A man who ‘destroyed his family’ by spending 10 years and £6 million building an art-deco lighthouse on Grand Designs has vowed the property will finally be finished and on the market by the end of the year.
Edward Short, 50, and his wife Hazel, from Devon, first appeared on Grand Designs in 2009 to reveal their ambitious plan to transform their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse.
In October 2019, the music industry executive appeared on the programme to reveal that the arrival of the recession, building issues and the breakdown of their marriage had left the dream in tatters, and almost a decade on, the lighthouse remains unfinished.
Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, has now said he is determined to finish the project by the end of 2021, said: ‘These past ten years have been a marathon slog – and I have got used to being a millionaire in debt.
Edward Short, 50, who has a life-long dream of building a lighthouse has vowed to complete the project – after being left in debt of almost £6 million and sacrificing his marriage for the build
Edward first appeared on Grand Designs in 2010 to reveal their ambitious plan to transform their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse – but the property remains in ruins a decade on
Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, has now said he is determined to finish the project by the end of 2021
The self builder, who is in £6 million of debt over the build, has said the ‘only way forward’ is to finish the project and ‘sell it’
‘I’ve accepted the only way forward is to finish and sell it.
‘We had to take a few breaks to refinance because it’s so expensive, but we got things things moving again last year.
‘It’s a big ask but I think we’ll see it on the market by the end of the year.’
The unique location at Down End Point boasts panoramic views across Croyde Bay to the north as well as to Saunton beach and Braunton Burrows to the south.
The luxury home once finished was planned to feature a huge circular tower based on a lighthouse design along with a spectacular ‘glass edge’ infinity swimming pool, a home cinema and a sauna and steam room
The luxury home once finished was planned to feature a huge circular tower based on a lighthouse design along with a spectacular ‘glass edge’ infinity swimming pool, a home cinema and a sauna and steam room.
He said: ‘We’re most of the way there with the building work now, and it certainly looks a lot better than it did.
‘We’re currently we’re putting down underfloor heating, completing the driveway and adding linings to the pool.
‘I have professionals currently designing the interior because you can’t take shortcuts on a high-end property like this.’
Edward initially appeared on Grand Designs in 2009 with his wife Hazel when they described their ‘dream’ of building their lighthouse home
Timeline of how Chesil Cliff House went from home of dreams to a nightmare
2010: Edward and his wife Hazel appear on Grand Designs to reveal their plan to turn their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse in 18 months. Plans for the development were submitted and approved but several delays ensued.
2012: Spiralling costs and the financial crisis puts the project on hold.
2014: Building work finally gets underway, but is hit by delays due to the weather and financial woes.
2016: Edward secures a loan for more than £2million from private investors
2017: Project is halted again after the pair run out of money.
2018: Couple apologise to local residends who complain the unfinished building is an eyesore
2019: Edward appears on Grand Designs again, admitting that only a few rooms have been finished and that his marriage to Hazel has collapsed under the strain
2021: Building work has started again at the property and Edward says he hopes it will be finished and on the market by the end of the year
Despite being the dream home he had always hoped to build, Edward has said that even when Chesil Cliff House is complete, he will have to sell it.
‘At this point, I need to spend more money to stand a chance at getting any of my money back,’ he said.
Edward has previously apologised to locals who he said were fed up of seeing the unfinished grey eyesore on the point, but he also asked them to ‘stick with it’.
He had told them: ‘I know it’s a mess, and I have to fix that – but when it is finished it will be amazing.
‘Judge it when it’s finished.’
The building now sports a more attractive white exterior but it’s still covered in scaffolding – although Edward says that will likely be coming down soon.
He added: ‘The project will have cost me £6 million in total – double what professionals originally valued.
‘I had no idea it would end up costing so much but I’ve accepted now that I’m never going to be able to live in it because I have money I need to pay back.
‘It was my overconfidence and arrogance that got me here in the first place so I’m doing what I need to do.
‘Even though I’ll be selling it, I’m still finding it so exciting to see this concrete skeleton finally coming together into a beautiful building.’
In a 2019 episode of Grand Designs, Edward explained that he’d long dreamed of building a lighthouse on the cliff – but said several factors got in the way.
‘I always looked at it and thought it would be so cool to knock it down and build a lighthouse,’ says Edward, speaking of how he decided to revamp their existing property.
The couple, who lived in a fairly modest house on the clifftop (pictured) before they started the build, explained they wanted a house which would do the site ‘justice’
The couple said they planned to tear down their family home and build an enormous lighthouse in it’s place, costing £2.2 million and taking 18 months
An artist’s impression of their dream home with a four storey observation tower and a glass- fronted infinity pool
‘Once you get a dream like that in your head it just doesn’t budge. It’s just one of those spots where you could expect to find that type of building.’
The couple planned to build the luxury home, comprised of a huge circular tower and spectacular glass-edge infinity pool, in just 18 months.
