The biggest Grand Designs budget breakers

Revealed: The biggest Grand Designs budget breakers ever – from the lighthouse that remained unfinished after a decade to an eco-home which cost 5,000% more than planned (and burnt down after the episode aired)

  • Many self-builders featured on Grand Designs end up blowing their budget to create their dream home 
  • 77 per cent of all Grand Designs projects exceeded their initial planned budget, according to new research
  • Most over-budget build was ‘Low Impact House’, which ended up costing 5,300 per cent more than  estimate
  • Had hoped £500 and ended up splashing out £27,000 – before home in Pembrokeshire burned down in blaze 
  • Grand Designs has become one of the nation’s staple television shows since it first aired 20 years ago.

    With a new series of Grand Designs: The Street set to air on Channel 4 soon, a new group of self-builders will be braving projects which are ambitious, striking, and rarely go according to plan, often due to delays and unexpected costs that can push them significantly over budget. 

    New research Been Let Down, the professional negligence team at legal firm Bond Turner, has shown 77 per cent of all Grand Designs projects exceeded their initial planned budget. 

    The most over-budget Grand Designs build ever was the ‘Low Impact House’ in Pembrokeshire, which featured in Season 17 of the show, and had an original budget of just £500. 

    However, it ended up costing its owners 5,300 per cent more than the initial estimate budget, coming out at £27k. 

    Many – including the show’s host Kevin McCloud – argued that it was a very unrealistic house-building budget to begin with.

    Here FEMAIL reveals the five other self-builders who saw their budget blown out of the water on the Channel 4 programme…  

    1. ‘Low Impact House’, Season 17

    +5,300% over budget

    The most over-budget Grand Designs build ever was the 'Low Impact House' in Pembrokeshire, which featured in Season 17 of the show, and had an original budget of just £500 - but ultimately cost £27,000 to build

    The most over-budget Grand Designs build ever was the ‘Low Impact House’ in Pembrokeshire, which featured in Season 17 of the show, and had an original budget of just £500 – but ultimately cost £27,000 to build 

    Simon and Jasmine Dale, from Pembrokeshire, had just £500 in the bank when they started the project and used earth, local timber and straw for the construction, furnishing it with purchases from car boot sales and eBay. 

    The couple had a dream of living off the land with their children Elfie and Cosmo, in the sustainable Lammas community in Pembrokeshire. 

    The pioneering, government-backed, sustainable village came with a stringent fierce planning condition attached.

    In return for the right to build on open farmland, they had to prove that they had become self-sufficient on their seven acre plot within five years, or be forced to move on.

    Undeterred by the enormity of the task ahead, Simon shared his plans with presenter Kevin McCloud explaining they wanted to live an outdoor lifestyle and live off the land.

    Simon and Jasmine Dale, from Pembrokeshire, had just £500 in the bank when they started the project and used earth, local timber and straw for the construction, furnishing it with purchases from car boot sales and eBay

    Simon and Jasmine Dale, from Pembrokeshire, had just £500 in the bank when they started the project and used earth, local timber and straw for the construction, furnishing it with purchases from car boot sales and eBay

    The couple estimated they had spent a modest £27,000 which Kevin described as 'the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere'

    The couple estimated they had spent a modest £27,000 which Kevin described as 'the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere'

    The couple estimated they had spent a modest £27,000 which Kevin described as ‘the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere’

    On top of their south facing plot, he planned to excavate 12 feet into the hillside and build a retaining wall along the back, made from sandbags filled with the excavated earth.

    Floors would be made from rammed earth, polished and hardened with linseed oil and the structure from round timber poles, using wood grown, felled, prepared and sawn by Simon.

    The same poles were set to make up the roof, covered by a damp proof membrane and a sheep’s wool insulation with grass on top for further insulation.

    Windows were set to be reclaimed glass and the exterior timber framed walls filled with straw bales.

    Wrapping around front they planned a greenhouse to pre-heat air for the house and grow food, while they intended to source kitchen fixtures and appliances from car boot sales and eBay. 

    The couple wanted an open plan house with underfloor heating and an inside flushing toilet, but it was a big ask given the extremely modest amount they had to work with

    The couple wanted an open plan house with underfloor heating and an inside flushing toilet, but it was a big ask given the extremely modest amount they had to work with

    The couple wanted an open plan house with underfloor heating and an inside flushing toilet, but it was a big ask given the extremely modest amount they had to work with. 

