I’ve never seen anything quite like A House for Essex, a collaboration between Living Architecture, an organisation which creates architecturally astounding buildings which plebs like you and I can stay in, FAT Architecture and artist Grayson Perry. It’s simply magical.
We reach the padlocked gated entrance by driving down a tiny country lane in the middle of Wrabness village, Essex. The house is plonked in the middle of a field (and next to a path so there’s dog walkers aplenty) with views of the river Stour in the distance. The fact it’s so remote brings an instant feeling of relaxation.
Booking is by ballot only via the Living Architecture website which makes everything a bit faffy. For our Sunday night stay we have to book a minimum of two nights at a total cost of £1000. big gulp
Inside the space is stunning. The two story, two bedroom house is a shrine to Julie Cope, a fictional character invented by Grayson Perry. There are tapestries depicting her life and death, ceramic vases (worth an estimated £400,000 each) and the exterior and kitchen are covered in hand crafted Julie shaped tiles. It’s Julie-tastic.
The most impressive area is the bright red and yellow living room. There’s a huge bosom’d statue of Julie in between balconies from the two upstairs bedrooms. Below are two velvet armchairs with pouffes – the only really comfortable places to sit – and the takeaway moped that accidentally mows Julie down hangs from the ceiling. It’s odd sure, but breathtaking with it.
The weather is glorious so we take the kitchen table out the double doors to make the most of the sunset. With the house being so unusual both inside and out, the only negative we find is the surrounding grounds being unkempt and under-loved. It seems a shame that such a work of art is surrounding by overgrown and dead grass.
The bedrooms are small and not en suite but they’re more than suitable. Huge tapestries hang on the wall opposite the comfy beds – again, it’s more Julie. The bathroom has the most unusual bath ensuring a soak is most definitely required.
The whole House for Essex experience is one I shall never forget. And the weirdest thing about it – we felt a real connection with Julie – weird I know. If you’re looking to stay somewhere truly unique, likely to be a talking point for many moons to come, make the effort to book here. There’s nowhere like it on this planet.
Would we go back? Yes.