The six-bedroom house, which they hoped would also feature a home cinema, a sauna and steam room, would boast panoramic views across Croyde Bay to the north, as well as to Saunton beach and Braunton Burrows to the south.
They hoped it would cost £2.2 million, but it quickly became apparent the build was impossible to complete.
The challenges of the build quickly became evident, with the couple struggling to stay within their budget or on deadline
Edward struggled to acknowledge the project was ‘dangerous’ for the construction team to work on due to its clifftop location.
He said: ‘That’s a dangerous site for a construction team to work on. I think professional fees are around a quarter of a million, but they will make sure it’s done properly.’
The house required complex engineering, with the couple sinking 25 ‘anchors’ into the rock in order to support the home.
But by February 2012, the financial collapse meant they had to put plans on hold and they started to build a smaller building further along the coastline which they nicknamed the ‘eye’.
Hazel described the project as ‘scary’ and she worried at night about whether they’d have to sell the whole thing
In February 2016, Edwards secured a loan of £2.5 million from private investors, which he admitted he was depending on to finish the build.
He told Kevin the project had become a nightmare, saying: ‘Terrifying is an adjective that doesn’t really sum it up if I’m honest.’
When Kevin asked if he could have compromised, Edward said: ‘You are right but the concept is very difficult to walk away from. No to compromise. To owe over £2million now is scary you think ‘Christ this is mounting up’.’
With the financial pressure growing, Hazel said she was becoming increasingly worried.
When Kevin returned to the house in 2019, he found the property was a building site, and called it ‘a skeleton’
At the time, Edward said he hoped he could continue building the home, adding that he thought it would take £2 million to finish the property
She said: ‘Worse case scenario is we will have to sell the whole thing. Yes, that’s a scary thing and yes, that keeps me up at night.’
With debts of over three million, the couple were trapped by the thought that if they were to finish the project, it could end up selling for £7 million.
But when Kevin returned to the property in 2019, he found it was still unfinished.
The presenter described it as ‘the bare bones of a house and more like a desolate carcass’.
Despite the state of the desolate building after a decade of development, Edward said he couldn’t stop trying to finish the lighthouse
The house was described as ‘a skeleton’ on Grand Designs in 2019, but Edward insisted he wanted to finish the home
He went on to say: ‘It’s a little bit like finding the wreckage of a building on a seashore’.
Edward said: ‘I’ve had better days I must admit. It all came to a halt in June, July 2017. I ran out of money.’
He revealed: ‘A bit of an eyesore is the feeling at the moment. I sometimes wonder if I might have been too ambitious. There’s what I want, and there’s reality.’
At the time, he told Kevin his marriage had collapsed due to the strain, insisted he would still try to finish the building.
He said: ‘I don’t have the option of not finishing. To finish it may take over £2 million.
There are very few finished rooms in the property, with the ‘dining room’ (pictured above) one of the nearest completion
A decade on, Edward feels the only way to move forward is to finish his over-the-top art deco lighthouse project
‘This is a beast, this is a baby that is so hungry it will eat me. It’s that savage now. The end-game could still be bankruptcy.
‘If there is one huge guilt I have over everything, it’s the impact on my family.’
He said the build had destroyed his marriage, saying: ‘We parted properly last year.
‘I put her through a horrendous time with this, knocking the family home down, putting all our money into it, no one has any idea what the outcome is. It doesn’t get much worse than that.’
Despite his assurances that the project will be finished by the end of the year, many of the rooms are completely open to the elements and nowhere near complete
Edward’s unfinished home is a far cry from his original plans of an epic family home for him, his wife and his children (pictured, one of the rooms)
Edward’s wife Hazel left him after he put her through a ‘horrendous time’ with the build – which has landed him in £6 million debts
The lighthouse remains wholly unfinished, although Edward said the lining of the pool is now in, as well as the driveway (pictured, one of the rooms)
Edward was criticised when he appeared on Grand Designs in 2019 for his ‘vanity’ and ‘greed’ over the project
‘I have to take it on the chin – my ambitional vanity has probably collapsed the marriage. That’s the truth.’
At the time, viewers were shocked by Edward’s attitude, with one writing: ‘Christ, a perfectly good home demolished, a beautiful cliff destroyed, family life in ruins, and divorce. Has there ever been a more tragic Grand Designs?’
Another added: ‘I never want to wish ill on anyone but I’ve never wanted anyone to fail more than this greedy, entitled family.’
Another said: ‘Honestly this couple on #GrandDesigns go bankrupt I won’t even feel bad for them. This is potentially the most irresponsible and greedy build I’ve ever seen.’
The house has remained unfinished for a decade, although Edward now hopes it’ll be finished in the next few months
Progress has started to be made on the building of the lighthouse, with the outside now coated in white
Meanwhile self builder Edward said the lining of the pool on the grounds of the light house is now in
Source: Daily Mail UK