English architecture is so much more than magnificent castles and pickle-shaped skyscrapers, and it’s a message the team behind Living Architecture has been pushing for the past five years.

The social enterprise, founded by philosopher and writer Alain de Botton, is a holiday home rental company with a strong design slant; world-famous architects are commissioned to build innovative homes in hopes of promoting the enjoyment of modern architecture in the UK. Its newest completed project, A House for Essex, doesn’t disappoint on the uniqueness front.

Designed by English artist Grayson Perry, the two-bedroom holiday home was (clearly) inspired by “a history of follies”, as well as pilgrimage chapels and fairy tales.

But the rooms within have a story to tell, too. Perry dreamed up a fictional character, Julie, to whom her husband, Dave – also imagined – dedicated the house, following her untimely demise when she was run down by a curry delivery driver.

Julie’s accumulated effects are scattered throughout the house, giving guests a chance to discover her character. Ideal for those who don’t want to deal with the possibility of real ghosts in those charming English cottages.


Room For More

Have a stay at Living Architecture’s previous peculiarities

THE BALANCING BARN This precarious-looking house was designed by Dutch firm MVRDV and is located in Suffolk. It appears small and traditional, but actually spans a theatrical 30m in length.
A ROOM FOR LONDON This cosy boat-shaped abode by David Kohn Architects and artist Fiona Banner is big enough for only two, and sits brazenly on top of London’s Southbank Centre.