It’s not unusual to see couples struggling with their relationships while appearing on Grand Designs. After all – the pressure is high: expensive project, inevitable overspend, and Kevin McCloud beadily assessing your work. It’s extremely hard to do it without a camera being shoved in your face – and thousands of viewers judging you for going over your budget.
For some couples, the pressure ends up being too much – as it did for Edward and Hazel Short, the pair behind one of the most well-known properties to appear on Grand Designs.
Dubbed one of the saddest-ever episodes, Kevin McCloud will tonight revisit the infamous build in a special episode airing tonight.
The Channel 4 presenter has travelled back to North Devon for the show, which will air at 9pm, to revisit the infamous Lighthouse, a £7million build which was the vision of Edward, who appeared on the show in 2019 with wife Hazel.
Short, 52, spent a decade building the extraordinary Chesil Cliff House, in Croyde, Devon, with the ambitious project seeing him transform his family’s 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse.
But his episode was dubbed the ‘saddest episode ever’ by many viewers after the music industry executive revealed that the turbulent market (and recession), a slew of building issues and the end of his marriage had left his dream in tatters.
But he bounced back – which viewers will see tonight in the much-awaited episode.
At first, the couple inspired viewers with their elaborate plans to build a wildly ambitious family home.
The incredible home at Down End Point, a renowned beauty spot in North Devon, would have seen the family of four – including daughters Nicole and Lauren – decamping from London for a new way of life
And it wasn’t any ordinary style home (of course it wasn’t – this is Grand Designs after all). The five-bedroom house includes a four-storey tower from which inhabitants can gaze across the sea.
It was set to include a further four bedrooms in the main body of the house, a sauna, a cinema and a 60ft glass-edged infinity pool with views over Croyde Bay.
In the initial episode, confident Edward told an unsure looking Kevin McCloud that they would be finished in just 18 months, and would spend no more than £1.8 million.
However, the project ended in disaster as the couple ended up splitting, while the family were plunged into millions of pounds of debt.
Earlier this year the house finally went up for sale – for a whopping £10M after Edward spent a decade working on Chesil Cliff House – and now he has shared off his hard work in a triumphant episode.
Last year he admitted in an interview: “There’s no point in regrets, but obviously if I had any idea of what it would cost the marriage and my family, I wouldn’t have done it. I had started it; it’s not easy to back out of this.”
He added: “There were quite a few days where I looked temptingly at the cliff edge and thought life might be better down there, but that wouldn’t have helped anyone, would it? I couldn’t give up on that image I had of [the house].”
But he finished the impressive project, which estate agents dubbed “one of the most impressive waterfront homes on the North Devon coast.”
Kevin also reflected on the original unforgettable episode and told Stuff that the project had stayed in his memory
The presenter said: “That was an amazing story – things just spiralled. Many people reacted to it and thought we were (spinning) a moral tale.
“But we didn’t set out to push a moral tale. The build was supposed to be a beautiful folly.
“I already happened to know the architect, and it was a great location with a great group of people. It was all fitting into place. But when it did spiral, it went very badly wrong.”
It comprises of five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna and a cellar. The property will also include the three-bedroom studio annexe known as The Eye and double garage.
A Knight Frank spokesperson added: “Chesil Cliff House is positioned on a three-acre site between surfers’ paradise Saunton Sands backed by the impressive UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Braunton Burrows, and the idyllic cove of Croyde, beyond which sits National Trust-owned Baggy Point.
“Not only does the property boast high design and build quality, it also has a south-facing position and an ease of access to the water with a private beach and foreshore.”
Christopher Bailey, Head of National Waterfront, Knight Frank, added: “Chesil Cliff House will be the most significant coastal property to come to the open market in the West Country for many years.
“It is iconic in the true meaning of the word and there is nothing else to compare it to on the market right now.
“It certainly sits at the very top of the national coastal waterfront market and I have no doubt it will attract keen interest globally.”
Edward said previously that the time was right to move on.
He added: “I’ll always be proud to have finished this. I owe it to my family to have a real end result, but the time has come to move on.
“I will have achieved what I set out to do, never deviating from the plans, and for that I’ll always be proud.”
The house has been anchored into the bed rock of the cliff, painstakingly engineered to a level that leaves no possibility for erosional hazard.
Edward said he had no option but to sell it to cover the large amount of money he had to borrow.
He added: “These past ten years have been a marathon slog – and I have got used to being a millionaire in debt.
“I’ve accepted the only way forward is to finish and sell it.”