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A House for Essex

Location
Essex.
Size
Sleeps 4

A House for Essex is designed by FAT Architecture and Grayson Perry. It is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Perry exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex. The building has been designed to evoke the tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels. It belongs to a history of follies, whilst also being deeply of its own time.

Accommodation

A House for Essex

  • Unique and incomparable house, overlooking the river Stour.
  • Original artworks created by Grayson Perry.
  • Fully immersive experience of the fictional life of Julie Cope.
  • Architectural eccentricity at its most creative.
  • An hour by train from London.
  • Two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Not ones to shy away from a challenge, we commissioned the artist Grayson Perry to fulfil his long-held wish to build a chapel to the history of his home county of Essex. With Charles Holland of FAT Architects, a partnership was formed and we set about realising this dream.

At the end of a private lane you encounter this uncompromising house, set in an undulating landscape leading down to the shores of the river Stour.  

Guests enter through a large wooden door into a lobby and hallway, off which a small bathroom is situated, and across the hall the staircase leads to two bedrooms and a second bathroom on the first floor. The first-floor bathroom has both shower and large sunken bath, from where you can soak and take in the views. Each bedroom has an internal balcony overlooking the main living space, as well as views across the river.

An intimate kitchen and dining area has hidden doors flanking the fireplace and wood burner, through which guests enter into the double-height living room lined with decorative timber panelling and Grayson Perry's richly coloured tapestries. Other specially commissioned artworks including furnishings, pots and mosaic floors celebrate the story of Julie Cope and her life in Essex. Glazed and shuttered double doors can be opened to reveal a sheltered porch overlooking the fields down to the Stour.

A House for Essex is a testament to the idea that art and architecture can lift our spirits and allow us to experience the world through the eyes of others, both in reality and fiction.

Location

A House for Essex - Essex.
A House for Essex - Essex.
A House for Essex - Essex.
A House for Essex - Essex.
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What Guests Say

The house was fantastic, a really memorable stay. We really appreciated Julie and her life - it may have been a mausoleum but it was a living one and was also beautifully placed in the landscape.

It was thrilling to stay in a house designed by Grayson Perry - I have followed his career for many years now. What was most impressive was the fact that Living Architecture have not rested on their laurels and relied upon his name alone. The artwork was of course wonderful, but so too was the house.

To be able to stay in the house, even for only two nights, is a completely different experience from just going to view it, and we were all delighted with the opportunity.

I felt like I had won the lottery securing the opportunity to stay in the house via the ballot...and it was truly incredible...a significant life event for me (I still feel moved to tears thinking about it).

This is an amazing experience living in a work of art and wonderful to spend time looking at it.

We loved it. I just feel so lucky to have been able to stay there and enjoy the whole concept - the wit, the warmth, the colour. It is an energising and stimulating very special place. I hope I get the chance to return in another ballot.

Staying at the house was an experience of a lifetime. We feel deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience living in art. We each left feeling deeply attached to Julie and her story - the book explaining her story and the tapestries made an amazing difference to the connection & experience, thank you.

About The Architecture

A House for Essex appears as a small, beautifully crafted object amidst the trees and fields. The house does not attempt to mimic the appearance and materials of existing buildings in the local village of Wrabness. Instead, it offers a unique addition. 

The house was designed and created through a collaboration of FAT Architecture and leading contemporary artist, writer and commentator, Grayson Perry. Through their love of decoration, ornament and the history of Essex, Charles Holland (FAT) and Grayson have designed a testament to the fictional character of Julie Cope, an every-woman of Essex.  

The architecture interprets the traditions of Russian Stave churches, wayside chapels and roadside memorials. The house is clad in some two thousand handmade tiles; which along with the roof sculptures, have all been created from originals produced by Grayson.

With golden roof and windows increasing in size from front to back, the house extends and ‘grows’ across the sloping site.

Internally, the exuberance continues through a series of multi layered and intricately detailed coloured spaces in which further artworks are featured.  

During a long build-period of five years every aspect of this house was crafted to produce the ultimate Gesamkunstkwerk.

You can view a video tour of the house filmed by BBC News.

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