Kevin McCloud says there’s still ‘lots of interest’ in Edward Short’s North Devon lighthouse

grand designs lighthouse for sale
Has the Grand Designs lighthouse been sold?Channel 4

The lighthouse from the 'saddest ever' episode of Grand Designs, which took 11 years to build and left its owner Edward Short in £7 million of debt, is still on the market but now at a lower price of £5.25 million.

The Grand Designs lighthouse has gone down as the most memorable – and most dramatic – build in the show’s history, yet the story is far from over. The house has yet to be sold and Edward has recently revealed plans to borrow a further £2 million to carry out more works.

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud still keeps in contact with Edward and said there is ‘lots of interest’ in the property. Speaking to House Beautiful to mark Grand Designs Live at London ExCel (4th May – 12th May 2024), Kevin said: 'He's had a couple of celebrities and I think he’s had a comedian or two, because it is quite an expensive house, and so consequently for people who are interested, they need to make loads of money, and that includes actors and performers and singers.

'Last time I met Ed he was sort of close to a deal, so that's all I know. It's a fabulous story. A story of hubris and over-reaching and destruction really, of things, of personal life, turned into a sort of story about redemption and growth, so it was an amazing thing. People called it the last ever Grand Designs, as if that was it, we were going to go out on a low. Why would they do that? Because it's a good headline.'

Why is the Grand Designs lighthouse still on the market?

After launching via Knight Frank in July 2022, Edward Short's luxury lighthouse property, Chesil Cliff House, and his adjacent three-bedroom cliff top annexe called The Eye, located in Croyde, North Devon, was on the market for £10 million.

In spring 2023 it had been taken off the market amid discussions with a buyer, however, in June 2023 the property listing returned, relaunching with a new, lower price of £7.5 million and with the two properties being sold separately.

The guide price changed again in autumn 2023, with Chesil Cliff House being marketed for a million less at £6.5 million.

There have been further developments in 2024, with the property being relisted once again at the end of January, this time listed via Savills on behalf of Joint Receivers, with a lower knockdown price of £5.25 million.

grand designs lighthouse for sale
Chesil Cliff House and The EyeKnight Frank

Edward revealed the previous sale fell through because the old driveway built in the 1960s had become 'a concern' after showing signs of structural failure. Edward now plans to borrow another £2 million to fix the driveway and install fixtures and fittings, including a kitchen and bathrooms, in an attempt to restore its original asking price of £10 million.

'It's been passed on to the receivers but that means you lose control of how it’s sold, and if they sell for their listed price of £5.25 million I will have lost an awful lot of money,' Edward told The Sun, explaining that he is in 'a triangle of negotiation' with the potential lender and the receivers to gain back control.

The story behind the Grand Designs lighthouse

Completion of Edward's lighthouse faced prolonged delays, in many ways mirroring the well-documented early struggles of the build in a 2019 episode of Channel 4's self-build series, Grand Designs, presented by Kevin McCloud.

In a nutshell: In 2011, Edward and his wife Hazel set out to build a lighthouse on the North Devon coast, but by 2019 they were near bankruptcy with just a rusting shell to show for it – and their marriage collapsed too.

But, Edward never gave up on his dream, and fast forward to July 2022, and the landmark lighthouse-inspired property, Chesil Cliff, and a smaller adjacent house known as The Eye, officially hit the market via Knight Frank, described as 'one of the UK's most spectacular coastal homes'.

It was widely reported that former One Direction star Harry Styles had stepped in to buy the property, but Knight Frank dismissed the claims in a statement saying there was 'no truth' to the rumours.

'I'll always be proud to have finished this,' Edward previously said of his decade-long passion project. '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.'

grand designs lighthouse, chesil cliff house in croyde, devon, for sale
Engineered by HOP Consulting (the firm behind marine developments such as Brighton Marina), Chesil Cliff House and its annexe known as The Eye, is still on the open market, now available as separate properties.Knight Frank

Inside the finished property

Positioned on a three-acre site between surfers' paradise Saunton Sands, Chesil Cliff House is backed by the impressive UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Braunton Burrows, and the idyllic cove of Croyde, beyond which sits National Trust-owned Baggy Point.

grand designs lighthouse, chesil cliff house in croyde, devon, for sale
Knight Frank

Complete to a 'white box finish', Chesil Cliff House is, quite literally, a complete blank canvas with no fitted bathrooms or kitchen, giving the incoming buyer the opportunity to put their own mark on the property. There are five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, and a breathtaking infinity pool.

A cantilevered bridge provides the driveway down to Chesil Cliff where the principal living space has been designed to take advantage of the unique outlook stretching far out to sea.

The entrance on the first floor is where you'll find the reception hall and sitting room, which gives access to three bedrooms. The principal bedroom boasts an outstanding view over the infinity pool. There's also a dressing area and spacious en-suite bathroom with space for a large bath, double shower and double basin.

grand designs lighthouse, chesil cliff house in croyde, devon, for sale
Knight Frank

The ground floor offers expansive living areas, including a large kitchen area ready to be fitted out, and a cinema. Steps lead down to the dining room in the circular section of the house, with double height ceiling, floor to ceiling windows, and floor to ceiling glazed doors that lead out to the terrace.

