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Everything that went wrong with ‘saddest house ever’ from tragic Grand Designs episode

Everything that went wrong with ‘saddest house ever’ from tragic Grand Designs episode

People really didn't like the place

All sorts of things can go wrong on Grand Designs to give Kevin McCloud the chance to look disapprovingly and make some comment asking the developers whether this is really what they wanted.

However, few projects went quite so badly wrong as Chesil Cliff House, which show viewers dubbed the 'saddest house ever' after they saw the toll it took on developer Ed Short.

The idea behind the house was to create a 'shining white art deco lighthouse on a rugged beautiful clifftop', but that idea went through the absolute wringer almost immediately.

Many projects on Grand Designs don't quite go to plan but there are few like Chesil Cliff House which left those watching feeling so sorry for the people who'd put their lives into making it happen.

Ed Short put years of his life and millions into transforming Chesil Cliff House.
Channel 4

How did it start?

Ed had set out with the idea of renovating Chesil Cliff House, North Devon, in 18 months to be a home for himself, his wife Hazel and their two daughters Nicole and Lauren.

They'd budgeted £1.8 million for the project and hoped their life savings were going towards their fantasy home.

Sadly, that didn't turn out to be the case as pretty much everything that could go wrong with the build did go wrong.

Plans to complete the house in 18 months fell apart and the project took more than 10 years.
Channel 4

Enter Kevin McCloud and Grand Designs:

The house featured on Grand Designs in 2019 and viewers felt so sorry for Ed that they were soon calling it the 'saddest house ever' seen on the show.

During the course of the show viewers saw the Short family scrimping, saving and outright borrowing to turn Chesil Cliff House into a home they could live in.

What had first been intended to be an 18 month project had spiralled into a years-long white elephant.

Grand Design viewers saw costs spiral painfully for Ed and his family as they were shown borrowing £500,000 from a hedge fund and another £2.5 million from private investors.

Nicole and Lauren were holding car boot sales in an attempt to raise money for their parents to finish the house.

Viewers weren't even able to see the finished build back in 2019 as Ed wasn't able to complete the project.

Grand Design viewers saw Ed's family get into more debt to make their dream house come true.
Channel 4

The last few years:

Nobody could say the last few years have been stable for the world and they certainly weren't for Ed.

He admitted that what was meant to be his family's forever home was something they never got to live in, and that 'pressure' from building the house contributed to his divorce.

Short said that while building the house he's had to weather 'the banking crisis, the Brexit years, which were very hard, the coronavirus pandemic and then the pingdemic'.

He admitted to feeling 'cursed' at times because of all the things that went wrong with the place.

The house was finally finished, but Ed must now sell it to pay for the cost of building it.
Channel 4

The house is finished:

The Grand Designs host revealed he's still in contact with Short and said he was hoping that now the place is finally finished a buyer can be found.

As of now, Chesil Cliff House is on the market for £6.5 million on Rightmove, though the property is now split in two with a neighbouring annex valued at around £2.5 million, and the finished article does look pretty stunning, it's just a shame that Ed won't get to live in it.

After the house was completed, Ed said he would 'always be proud to have finished this' but would probably not try another big build project, saying: "I think I need a psychiatrist and help with PTSD."

Ed also said that despite their divorce he was still 'the best of friends' with Hazel and was engaged to someone else now, so perhaps this story has a happy ending after all.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

Topics: Channel 4, Home, TV and Film, Grand Designs