morning.