    He said: ‘At the moment in the bank we’ve got five hundred-ish. We’ve got a few bits to come in along the way. But I think with a will we’re going to get there.’ 

    The project got off to a faltering start in October 2012 when a wet and miserable winter meant that Simon was unable to start building work for the first six months.

    Finally, when spring arrived he set to work on the retaining wall by buying hundreds of yellow sacks from eBay that cost seven pence each and filling them with clay sand and fine stone.

    ‘I’m not sure that this is much more labour intensive than if we’d set up shuttering and poured and cast concrete. It’s certainly much more fun,’ Simon said.

    To help with the task were dozens of volunteers who come to Lammas to stay for periods of time and offer their labour in return for food. However, the job still takes three months to complete.

    Simon explained they had spent around £5,500 on sheep's wool insulation and damp proof sheeting for the house (pictured, the exterior)

    Simon explained they had spent around £5,500 on sheep’s wool insulation and damp proof sheeting for the house (pictured, the exterior) 

    By October 2013, Simon was hoping to have the house in a condition to move the family in, if not complete, by the following winter.

    However, part of the conditions of staying at Lammas was to set up some kind of small business and the building was holding up Jasmine’s efforts to establish a smallholding growing vegetables.

    So they put the house on hold to focus on building the greenhouses and by Spring they were almost complete – at the expense of the family home.

    But by August 2014, they were making progress. Through Jasmine running horticultural courses and selling produce and Simon doing occasional consultancy work on low impact building they were able to add to their £500 fund. 

    Simon explained they had spent around £5,500 on sheep’s wool insulation and damp proof sheeting for the house.

    Four years on the family were at last settled into their new home.

    However in 2018, the family were left devastated when their eco-house burnt down in a New Year's Day blaze (pictured)

    However in 2018, the family were left devastated when their eco-house burnt down in a New Year’s Day blaze (pictured) 

    The couple estimated they had spent a modest £27,000 which Kevin described as ‘the cheapest house ever built in the Western Hemisphere’.

    2. The 16th Century Farmhouse 

    +328% over budget

    The final build ended up costing around £300,000 - way more than the £70,000 originally forecast

    The final build ended up costing around £300,000 – way more than the £70,000 originally forecast

    Jeremy and Louise Brown bought Upthorpe Farm in Gloucestershire with a view to turn the Grade II listed farmhouse into their dream home. 

    When lawyers Jeremy and Louise walked into the farm, they couldn’t believe their eyes. It was like stepping back in time. 

    Apart from a few minor alterations, the Grade II listed 16th-century farmhouse had barely been touched for over 400 years and was completely unmodernised with lots of original features. 

    The final build ended up costing around £300,000 – way more than the £70,000 originally forecast.   

     

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    That included the retail value of £5,000 worth of vegetables used to feed the 277 volunteers who helped out.

    When asked if it was all worth it, Simon replied: ‘I don’t think I could quantify it, but I can feel it in my heart when I walk around at the end of the day and see the bats flying round and hear the birds sing.

    ‘It’s been hard and I wasn’t asking for an easy life. I like challenge. To put in a hard day’s graft and be tired at the end of the day. That exhaustion is a nice feeling.’

    However in 2018, the family were left devastated when their  eco-house burnt down in a New Year’s Day blaze.

    Simon and Jasmine were made homeless by the blaze in the Welsh countryside near Crymych in Pembrokeshire. Nothing could be salvaged from the wreckage in the sustainable community of Lammas Ecovillage.    

    3. Huxham

    +199% over budget  

    Property developer Joe O’Connor, 35, and his wife Claire, from Devon, appeared on the Channel 4 programme as they set out to build an enormous home inspired by rocks in the countryside with a budget of £835,000.

    But after starting the project in 2017, the couple’s build was hampered by difficulties from the outset, including issues with the timber frame, challenges installing 46 panes of glass costing £200,000, poor weather and the Covid-19 crisis. 

    In November 2017, Kevin visited the couple at home, with Joe revealing he was planning to build an enormous 6,000 sq ft property on the paddock next door. 

    Appearing on the programme, Joe said he wanted to have ‘one of the best homes on the planet.’

    Meanwhile Claire added: ‘Joe came up with the idea to build the house. I’m not as ambitious as him. I’m just wanting to keep the family unit and everybody happy and alive, most days.’ 

    Joe’s financial services company were helping to fund some of the most prestigious building developments in Exeter, including Exeter’s library. He was working to remould the face of an entire city.  

    He said: ‘It’ll be a sculpture in the landscape, made of zinc and glass. Quite loud.’

