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Was This The Most Ambitious House Renovation Project Ever?

When most of us contemplate house renovations, we might have in mind installing a new kitchen or bathroom. However, Edward Short decided to take the concept to a whole new level. House Beautiful recently reported on the rollercoaster fortunes of the lighthouse project that featured in a Grand Designs episode in 2019.

The story begins back in 2011, when Edward and his wife Hazel decided to build a luxury property based on the design of an Art Deco lighthouse near Croyde, on a clifftop in Devon. However, the project was beset by setbacks and delays over the following eight years, and it drove the marriage to break down as the couple teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. 

The story has a happy ending however, as the project, now known as Chesil Cliff House, is finally finished, albeit still without a fitted bathroom or kitchen. This has been left deliberately open to allow the new buyer to put their own stamp on the property. The original asking price of £10m has been lowered and it will now be sold as two separate properties. 

Speaking about his hard-won achievement, Edward said: '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.'

Estate agent Knight Frank commented: 'Chesil Cliff House is a genuine one off. 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. Without doubt it is one of the very finest homes to come to market on the national coastal waterfront.'

The presenter of Grand Designs, Kevin McCloud, kept in touch with Edward over the years, despite the varying fortunes of the project. 

Speaking recently, McCloud commented: 'Edward and his family have journeyed on an 11-year odyssey with this project. In the face of overwhelming odds, Edward never once blinked. He pushed his dream to the end and achieved the near-impossible.’

He added: 'Three years ago, I described this project as a cautionary tale of overreaching ambition, one which had damaged relationships, fractured a family, and which also, of course, had taken Ed to the brink of bankruptcy.’

‘But then you see, that same ambition, that same drive is what has taken Ed also to this point, a point where he can call this place finished, where the family can draw a line, they can move on. You know, buildings can sustain, not just physically, but also emotionally and spiritually, too.’ 

The elegant six-bedroom house features an 18-metre infinity pool, a lighthouse tower with a glazed observation room, 9ft high windows, and a cinema. 


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