You can take advantage of the views from the living room, thanks to the floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors leading to the infinity pool. In fact, numerous curves throughout the property provide various areas to stop and enjoy the view, and in this house, the views get better and better as the height increases.

The second floor can be accessed directly from the garage, and a spiral staircase leads to the third floor which contains the unique storm room offering panoramic sea views from one of the most spectacular vantage points on the entire coastline.

A unique feature of Chesil Cliff that sets it apart from other coastal properties is the extent of the grounds (totalling three acres), the foreshore, and the direct water access.

Meanwhile, over at The Eye (the three-bedroom studio annexe), you'll find adaptable secondary accommodation to the main house. All on one level, it boasts far-reaching sea views, a front terrace with a sunken hot tub, and a striking architectural design.

Click below for a full house tour:

Hamish Humfrey, partner in Knight Frank’s country department, previously described the property as a 'genuine one off' and 'without doubt one of the very finest homes to come to market on the national coastal waterfront', praising its south-facing position and ease of access to the water with a private beach and foreshore.

View the new listing via Rightmove.

The architecture

lighthouse grand designs, edward short, chesil cliff house for sale in croyde north devon
A new image of Chesil Cliff House released early 2022Image courtesy of Alan Phillips Architects

Edward's original plan was a six-bedroom lighthouse with an 18-metre infinity pool, cinema, 9ft high windows, and a glazed observation room at the top of the tower with uninterrupted views to the sea beyond.

Due to the unique clifftop position of the property, the lighthouse has been anchored into the bed rock of the cliff, painstakingly engineered to a level that leaves no possibility for erosional hazard.

grand designs   north devon lighthouse
Original lighthouse design previewed on Grand DesignsChannel 4

Professor Alan Phillips, architect of Chesil Cliff House, said: 'Our commission provided a rare opportunity to design a contemporary coastal house in one of the most beautiful places in England. The architectural concept had to be bold and elegant. 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.'

What happened on the first episode of Grand Designs?

The episode, which first aired in October 2019, is a memorable one. In fact, it's one of the most watched and talked about episodes of Grand Designs, described by viewers as both 'sad' and 'tragic'. (You can watch the episode on Channel 4 here).

The episode followed Edward, his wife Hazel, and their two daughters Lauren and Nicole over eight years as he pursued his 'little boy's dream' of a white art deco-style lighthouse along the rugged clifftop.

In 2011 the couple demolished their 1950s house to embark on the mammoth build and it's a project they hoped would take just 18 months to complete, but it soon spiralled out of control. It was a slow and complicated build – there were funding issues, and the couple even built a separate single-storey house called The Eye to borrow money against it. Kevin returned to visit the site in 2019, and by then, Edward was £4 million in debt, with an unfinished house and a collapsed marriage.

grand designs   north devon lighthouse
At the end of the 2019 episode, Edward (left) revealed to Kevin (right) that his marriage collapsed and he had been left in millions of pounds in debtChannel 4

Want a full recap of the episode? See our breakdown here

Grand Designs: North Devon Revisited 2022

Viewers of Grand Designs revisited Edward's lighthouse in the 23rd series. The follow-up episode, which aired on Channel 4 (19th October 2022), documented the strenuous build.

Kevin returned to the building site in June 2022, marking three years since he had last seen Edward, and he said he was 'dreading' it. But, in a turn of events, he was rather impressed to see the finished result. 'Oh my giddy aunt,' Kevin exclaimed, as he approached the building. 'Everything here is epic.'

After taking a tour of the property, Kevin commented: 'How Edward has managed to finish his Bond villain's lair is mystifying.'

grand designs revisited north devon lighthouse
Channel 4

Edward thought the lighthouse would cost £1.8 million at the start of this project some 11 years ago. 'Now the total build cost across the site is probably around £5.5 – £6 million,' he admitted.

'Was it worth it? Given all the things you've had to actually deprive yourself of?’ Kevin questioned.

'It's worth it because it's finished,' Edward said. 'It would not have been worth it had it not been finished. It would have been painful. Very painful.'

In his closing monologue, Kevin reflected on the lighthouse project:

'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.

'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. Their walls can contain within them angst and pain, as well as love and joy. But I don't think I have ever visited a place which so eloquently, so powerfully spoke of healing, redemption, and achievement.'

Why doesn't Edward live in the lighthouse if the build is now finished?

Edward has to sell the house in order to cover the substantial amount of money borrowed to build it. The project has left him £7 million in debt.

grand designs   north devon lighthouse
The lighthouse pictured in 2019Channel 4

Edward previously called the strenuous build a 'marathon slog', telling Devon Live. 'I have got used to being a millionaire in debt. . . I've been doing this build for more than 10 years – so have gone past headaches now and built a lot of resilience.'

And, as Kevin revisited the lighthouse during the follow-up episode, he said: 'Remarkably, Edward has managed to finance this project to completion, but he will never live in his beloved lighthouse. I'm not sure I'll ever get to see a project like this again. But on this outcrop of North Devon, no one will ever forget whose lighthouse this really is.'

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