    Claire added: ‘In our wildest dreams we’d never thought we’d get planning.’ 

    Joe confessed he planned to jump into the project with both feet. He revealed he plans to stick to a budget of £835,000 and build the property in under seven months. 

    The plans for this home were the epitome of ambition – deep concrete pad foundations would support a gigantic timber frame, with 222 beams bolted together to create a massive structural hub stretching 10 metres into the sky. 

    Property developer Joe O'Connor, 35, and his wife Claire, from Devon, appeared on the Channel 4 programme as they set out to build an enormous home inspired by rocks in the countryside with a budget of £835,000

    Property developer Joe O’Connor, 35, and his wife Claire, from Devon, appeared on the Channel 4 programme as they set out to build an enormous home inspired by rocks in the countryside with a budget of £835,000

    The house was inspired by tors, piles of stones found in the wild, that resemble sculptures. It has 10-metre-high ceilings and a 229ft long corridor that runs from one end of the home to the other (pictured, the couple's master suite)

    The house was inspired by tors, piles of stones found in the wild, that resemble sculptures. It has 10-metre-high ceilings and a 229ft long corridor that runs from one end of the home to the other (pictured, the couple’s master suite) 

    Meanwhile windows made from enormous panels of glass offered incredible views of the Devon countryside from each room (pictured, Kevin in the bathroom)

    Meanwhile windows made from enormous panels of glass offered incredible views of the Devon countryside from each room (pictured, Kevin in the bathroom) 

    The shards would be clad by hand with zinc and the remaining apertures would be glazed with huge performing shards of glass.

    The couple hoped solar panels would help power the interior and the home will be filled with gadgets, including facial recognition and intelligent heating.  It would also include a gym, open plan living area.  

    But from the outset, the couple faced delays as they struggled to get the build off the ground due to the challenges of the engineering.

    Joe said: ‘It’s definitely going to be more expensive than we initially budgeted. What we were quoted originally to what is coming back is vastly different. All the indications say I’ll have to go someway over £1 million.’

    Ahead of the build, property developer and supercar investor Joe said he wanted to keep the project below £900,000 - but the budget soon went out of the window (pictured with his wife Claire and Kevin)

    Ahead of the build, property developer and supercar investor Joe said he wanted to keep the project below £900,000 – but the budget soon went out of the window (pictured with his wife Claire and Kevin)  

    By autumn 2018, the transformation of the Devon hillside began. Concrete pad foundations were poured and work began on the garage. 

    Within six months, the frame for the garage was complete, while the factory cut timber arrived for the first of the four stages.

    However as the first of the engineered pieces of wood were craned in, nothing lined up. Damp had swollen the timbers so what once slotted together in the factory now didn’t fit.  

    Phil said: ‘We’re struggling here. I would have hoped for it not to have been like this, the first piece. It’s stressful. Every part of this project going forward is going to be difficult. it’s a nightmare.’ 

    By February 2019, it seemed the pre-fabricated construction technique designed to simplify the project was failing. Drilled holes weren’t lining up with steel brackets and the construction was impossible to connect.

    The project manager added: ‘We’ve got six blokes trying to put in one beam. We can’t go on like that.’  

    The build was immediately hampered with problems because as the first of the engineered pieces of wood were craned in, nothing lined up. Damp had swollen the timbers so what once slotted together in the factory now didn't fit (pictured, builders trying to maneuver pieces of timber)

    The build was immediately hampered with problems because as the first of the engineered pieces of wood were craned in, nothing lined up. Damp had swollen the timbers so what once slotted together in the factory now didn’t fit (pictured, builders trying to maneuver pieces of timber) 

    The builders branded the complex project a 'nightmare' and said there had been 'no end of problems' during the build (pictured)

    The builders branded the complex project a ‘nightmare’ and said there had been ‘no end of problems’ during the build (pictured) 

    Michael Taylor, the carpentry foreman, said: ‘The problem we’ve got with this, is it’s designed with no tolerance. It’s designed millimeter perfect. It just doesn’t fit. You’re going to have the same scenario right across the build.’

    There were over 300 beams in the building but it took over three weeks to fit just 12. 

    Phil admitted: ‘I’m going to lose my head with it. It’s ridiculous. The cost is just – horrendous. The first phase was going to see where the problems were – we’ve found no end of problems.’ 

    Meanwhile Joe arrived on site, saying: ‘If lessons aren’t learned and there are the same cockups, I am going to get angry about it.’ 

