A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry designs Essex holiday home

The cross-dressing Turner-Prize winner says the house traces the life of Essex everywoman, Julie


Eye-catching architecture is often used to spruce up a region's reputation, yet Essex's local councilors might not have immediately contact the atypical Essex Man Grayson Perry when their region needed a facelift. Nevertheless, the cross-dressing ceramicist has collaborated with London's FAT design and architecture practice to design a two-bedroom holiday home overlooking the Stour Estuary in Wrabness.

The duo were engaged by the Swiss philosopher Alain de Botton, as part of de Botton's Living Architecture project, which aims to introduce the British public to challenging contemporary architecture.

Essex-born Perry says the building, entitled A House For Essex, is designed to counter the boorish image of the county, as exemplified in the reality TV programme, The Only Way is Essex.


A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry
A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry


He told The Guardian newspaper that the house's features centre on an imaginary Essex everywoman called Julie. "The idea behind the project relates to buildings put up as memorials to loved ones," the artist explained, "to follies, to eccentric home-built structures, to shrines, lighthouses and fairytales."

He went on to characterise this woman has being born in 1953, and having "encountered life's ordinary triumphs and tragedies; a difficult childhood, young love, a truncated education, children, divorce and finally fulfilment in her career and love life".

Living Architecture described the building being designed in the tradition "of wayside and pilgrimage chapels in the landscape. It is a singular building, appearing as a small, beautifully crafted object amongst the trees and fields."

They've also revealed that the house's interior will be decorated with Perry's tapestries, pots, decorative timberwork and mosaic floors, all "celebrating the history and psyche of Essex."

Art lovers in need of a country break will have to wait a while, though. The two-bedroom house will be ready to rent in 2014.