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“Extraordinary” lighthouse from ‘saddest ever’ episode of Grand Designs goes on sale for £10m after a decade

·3-min read
Chesil Cliff House is listed with Knight Frank for £10 million (Knight Frank)
Chesil Cliff House is listed with Knight Frank for £10 million (Knight Frank)

The “spectacular” converted lighthouse featured on Grand Designs’ “saddest ever” episode has gone on the market for £10 million.

The 7,539 square foot property, called Chesil Cliff House, is set on the dramatic cliffs of Croyde, Devon, overlooking the sea.

In 2010, owner Edward Short followed his dream of building a “striking” modern lighthouse in the place of their ordinary-looking 1950s house, to live “in touching distance of a wild, stormy sea.”

The tumultuous, decade-long build, however, was marred by extensive delays, and saw Edward spiral into over £4 million in debt, breaking his marriage to his wife, Hazel.

The dramatic infinity pool (Knight Frank)
The dramatic infinity pool (Knight Frank)

“This is a baby that’s got so hungry that it’ll eat me – it’s that savage now,” said Edward when Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud visited the site in 2019.

“If there’s one huge guilt that I have over this, it’s the impact on the family. I put her through a horrendous time with this — knocking the family home down, not building another one. I don’t think it gets much worse than that for a partner. My ambition and vanity has probably collapsed the marriage.”

Now, twelve years after the idea was conceived, Chesil Cliff House is for sale. With eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms, six reception rooms, three acres of land and an infinity pool, it is what agent Hamish Humfrey describes as “a genuine one off”.

According to Humfrey, Short’s attention to detail has paid off: “You notice it as soon as you walk into the entrance hall. You’re hit with this view out to sea, over the infinity pool.

The lighthouse’s storm room offers far-reaching panoramic views (Knight Frank)
The lighthouse’s storm room offers far-reaching panoramic views (Knight Frank)

“It’s been laid out so that everything is focused towards the sea views – it’s so light; loads of glass; floor-to-ceiling windows.”

At the top of the house, accessible by a spiral staircase, is the Storm Room, a circular room in the lighthouse section, offering panoramic views over the coastline.

According to professor Alan Phillips, the architect, the 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 guesthouse cut out of the rock face with sea views framed by a single arch.”

The guesthouse, called The Eye, is also included in the sale, although Short initially intended to sell it separately to clear some of his debts.

Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise sea views (Knight Frank)
Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise sea views (Knight Frank)

Despite its clifftop setting, the house has been anchored to the bed rock to protect it from coastal erosion.

“The position is incredible, and unusual for the area because you’re on a point, so you not only get the sea views, but also views over Taunton, South Beach, Croyde Beach,” says Humfrey.

The house has been marketed without bathrooms or a kitchen fitted, and its clean interiors are intended to provide a “blank canvas” for buyers.

Humfrey says: “Primarily, it is such a unique opportunity for somebody to put their own mark on what is one of the best new-build coastal properties that I’ve ever seen.”

“I’ll always be proud to have finished this,” said Edward in Knight Frank’s Waterfront View publication.

“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 is currently listed with Knight Frank for £10 million.

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