    To control the rising costs, the team moved away from the modern simplicity of pre-fabrication to something more old fashioned. Instead, they decided to fit everything on site by hand. 

    The laborious installation of each of the panes of the delicate 46 panes of glass within the build went on for weeks, with Joe dismissing one contractor for another

    The laborious installation of each of the panes of the delicate 46 panes of glass within the build went on for weeks, with Joe dismissing one contractor for another 

    The incredible black front door of the property was six foot across, with every window offering a view of the geometric shapes constructing the home

    The incredible black front door of the property was six foot across, with every window offering a view of the geometric shapes constructing the home  

    It took two further months to complete the first phase of the timber frame, with Phil confessing the challenges of the project feel unrelenting. 

    He said: ‘It’s a nightmare. The last two weeks of weather we’ve had rain, 70mph winds. You can see the shape of the scaffolding around is a nightmare in itself.  

    ‘To get to this stage, the work and the intensity and logistics behind it all are just a nightmare. I wouldn’t want to live in a house like this. Ludicrous isn’t it really?’   

    Meanwhile Claire and Joe admitted the project was becoming ‘a bit excessive’, with Claire adding: ‘I’ve not really thought about practicalities.’  

    Eight months into construction in August 2019, the project was continuing at a pace but by the autumn, the site was once again pounded by high winds and weeks of rain.   

    Meanwhile the laborious installation of each of the panes of glass within the build went on for weeks.

    Phil admitted: ‘It’s worse than what we ever expected. ‘ 

    Once inside, the shock of the hard exterior is muted with pastel colours and sublime interior design, including a spaceship like corridor of lights

    Once inside, the shock of the hard exterior is muted with pastel colours and sublime interior design, including a spaceship like corridor of lights 

    The house is ultra-modern and carbon negative, powered via sun and air. Pictured: a shower room in the home

    The house is ultra-modern and carbon negative, powered via sun and air. Pictured: a shower room in the home 

    Both Claire and Joe admitted the project was becoming 'a bit excessive', with the kitchen costing over £125,000 (pictured, the living area)

    Both Claire and Joe admitted the project was becoming ‘a bit excessive’, with the kitchen costing over £125,000 (pictured, the living area) 

    With three children in tow, the couple have done their best to keep the home cosy, and its angular windows provide a serene setting for the parents, and a playground full of endless possibilities for their kids

    With three children in tow, the couple have done their best to keep the home cosy, and its angular windows provide a serene setting for the parents, and a playground full of endless possibilities for their kids  

    Three months on, and electricians have laid cables into the high tech home, but the builders are still struggling to get the windows into the build.

    Joe said: ‘The time for excuses has to stop at some point, and it’s come to that point.’

    The couple decide to part ways with the glazing constructors, but face a delay as they struggle to find new builders to install the huge panes of glass into the building. 

    And in March 2020, the glazing delays are compounded by the Covid pandemic, meaning the project was even further delayed.

    By the summer 2020, even Joe’s enthusiasm for the project was waning, with the supercar investor saying: ‘If everything shuts down again, this is the least of my problems.’

    The couple said solar panels would help power the interior and the home was filled with gadgets, including facial recognition and intelligent heating (pictured, the living room)

    The couple said solar panels would help power the interior and the home was filled with gadgets, including facial recognition and intelligent heating (pictured, the living room) 

    Meanwhile an office space in one of the rooms is decorated sparsely, but offers an incredible view of the Devonshire countryside from its huge window

    Meanwhile an office space in one of the rooms is decorated sparsely, but offers an incredible view of the Devonshire countryside from its huge window 

    In contrast, the bedrooms for Joe and Claire's two eldest children are modest in comparison to the rest of the house, and feature more creature comforts including a Spiderman bedspread

    In contrast, the bedrooms for Joe and Claire's two eldest children are modest in comparison to the rest of the house, and feature more creature comforts including a Spiderman bedspread

    In contrast, the bedrooms for Joe and Claire’s two eldest children are modest in comparison to the rest of the house, and feature more creature comforts including a Spiderman bedspread (left and right)  

    The property investor suggested he might have to even abandon the build completely.

    However just one year later, the project was finally finished, with Kevin returning to compare it to visiting an alien space ship, museum or art gallery. 

    The black home, covered in £ 500,000 worth of zinc cladding, was made using 300 timber beams and has 46 sheets of bespoke glass, costing £200,000. 

    However once inside, the shock of the hard exterior was muted with pastel colours and sublime interior design.

