Who would holiday in a house like this? / Channel 4 News / 2015
The house acts as a shrine to an ordinary, twice-married fictional Essex woman named Julie Cope, born in Canvey Island and raised in Basildon, who died in an accident with a pizza delivery scooter. But for Grayson, and the people of Essex he wins round to realise the project, she’s very real – she’s them, their mothers, their sisters, their aunts. Even the builders treat the Julie figures as a real woman, "it’s like bringin’ ‘er home to mum and dad,” says one as her swollen-bellied likeness is lifted in. ➡︎
Perry cites the origin of A House for Essex as a game that he played with his daughter in which they would invent a character and then flesh out a personality by drawing their house and other accoutrements.
The building was a teetering construction, the kind of primitive DIY gothic found in children’s books. “There’s a lot going on,” Perry acknowledged. “Like many people I think modernism’s got a bit kitsch, it’s gone downmarket.” Further sketches were similarly eccentric and unbuildable: “It’s all a bit Lord of the Rings – my inner hobbit was definitely getting out of hand. Charles’s job was basically to talk me down from my kitsch excesses. To give it some architectural dignity, so it wouldn’t look like a stage set.” ➡︎