Grand Designs lighthouse, Devon : Grand Designs Magazine Grand Designs lighthouse, Devon
Grand Designs lighthouse, finished

Inside the North Devon maritime masterpiece

It took 11 years to complete this show-stopping lighthouse-style home

By Jason Podesta | 19 October 2022

When Edward and Hazel embarked on building their home, they estimated construction would take 18 months. But it was 11 years before Kevin McCloud could stroll around the completed property. Known as the Grand Designs lighthouse because of the four-storey tower overlooking the sea, the property perches on a North Devon clifftop.

The eventful project began in 2011 when the couple knocked down the 1950s house they lived in with their daughters, Nicole and Lauren, planning to replace it with something more befitting the site.

The Grand Designs Lighthouse with infinity pool and white-rendered rotunda

The Grand Designs lighthouse with tower and infinity pool. Photo: Mark Bolton

After the house was first revealed to the nation in 2019, it came to be known as the ‘saddest episode of Grand Designs ever’. Edward and Hazel split up during the build, and Edward faced seemingly insurmountable financial and construction difficulties.

But Edward pushed through these hardships and his uncompromising vision for the design and build quality of the house has resulted in one of the most impressive waterfront homes on the Devon coast.

a round living room in a million-pound Devon mansion

On the top floor of the tower, the storm room has a panoramic sea view. Photo: Mark Bolton

The Grand Designs lighthouse includes the four-storey tower adjacent and a two-storey block. There are six bedrooms, five bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna, cinema, cellar and infinity pool, plus access to the sea and a private beach. A three-bedroom annexe, known as The Eye, was built with the aim of securing funds for the entire project.

Inside the tower, there’s a ground-floor dining room with dramatic 9ft-tall windows, a first-floor dressing room with the main bedroom above. Edward’s favourite part of the house is the storm room, with its sweeping views of the sea. The spacious, open-plan kitchen and living area is the first floor of the two-storey section, with two en-suite bedrooms above that lead onto balconies overlooking the infinity pool.

infinity pool of a private residence on the North Devon coast

The infinity pool gives the illusion of merging with the sea. Photo: Mark Bolton

Edward expected the total cost of the project to be £1.8 million, but it came in at around £5.5-£6 million due to delays, the sheer complexity of the build and financing issues. He has been forced to sell his dream home, which is priced at £10 million – £8 million for the lighthouse and £2 million for The Eye. The two properties will be sold as a package.

Part of the reason for the huge build cost of the Grand Designs Lighthouse is down to its unique clifftop position. The house had to be anchored into the bedrock of the cliff and painstakingly engineered to ensure erosion wouldn’t cause any structural problems. It also required 100 tonnes of steel to support a concrete and brickwork frame that could withstand the elements, and around £200,000 worth of hurricane-proof triple-glazed windows.

Edward’s masterpiece is complete, just as he envisioned it and without compromise. ‘It’s worth it because it’s finished,’ he says. ‘It would not have been worth it, if it hadn’t been finished.’

Despite his initial reservations, Kevin McCloud was impressed by Edward’s endurance and his commitment to the project. ‘Three years ago, I described this as a cautionary tale of overreaching ambition. But in the face of overwhelming odds, Edward never once blinked. He pushed his dream to the end and achieved the near impossible.’

Edward Short with his now grown-up daughters, Nicole and Laure

Edward with his daughters, Nicole and Lauren. Photo: Mark Bolton