    Joe said the glass windows were ‘one really difficult part’ of the build, revealing: ‘Everything was difficult but what was nearly the breaking point was the glazing.’

    Joe confessed the budget had gone over £2.5 million,  saying he felt 'completely and utterly satisfied' with the space (pictured)

    Joe confessed the budget had gone over £2.5 million,  saying he felt ‘completely and utterly satisfied’ with the space (pictured) 

    Meanwhile the couple said the kitchen alone had cost them around £125,000, with Claire admitting: ‘It is an expensive kitchen but you can’t buy it from the high street. It’s the focal point of the house.’

    The house was gigantic, covering 6,000 sq ft, with five bedroom suites, a gym, cinema room, study, utility room, open plan kitchen and living-space. 

    With three children in tow, the couple have done their best to keep the home cosy, and its angular windows provide a serene setting for the parents, and a playground full of endless possibilities for their kids. 

    It was also carbon negative, running on solar panels, with an air-powered heat pump and triple glazing.   

    Despite the couple’s joy over the finished build, project manager Phil confessed it had been a challenge from start to finish. 

    He explained: ‘It has been a nightmare of a project. There’s nothing worse than when stuff turns up and it doesn’t fit together. But as I’ve always said as I’ve gone on and on, we’ll get there on on and on.

    ‘I wouldn’t want to live there. But I’m emotionally attached to it. We’ll look back in time and drive past and think we built that.’ 

    Joe confessed the budget had gone over to £2.5 million, while Claire said: ‘I could never in my wildest dreams imagine I could live in such an amazing house.’

    Joe added: ‘I am completely and utterly satisfied and and that’s quite rare for me. This is exactly what I hoped it would be.’  

    4. The Bath Kit House

    + 181% over budget

    Viewers of Grand Designs may remember an episode featuring Tiffany Wood and husband Jonny who had ambitions to build a top-of-the-range German pre-fabricated home in Bath but spent most of the show staring into an increasingly soggy hole in the ground

    Viewers of Grand Designs may remember an episode featuring Tiffany Wood and husband Jonny who had ambitions to build a top-of-the-range German pre-fabricated home in Bath but spent most of the show staring into an increasingly soggy hole in the ground

    Presenter Kevin McCloud described the drilling and piling as the most expensive groundworks he had ever featured in the programme ¿ and that was just the £300,000 estimate, before things went wrong

    Presenter Kevin McCloud described the drilling and piling as the most expensive groundworks he had ever featured in the programme – and that was just the £300,000 estimate, before things went wrong  

    Viewers of Grand Designs may remember an episode featuring Tiffany Wood and husband Jonny who had ambitions to build a top-of-the-range German pre-fabricated home in Bath but spent most of the show staring into an increasingly soggy hole in the ground.

    Presenter Kevin McCloud described the drilling and piling as the most expensive groundworks he had ever featured in the programme – and that was just the £300,000 estimate, before things went wrong.

    First, the construction team found an underground stream, then the neighbour’s wall fell down bringing 80 tons of soil with it.

    For all the problems with their plot – originally the back garden of the house which overlooks the back of their home – by the end of the show the couple had a five-bedroom, 4,000 sq ft home built by German manufacturer Baufritz.

    Cecil House was airy, with plenty of curves and colours, overlooking National Trust woodlands on Bathwick Hill. It was solidly built and fantastically well insulated and ventilated, and felt like a home rather than a minimalist glass mansion

    Cecil House was airy, with plenty of curves and colours, overlooking National Trust woodlands on Bathwick Hill. It was solidly built and fantastically well insulated and ventilated, and felt like a home rather than a minimalist glass mansion

    Cecil House was airy, with plenty of curves and colours, overlooking National Trust woodlands on Bathwick Hill. It was solidly built and fantastically well insulated and ventilated, and felt like a home rather than a minimalist glass mansion.

    While architecturally everything was light and open, the finances were subterranean. In the programme, Tiffany repeatedly sidestepped the question of how much was spent on the build. 

    However in 2011, she later let slip that the final cost was ‘about the same as what we are selling it for’ – suggesting it cost £2.25million, a serious cost overrun on the estimated £1 million budget. 

    5. The Seaside House

    +158% over budget

    The cutting edge house cost Bram and Lisa Vis £3m to build and the couple had to take out 11 loans to finance it,  going 158 per cent over budget

    The cutting edge house cost Bram and Lisa Vis £3m to build and the couple had to take out 11 loans to finance it,  going 158 per cent over budget 

    The cutting edge house cost Bram and Lisa Vis £3m to build and the couple had to take out 11 loans to finance it.

