The owner of a lighthouse-inspired home which appeared on the ‘saddest ever’ Grand Designs has revealed how his fashion buyer ex-wife worked as a cleaner in order to fund his £7 million build.
Edward Short, 52, is now selling the extraordinary Chesil Cliff House, in Croyde, Devon, after spending a decade on the ambitious project which saw him transform his family’s 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse.
It featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs in October 2019, and was described as the ‘saddest episode ever’ by many viewers after the music industry executive revealed that the arrival of the recession, building issues and the end of his marriage to wife Hazel had left his dream in tatters.
Father-of-two Edward remained adamant he would finish the design – yet his dream of an idyllic existence in the stunning cliff-top home in one of Devon’s most picturesque coastal locations was dashed and he admitted earlier last year he would be forced to sell it in the hopes of a £4million profit once it was completed at the end of 2021.
The house was finally put on the market for £10 million last month- despite not having a kitchen, bathroom, flooring or light fixtures – with Edward insisting it had all been worth it.
And he has now revealed the extraordinary lengths he and his family went to in order to complete his dream, telling The Sun how Hazel, who once worked at luxury stores like Harrods and Selfridges, had to pick up odd jobs to try to complete his ‘messed up dream.’
He revealed he wanted to ‘give Hazel security’ in her life, adding: ‘Hazel supported me and did amazing things to try to keep things going here, learning accountancy and doing holiday-let cleaning…She was very successful, working as a fashion buyer for Harrods, Selfridges and Simpsons, so to get to this age and have nothing is hard.’
Edward Short, the owner of a lighthouse-inspired home which appeared on the ‘saddest ever’ Grand Designs, has revealed how his ex-fashion buyer wife Hazel picked up cleaning jobs in order to fund his £7 million build
The father-of-two has now revealed the extraordinary lengths he and his family went to in order to complete his dream, explaining how Hazel, who once worked at luxury stores like Harrods and Selfridges, had to pick up odd jobs to try to complete his ‘messed up dream’
Property consultancy Knight Frank are currently selling the main house and its annex known as The Eye, with a guide price of £10million
And while he said the breakdown of his 20-year marriage was not entirely due to the stress caused by the build, he explained he would ‘always carry a sense of guilt’ for what he ‘put Hazel through.’
He added: ‘It was awful for the family because I pulled the stability rug from under them, without being able to give answers of how we were going to get out of it, other than that I had to carry on.’
Elsewhere, he explained he plans to marry his fiancee Jalia Nambasa, whom he met through online dating, next summer.
The couple are currently living at her house in Bath but he hopes to buy another property near the Devon house for the family to enjoy.
The owner of a lighthouse-inspired home which appeared on the ‘saddest ever’ Grand Designs offered a first glimpse inside the ‘finished’ £10 million property last month – despite the fact it has no kitchen or bathrooms fitted
The house is now on the market for £10 million – despite not having a kitchen, bathroom, flooring or light fixtures – with Edward insisting it had all been worth it (pictured, a study in the property)
The ambitious cliff-top property, which has taken Edward ten years and £7 million to complete, has stunning views of the surrounding countryside
Photographs revealing the finished property were unveiled last month, showing the white art-deco lighthouse perched on the edge of a cliff with an infinity pool running along one edge – just as Edward had always dreamed of.
Speaking to The Times last month, he claimed his ex-wife Hazel was ‘blown away’ when she first saw the house, and adding: ‘I think having been unsure for so long, its only when you get to that final moment of builders pulling out — with finishing touches done and furniture in — that it’s, like, ‘Yeah, now I get it.’ ‘
Meanwhile he revealed he and his family watched the episode of Grand Designs together, adding: ‘We laughed and we cried, it was very emotional.’
And despite all the issues and problems that came with the house, Edward said he had learned not to ‘worry’ which he said was just ‘burning energy unnecessarily.’
He added he hadn’t fited a kitchen, bathrooms, flooring and light fixtures, saying: ‘Whoever buys it will want to do their own thing.’
Last July, property consultancy Knight Frank announced the launch of the sale of the main house and its annex known as The Eye, with a guide price of £10million.
The property 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
The 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.
It has been anchored into the bed rock of the cliff, painstakingly engineered to a level that leaves no possibility for erosion hazards.
The agents described the property as one of the most impressive waterfront homes around and said they expected ‘global interest’ in the sale.
It comprises of five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna and a cellar. The property also includes the three-bedroom studio annex known as The Eye and a double garage.
Many of the bedrooms have stunning floor to ceiling windows offering a panoramic view of the sea and cliffside beyond (pictured)
Meanwhile the expansive master bedroom has a view down onto the infinity pool on the ground floor level and the cliffs beyond
One side of the house features enormous floor to ceiling windows which offer a view out onto the sea and cliff beyond (pictured)
Edward has previously revealed he has had no option but to sell the home to cover the large amount of money he had to borrow during the project, explaining that total costs were set to reach £6million.
From £6million debt to a wrecked marriage: 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 started again at the property and Edward said he hopes it will be finished by the end of the year
2022: Property is listed for sale for £10 million. Edward said his family are ‘proud’ of what he has achieved
Speaking last July, he said: ‘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.
‘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.’
Edward previously apologised to locals who he said were fed up of seeing the unfinished grey eyesore on the point, but 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.’
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,’ said Edward, speaking of how he decided to revamp their existing property.
‘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 near-impossible to complete. 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’.
Edward initially appeared on Grand Designs in 2010 with his wife Hazel and their family (pictured) when they described their ‘dream’ of building their lighthouse home
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’
Many had been concerned Edward, who has been hampered by financial problems during the build, would never finish the project (pictured)
For much of the last decade, the unfinished grey eyesore has been a point of concern for locals who were fed up of the ongoing building work
An artist’s impression of their dream home with a four storey observation tower and a glass- fronted infinity pool
The challenges of the build quickly became evident, with the couple struggling to stay within their budget or on deadline
In February 2016, Edwards secured a loan of £2.5million from private investors, which he admitted he was depending on to finish the build.
He told Grand Designs’ host 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.
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 £7million.
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’.
When Kevin returned to the house in 2019, he found the property was a building site, and called it ‘a skeleton’
Despite the state of the desolate building after a decade of development, Edward said he couldn’t stop trying to finish the lighthouse
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.
The house was described as ‘a skeleton’ on Grand Designs in 2019, but Edward insisted he wanted to finish the home
‘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. 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.’ A third 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.’