Artist Grayson Perry’s first building, a striking “secular chapel” filled with his artwork, opened today for holiday stays but only for a limited period and by ballot. Perry has described the building, which stands alone among the rolling fields of rural north Essex, as the Taj Mahal on the river Stour because it tells the fictional story of a local woman, Julie, whose husband had the house built as a shrine on her death.
Now holidaymakers have a chance to stay in the folly cum artwork which ranges in price from £850 for two nights midweek to £1,800 for a three-night weekend. Covered in green and white tiles depicting a naked, pregnant Julie with a gold roof, the lavish interior features a double height living room lined with decorative timber panelling and Perry’s brightly coloured tapestries detailing Julie’s life. As well as boldly coloured walls and furniture, the space is decorated with ceramics and mosaics created by Perry. There is no white at all in the living area.
Upstairs there are two bedrooms with views across the landscape. “Having stayed there I know it as a very cosy, playful place, full of great little architectural games put in by Charles,” says Perry, referring to Charles Holland of FAT Architecture, the firm hired by Living Architecture to build the house.