Inside ‘saddest ever Grand Designs house that tore family apart as it goes on sale

The owner of the Grand Design’s most infamous (and long-running’) project, which was dubbed the ‘saddest episode ever’ by anguished viewers is finally on the market

Like many couples that appear on Grand Designs, Edward and Hazel short inspired us with their elaborate plans to build a wildly ambitious family home.

The incredible home at Down End Point, a renowned beauty spot in North Devon, would see them make a drastic jump from their busy lives in London., with daughters Nicole and Lauren.

And it wasn’t any ordinary style home (of course it wasn’t – this was Grand Designs after all). The five-bedroom house includes a four-storey tower from which inhabitants can gaze across the sea.

It was set to include a further four bedrooms in the main body of the house, a sauna, a cinema and a 60ft glass-edged infinity pool with views over Croyde Bay.

Like every episode of Grand Designs, this one began with a sombre Kevin McCloud wearing a hard hat on site and warning the over-eager couple that they may have overstretched themselves.

But Edward confidently told the TV presenter that they would be finished in just 18 months, and would spend no more than £1.8 million.

However, the project ended in disaster as the couple ended up splitting, while the family were plunged into millions of pounds of debt.

But now the home has finally gone on the open market – for a whopping £10M after Edward Short, 52, has spent a decade working on Chesil Cliff House in a bid to get it up to scratch.

The property featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs and was described as the “saddest episode ever” after it aired in October 2019.

And Mr Short hasn’t held back on what it has cost him personally, as he told the Telegraph last year: “There’s no point in regrets, but obviously if I had any idea of what it would cost the marriage and my family, I wouldn’t have done it. I had started it; it’s not easy to back out of this.”

He added: “There were quite a few days where I looked temptingly at the cliff edge and thought life might be better down there, but that wouldn’t have helped anyone, would it? I couldn’t give up on that image I had of [the house].”

But despite all the problems, Edward remained adamant he would finish – and now estate agent Knight Frank has now announced the sale of the main house and its annexe known as The Eye.

The estate agent described it as “one of the most impressive waterfront homes on the North Devon coast.”

It comprises of five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna and a cellar. The property will also include the three-bedroom studio annexe known as The Eye and double garage.

A Knight Frank spokesperson added: “Chesil Cliff 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, beyond which sits National Trust-owned Baggy Point.

“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.”

Christopher Bailey, Head of National Waterfront, Knight Frank, added: “Chesil Cliff House will be the most significant coastal property to come to the open market in the West Country for many years.

“It is iconic in the true meaning of the word and there is nothing else to compare it to on the market right now.

“It certainly sits at the very top of the national coastal waterfront market and I have no doubt it will attract keen interest globally.”

Edward said earlier the time was right to move on.

He added: “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.”

The house has been anchored into the bed rock of the cliff, painstakingly engineered to a level that leaves no possibility for erosional hazard.

Edward said he had no option but to sell it to cover the large amount of money he had to borrow.

He added: “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.”