Delays and escalating costs derailed this ambitious self-build, but 10 years later, Chesil Cliff House is nearly complete, and going up for sale.
The disaster-laden property, known as the 'Lighthouse home', featured on Grand Designs in 2019, suffered delays and setbacks, forcing self-builders Edward and Hazel Short to take out huge loans to fund the project. But even that wasn't enough, and Edward was forced to not only leave the building half-finished after running out of money, it also cost him his marriage.
Located on a crumbling clifftop in Croyde, North Devon, the property has taken Edward almost a decade to complete, but with new financing in place, work resumed in 2020 and the property now finally nears completion and is being prepared for sale.
Image: Alan Phillips Architects
Watch the episode: North Devon, 2019
Chesil Cliff House is positioned on a three-acre site between surfers’ paradise Saunton Sands, backed by the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Braunton Burrows, and Croyde cove, beyond which sits the National Trust's Baggy Point.
Part of the reason for the huge build cost was that, due to the unique clifftop position of the property, it had to be anchored into the bed rock of the cliff and painstakingly engineered to ensure erosion doesn't leave the property at risk. Engineered by HOP Consulting, the firm behind marine developments such as Brighton Marina, it has a very high design and build quality.
Both this, and Edward’s uncompromising vision and dedication to his passion project, mean that the Lighthouse is one of the most impressive waterfront homes on the North Devon coast.
'There is nothing else to compare [Chesil Cliff House] to on the market right now,' said Christopher Bailey, Head of National Waterfront, Knight Frank. 'It certainly sits at the very top of the national coastal waterfront market and I have no doubt it will attract keen interest globally.'
The south-facing Chesil Cliff House, which has access to the water and a private beach, has five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna and a cellar. The property also comes with a three-bedroom annexe known as The Eye - orginally built by Edward to help secure financing for the rest of the project - and a double garage.
'The architectural concept had to be bold and elegant,' said the architect, professor Alan Phillips. 'That was achieved through the use of contrasting geometries - rectangles and circles - culminating in a poolside, four-storey, glass-topped rotunda, and a guest house cut out of the rock face with sea views framed by a single arch.'
So finally, it looks like Edward's story will have a happy ending of sorts: 'I’ll always be proud to have finished this,' he says. '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.'
Chesil Cliff House and The Eye will launch to the open market with a guide price of £10 million at the end of 2021. Interested parties can register their interest through Knight Frank
To get the full story and discover the details of the projects from the upcoming series of Grand Designs, subscribe to the print magazine now