    When the building aired on Grand Designs in 2015, host Kevin McLeod said that it was ‘the most expensive project he had ever followed’.

    The owners had initially budgeted just £800,000 to build the ground-breaking structure but bills soon escalated and construction costs eventually reached £2.2m.

    The couple also paid £935,000 for the plot, bringing costs to over £3m.

    The ultra-modern home, called Fairways in the coastal village of Quarr, Isle of Wight, has stunning sea views across the Solent.

    The owners had initially budgeted just £800,000 to build the ground-breaking structure but bills soon escalated and construction costs eventually reached £2.2m

    The owners had initially budgeted just £800,000 to build the ground-breaking structure but bills soon escalated and construction costs eventually reached £2.2m

    The rest of the ground floor consists of a sitting room with a curved glass wall, two separate studies and two double bedrooms both with views over the beach, dressing areas and en-suite bathrooms (l

    The rest of the ground floor consists of a sitting room with a curved glass wall, two separate studies and two double bedrooms both with views over the beach, dressing areas and en-suite bathrooms (l

    The rest of the ground floor consists of a sitting room with a curved glass wall, two separate studies and two double bedrooms both with views over the beach, dressing areas and en-suite bathrooms (left and right)  

    It has its own private beach and also has a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi.

    Clad in stone and timber, it appears to be floating above the grassy surface.

    Inside, there was an open-plan kitchen-living area which has full height glass walls giving views over the gardens, beach and sea.

    The rest of the ground floor consists of a sitting room with a curved glass wall, two separate studies and two double bedrooms both with views over the beach, dressing areas and en-suite bathrooms.

    Upstairs was the master bedroom suite, which includes a roof terrace, a dressing room and an en suit bathroom including a waterproof TV.

    The basement houses a games room, a laundry room and three further bedrooms. 

    THe enormous property has its own private beach and also has a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi

    THe enormous property has its own private beach and also has a heated swimming pool and jacuzzi

    Meanwhile….The unfinished projects

    In some cases, the issues faced led to builds being unfinished for months or years.

    The most expensive unfinished project overall was ‘The Lighthouse’ in North Devon – its construction costs reached £3m when the episode aired in 2019, a massive 66% over the initial planned figure of £1,800,000. 

    Edward Short, 50, and his wife Hazel, from Devon, first appeared on Grand Designs in 2009 to reveal their ambitious plan to transform their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse. 

    In October 2019, the music industry executive appeared on the programme to reveal that the arrival of the recession, building issues and the breakdown of their marriage had left the dream in tatters, and almost a decade on, the lighthouse is up for sale but is still being finished. 

    Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, said he was determined to finish the project by the end of 2021, said:  ‘These past ten years have been a marathon slog – and I have got used to being a millionaire in debt.

    Edward Short, 50, who has a life-long dream of building a lighthouse has vowed to complete the project - after being left in debt of almost £6 million and sacrificing his marriage for the build

    Edward Short, 50, who has a life-long dream of building a lighthouse has vowed to complete the project – after being left in debt of almost £6 million and sacrificing his marriage for the build

    Edward first appeared on Grand Designs in 2010 to reveal their ambitious plan to transform their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse - but the property remains in ruins a decade on

    Edward first appeared on Grand Designs in 2010 to reveal their ambitious plan to transform their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse – but the property remains in ruins a decade on 

    Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, has now said he is determined to finish the project by the end of 2021,

    Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, has now said he is determined to finish the project by the end of 2021,

    Edward, who split from his wife after his dedication to the build destroyed their family, had said he was determined to finish the project by the end of 2021

    The self builder, who is in £6 million of debt over the build, has said the 'only way forward' was to finish the project and 'sell it'

    The self builder, who is in £6 million of debt over the build, has said the ‘only way forward’ was to finish the project and ‘sell it’

    ‘I’ve accepted the only way forward is to finish and sell it.

    ‘We had to take a few breaks to refinance because it’s so expensive, but we got things things moving again last year.

    ‘It’s a big ask but I think we’ll see it on the market by the end of the year.’

    The unique location at Down End Point boasts panoramic views across Croyde Bay to the north as well as to Saunton beach and Braunton Burrows to the south.

