The décor in Alexa Ray Joel’s Manhattan apartment is a mix of gifts from her parents, supermodel Christie Brinkley and singer Billy Joel, quirky heirlooms and antique artwork.
“My mother teases me, ‘You are more polished, but you are like 20 steps from a Grey Gardens moment,’” Joel, 32, says of her eclectic aesthetic in a profile of the space in the New York Times. But, she admits of the assessment, “It’s true.”
The singer-songwriter, who got engaged to boyfriend Ryan Gleason in January, opened the doors to her home, which features flea market finds from her mom, 64, and a Steinway piano gifted by her father, 68. However, it’s a painting passed down from her grandmother that gets pride of place above her bed.
“It’s a bittersweet story,” she recalls of the artwork above her bed, which she likens to Matisse. “When my grandmother — I was really close to her — was sick and not feeling well, before she passed, she said ‘I want you to have this because it reminds me of you.’ I have this hanging right over my head, because I want her with me always.”
Her bedroom’s decoration was inspired by the grandmother’s room in the 1958 movie Gigi, and includes stacks of books, a chandelier and shades of red to complete the look. “I wanted everything scarlet red for passion,” Joel says.
Another area Alexa previously shared photos of is a nook in her living room that highlights her favorite presents from her fiancé. In the top spot sits the “scarlet portraits of Shades and myself five years ago.” She adds, “My second favorite is the phonograph, of course.”
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An overall view of the living room shows another chandelier, leather furniture and a plethora of patterned pillows. Although each of her items tells a story, Joel is most drawn to pieces that allow her to imagine the backstory in their own way.
“It’s because I like to personalize things,” she tells the Times, using her grandmother’s hand-me-down as an example: “In this one, I always see a Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen character. She’s dreaming and she’s looking out. And that’s kind of me. My head is always in the clouds.”