Last edited 08 Nov 2020

Main author

Michael Brooks

A House for Essex


A House for Essex, also known as ‘Julie’s House’, is a conceptual holiday home located at the end of a secluded cul-de-sac in Wrabness, Essex, overlooking the River Stour.

Commissioned by the philosopher Alain de Botton as part of his Living Architecture series, it was created by the Turner Prize-winning artist Grayson Perry in collaboration with the architecture studio FAT.

The house is a ‘mausoleum’ for a fictional Essex woman Julie Cope, which was built by her husband after a tragic accident. In this sense, it has been described as the ‘Taj Mahal of Essex’.

Completed in 2015, after five years in the making, the house comprises four incrementally-smaller sections with a copper-clad roof based on the complex pitches of medieval stave churches, with each of the segments expressed externally as a volume in its own right..

The outer structure is covered in green and white tiles and elaborately decorated with ornaments including a wheel, a large ceramic egg, an aluminium weather vane, and thousands of ceramic nipples.


The interior is dominated by similarly elaborate iconography depicting the fictional Julie as a saint, with mouldings, mosaic floors, tapestries, balconies, and decorative timber, ceramic pots, statues and glazing. There are also a number of art works by Perry, celebrating the ‘history and psyche of Essex.’

After featuring as the subject of a Channel 4 documentary in 2015, the house is open to the public for short-stay holiday lets through ballot selection.

--Michael Brooks

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