    The luxury home once finished was planned to feature a huge circular tower based on a lighthouse design along with a spectacular 'glass edge' infinity swimming pool, a home cinema and a sauna and steam room

    The luxury home once finished was planned to feature a huge circular tower based on a lighthouse design along with a spectacular ‘glass edge’ infinity swimming pool, a home cinema and a sauna and steam room

    The luxury home once finished was planned to feature a huge circular tower based on a lighthouse design along with a spectacular ‘glass edge’ infinity swimming pool, a home cinema and a sauna and steam room.

    He said: ‘We’re most of the way there with the building work now, and it certainly looks a lot better than it did.

    ‘We’re currently we’re putting down underfloor heating, completing the driveway and adding linings to the pool.

    ‘I have professionals currently designing the interior because you can’t take shortcuts on a high-end property like this.’

    Edward initially appeared on Grand Designs in 2009 with his wife Hazel when they described  their 'dream' of building their lighthouse home

    Edward initially appeared on Grand Designs in 2009 with his wife Hazel when they described  their ‘dream’ of building their lighthouse home

    Timeline of how Chesil Cliff House went from home of dreams to a nightmare 

    2010:  Edward and his wife Hazel appear on Grand Designs to reveal their plan to turn their 1950s home into an art-deco white lighthouse in 18 months. Plans for the development were submitted and approved but several delays ensued. 

    2012: Spiralling costs and the financial crisis puts the project on hold. 

    2014: Building work finally gets underway, but is hit by delays due to the weather and financial woes.

    2016: Edward secures a loan for more than £2million from private investors 

    2017: Project is halted again after the pair run out of money.  

    2018: Couple apologise to local residends who complain the unfinished building is an eyesore

    2019:  Edward appears on Grand Designs again, admitting that only a few rooms have been finished and that his marriage to Hazel has collapsed under the strain

    2021: Building work has started again at the property and Edward said he hopes it will be finished and on the market by the end of the year

    2022: It emerged the project has still not finished  

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    Despite being the dream home he had always hoped to build, Edward has said that even when Chesil Cliff House was completed, he would have to sell it.

    ‘At this point, I need to spend more money to stand a chance at getting any of my money back,’ he said.

    Edward has previously apologised to locals who he said were fed up of seeing the unfinished grey eyesore on the point, but he also asked them to ‘stick with it’.

    He had told them: ‘I know it’s a mess, and I have to fix that – but when it is finished it will be amazing.

    ‘Judge it when it’s finished.’

    The building now sports a more attractive white exterior but it’s still covered in scaffolding – although Edward says that will likely be coming down soon.

    He added: ‘The project will have cost me £6 million in total – double what professionals originally valued.

    ‘I had no idea it would end up costing so much but I’ve accepted now that I’m never going to be able to live in it because I have money I need to pay back.

    ‘It was my overconfidence and arrogance that got me here in the first place so I’m doing what I need to do.

    ‘Even though I’ll be selling it, I’m still finding it so exciting to see this concrete skeleton finally coming together into a beautiful building.’  

    In a 2019 episode of Grand Designs, Edward explained that he’d long dreamed of building a lighthouse on the cliff – but said several factors got in the way. 

    ‘I always looked at it and thought it would be so cool to knock it down and build a lighthouse,’ said Edward, speaking of how he decided to revamp their existing property. 

    ‘Once you get a dream like that in your head it just doesn’t budge. It’s just one of those spots where you could expect to find that type of building.’ 

    The couple planned to build the luxury home, comprised of a huge circular tower and spectacular glass-edge infinity pool, in just 18 months. 

    The six-bedroom house, which they hoped would also feature a home cinema, a sauna and steam room, would boast panoramic views across Croyde Bay to the north, as well as to Saunton beach and Braunton Burrows to the south. 

    They hoped it would cost £2.2 million, but it quickly became apparent the build was impossible to complete. 

    Edward struggled to acknowledge the project was ‘dangerous’ for the construction team to work on due to its clifftop location. 

    The couple, who lived in a fairly modest house on the clifftop (pictured) before they started the build, explained they wanted a house which would do the site 'justice'

    The couple, who lived in a fairly modest house on the clifftop (pictured) before they started the build, explained they wanted a house which would do the site ‘justice’ 

    An artist's impression of their dream home with a four storey observation tower and a glass- fronted infinity pool

    An artist’s impression of their dream home with a four storey observation tower and a glass- fronted infinity pool 

    He said: ‘That’s a dangerous site for a construction team to work on. I think professional fees are around a quarter of a million, but they will make sure it’s done properly.’

    The house required complex engineering, with the couple sinking 25 ‘anchors’ into the rock in order to support the home. 

