A House for Essex by FAT
and Grayson Perry


Architects FAT have teamed up with artist Grayson Perry to design a house inspired by fairytales on the east coast of England.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

A House for Essex is the latest project from Alain de Botton's Living Architecture enterprise, which commissions celebrated architects to design contemporary houses for UK holiday rentals.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Scheduled for completion in 2014, the house will feature four slanted roofs with symbolic statues on the apex of each one, arched dormer windows and patterned walls. "The exterior of the house responds to this contemporary romantic landscape, forming something that is both ancient and modern, archetypal and imbued with narrative," said architect Charles Holland.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

"The idea behind this project relates to buildings put up as memorials to loved ones, to follies, to eccentric home-built structures, to shrines, lighthouses and fairytales," added Perry. "There are much loved buildings all over the county and the country built in the same spirit."

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Ground floor plan - click above for larger image

Perry's colourful tapestries will hang from the walls inside the house, and the artist will also add mosaic floors, decorative timber panels and a series of ornamental pots. Meanwhile, two bedrooms on the first floor will have balconies that overlook the double-height living room, while a bath will be suspended over the entranceway below. "It is a hybrid building, part house and part gallery," explained Holland. "Internally, this combination of domestic and formal uses creates a rich interplay between public and private space."

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

First floor plan - click above for larger image

Other projects in the Living Architecture series include a house that cantilevers over the edge of a hill and a boat-like structure on the roof of London’s Southbank Centre.

See all our stories about Living Architecture »
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Here's some information from Living Architecture:

Living Architecture is delighted to announce that it will be working with architecture practice FAT and artist Grayson Perry to build a unique new house in the north Essex countryside.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

End elevation - click above for larger image

The house, near Wrabness on the North Essex coast, is both an artwork in itself and the setting for a number of works by Grayson Perry exploring the special character and unique qualities of Essex.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Side elevation - click above for larger image

The building has been designed to evoke a tradition of wayside and pilgrimage chapels. It is a singular building, appearing as a small, beautifully crafted object amongst the trees and fields. It belongs to a history of follies, whilst also being deeply of its own time.

Visitors entering the house from the south will pass through a series of spaces that become increasingly formal, culminating in a double-height living room lined with decorative timber panelling and Grayson Perry’s richly coloured tapestries. Upstairs there are two bedrooms which will have views across the landscape to the east and west.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Context elevation one - click above for larger image

The stepping up of the volumes creates a series of interlocking spaces on the inside where each pushes into the other. The first floor bedrooms, for instance, will also have balconies that look into the living room space, and the bath offers an unusual location from which to observe visitors in the hallway.

The interior of the house will contain a number of specially commissioned art works by Grayson Perry including beautiful tapestries, pots, decorative timberwork and mosaic floors, celebrating the history and psyche of Essex.

A House for Essex by FAT and Grayson Perry

Context elevation two - click above for larger image

Living Architecture is delighted that the planners at Tendring District Council approved the planning application, following strong local support for the project. Construction will start in 2013, and the house will be completed in 2014.

  • Theo

    I really want to see this built. There aren’t enough true follies in the landscape.

  • Gaz

    Thank heavens for Grayson Perry. An incredibly beautiful design. I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can visit.

  • felix

    Looks pretty awful but that’s probably just the bad rendering. Real timber will probably look really nice.

  • Cooperton

    Would love some of the living architecture projects to be designed with wheelchair accessibility.

  • zizi

    Intelligent and refreshing, nice!

  • bill

    Tidy plan.

  • Ralph Kent

    Let's hope this is detailed better than the majority of FAT projects – but from looking at the quality of the model & renders, I won't be holding my breath.

  • Linda, Essex

    I live in Essex and the houses already look like this! Joking – I love the work of Grayson Perry.

  • jens

    Editors: the plan descriptions are wrong. Ground floor must be first and accordingly the first is the ground.

    • Hi Jens, thanks for pointing that out! I’ve switched them now.



    Fire the Part 1 who did the photoshop work around the render on the first image. Shocking!