    But by February 2012, the financial collapse meant they had to put plans on hold and they started to build a smaller building further along the coastline which they nicknamed the ‘eye’.

    In February 2016, Edwards secured a loan of £2.5 million from private investors, which he admitted he was depending on to finish the build.

    He told Kevin the project had become a nightmare, saying: ‘Terrifying is an adjective that doesn’t really sum it up if I’m honest.’ 

    When Kevin asked if he could have compromised, Edward said: ‘You are right but the concept is very difficult to walk away from. No to compromise. To owe over £2million now is scary you think ‘Christ this is mounting up’.’

    With the financial pressure growing, Hazel said she was becoming increasingly worried.

    When Kevin returned to the house in 2019, he found the property was a building site, and called it 'a skeleton'

    When Kevin returned to the house in 2019, he found the property was a building site, and called it ‘a skeleton’ 

    At the time, Edward said he hoped he could continue building the home, adding that he thought it would take £2 million to finish the property

    At the time, Edward said he hoped he could continue building the home, adding that he thought it would take £2 million to finish the property 

    She said: ‘Worse case scenario is we will have to sell the whole thing. Yes, that’s a scary thing and yes, that keeps me up at night.’ 

    With debts of over three million, the couple were trapped by the thought that if they were to finish the project, it could end up selling for £7 million.  

    But when Kevin returned to the property in 2019, he found it was still unfinished. The presenter described it as ‘the bare bones of a house and more like a desolate carcass’. 

    Despite the state of the desolate building after a decade of development, Edward said he couldn't stop trying to finish the lighthouse

    Despite the state of the desolate building after a decade of development, Edward said he couldn’t stop trying to finish the lighthouse 

    The house was described as 'a skeleton' on Grand Designs in 2019, but Edward insisted he wanted to finish the home

    The house was described as ‘a skeleton’ on Grand Designs in 2019, but Edward insisted he wanted to finish the home 

    He went on to say: ‘It’s a little bit like finding the wreckage of a building on a seashore’. 

    Edward said: ‘I’ve had better days I must admit. It all came to a halt in June, July 2017. I ran out of money.’  

    He revealed: ‘A bit of an eyesore is the feeling at the moment. I sometimes wonder if I might have been too ambitious. There’s what I want, and there’s reality.’ 

    At the time, he told Kevin his marriage had collapsed due to the strain, insisted he would still try to finish the building. 

    He said: ‘I don’t have the option of not finishing. To finish it may take over £2 million.

    There are very few finished rooms in the property, with the 'dining room' (pictured above) one of the nearest completion

    There are very few finished rooms in the property, with the ‘dining room’ (pictured above) one of the nearest completion 

    A decade on, Edward feels the only way to move forward is to finish his over-the-top art deco lighthouse project

    A decade on, Edward feels the only way to move forward is to finish his over-the-top art deco lighthouse project 

    ‘This is a beast, this is a baby that is so hungry it will eat me. It’s that savage now. The end-game could still be bankruptcy.

    ‘If there is one huge guilt I have over everything, it’s the impact on my family.’ 

    He said the build had destroyed his marriage, saying: ‘We parted properly last year. 

    ‘I put her through a horrendous time with this, knocking the family home down, putting all our money into it, no one has any idea what the outcome is. It doesn’t get much worse than that.’

    ‘I have to take it on the chin – my ambitional vanity has probably collapsed the marriage. That’s the truth.’ 

    While the project has now gone on the market for £10 million, it reportedly remains unfinished and is yet to find a buyer. 

    Despite his assurances that the project will be finished by the end of the year, many of the rooms are completely open to the elements and nowhere near complete

    Despite his assurances that the project will be finished by the end of the year, many of the rooms are completely open to the elements and nowhere near complete 

    Edward's unfinished home is a far cry from his original plans of an epic family home for him, his wife and his children (pictured, one of the rooms)

    Edward’s unfinished home is a far cry from his original plans of an epic family home for him, his wife and his children (pictured, one of the rooms) 

    Edward's wife Hazel left him after he put her through a 'horrendous time' with the build - which has landed him in £6 million debts

    Edward’s wife Hazel left him after he put her through a ‘horrendous time’ with the build – which has landed him in £6 million debts 

    The lighthouse remains wholly unfinished, although Edward said the lining of the pool is now in, as well as the driveway (pictured, one of the rooms)

    The lighthouse remains wholly unfinished, although Edward said the lining of the pool is now in, as well as the driveway (pictured, one of the rooms) 

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