The owner of a house inspired by a lighthouse in the ‘saddest of all’ great designs episode said he feels ‘cursed’ as problems keep occurring that delay the progress of the project.
Edward Short said he is nearing the end of the project and almost ready to sell the extraordinary Chesil Cliff House and is only putting the finishing touches on the spectacular construction after more than a decade of working on it.
But during construction, a series of mishaps, including Covid and temperature-sensitive tiles in the mansion’s pool, once again stalled the 52-year-old’s plans.
The episode followed Edward and his family as misfortune beset the project leaving the house in Croyde, Devon unfinished and with the family mired in millions of pounds in debt.
The show also revealed that the process had affected Edward’s personal life, resulting in his separation from his wife Hazel.
But after the pre-publicity of a sale by Knight Frank nearly a year ago, when it seemed his troubles were over, Edward confirmed yesterday (April 19) that the project is not yet complete.
In Knight Frank’s official listing of the £10m houses, the agents said “The Eye will be released on the open market with a guide price of £10m in late 2021”.
However, as with most things associated with this amazing property, the best results have not materialized.
He said they now just needed a period of warmer weather after temperatures plummeted earlier this month to safely finish tiling the pool.
Edward said he would then resurface the road after all the trucks left before he finally opens it up to bidders.
Over the years, the project has been beset by problems ranging from the banking crisis, the aftermath of Brexit and the scramble for materials, to the pandemic and ‘pingdemic’ during Covid.
Despite all the problems, Edward was adamant that it would end, describing reports from January this year that it had been released as “premature”.
Last year, property consultancy Knight Frank announced the launch of the sale of the main house and its annex known as The Eye to the open market, with a combined list price of £10m.
The estate agent described it as “one of the most impressive waterfront homes on the North Devon coast”.
But a year after the previous publicity, it is still not fully commercialized.
Edward said, “It’s not finished yet, but it’s coming out in May or June, so hopefully we’ll be close to the finish line.”
“The main thing that has affected him now is the tiling of the pool and we need the temperature to stay above nine degrees.
“That’s the bottom line. If we do it when it’s too cold, it becomes a health hazard.”
“We all anticipate that it will be done on time now. The temperature needs to stay above nine degrees, even overnight, which will hopefully stay from now on. We’re pretty good there. But if you put it in when it’s below you lose.” the guarantee
“After the monster years I’ve been on it, this really doesn’t feel like a delay. I think I’m only a month behind on the finale.”
“When they get everything off site I’ll have to resurface the driveway and driveway as there are a ton of trucks but that’s it.
“Some reports of it coming to market seemed rushed and we’re not sure where they came from.
“We were completely scratching our heads, but by the end of May we should be ready to go.
“I’ve been doing this build for over ten years, so now I’ve gotten over the headaches and built up a lot of resilience.
“It’s not a bad thing though, also for a place like this, if you choose a month to market, it’s always better to do it in the summer.”
The main property consists of five bedrooms and bathrooms, four reception rooms, a sauna and a wine cellar.
There is also a three bedroom attached studio known as The Eye and double garage.
The house has been anchored in the bedrock of the cliff, painstakingly designed to a level that leaves no possibility of risk of erosion.
Edward, a father of two, said he had no choice but to sell it to cover the large amount of money he had to borrow and said the total costs were pegged at £6m.
He added: “Every build has suffered due to Covid and the pandemic and the need to source materials from Europe.
“We’ve waited over a year for some things and there were a number of delays waiting for building materials to arrive, they were headaches and that waiting was painful.
“It’s all done. Earlier this month we had the coldest winter weather and it snowed. It’s been extraordinary. We had the banking crisis, the Brexit years, which were very hard, the coronavirus pandemic and then the pandemic.”
“Now a lot of people are out of work because of Covid and more people have it than at any other point in the pandemic that I can remember.
“This touches all kinds of areas and everything has been slow. We are connected to so many products connected to Europe, the supply chain, problems with the Channel, customs, I could continue writing things that get in the way. It’s a very long list and sometimes you feel cursed by everything.
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“I can’t make any plans for what I’m going to do next until it’s sold, but I’d be very surprised if they involved more big projects. I think I need a physiatrist and help with PTSD.”
Edward said earlier that it was the right time to move on.
He added: “I will 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, without ever deviating from the plans, and for that I will always be proud.
“These last ten years have been a marathon, and I’ve gotten used to being a millionaire in debt.
“I have accepted that the only way forward is to finish it and sell it.”
Edward said the two properties would be split into two with a price tag of £10m for both.
He added: “People thought it was £10m for the principal, but it’s probably around £2m and £8m.
“I accept that some people will always hate it, but now that it’s finished, I hope people take a more subjective view.
“Nothing looks good half way through, but now there’s something for people to say if they hate it or like it.
“There’s been a big change in opinion now that it’s almost done. You’ll never please everyone and I wouldn’t expect to, but it’s a huge relief to be where we are.”
“I don’t mind people saying they hate it, but luckily the abuse has stopped now. Find me a construction site that doesn’t look half ugly. In about a month all systems will be up and running.”
“We didn’t know anything about the press in January and neither did Knight Frank. It would all go to market when it was finished and the dates were pushed back a bit, but I would never have put it on the market in the winter and I can only assume there was some miscommunication at somewhere along the line.”
In publicity material released ahead of the sale, a Knight Frank spokesperson added: “Chesil Cliff House is located on a three-acre site between surfer’s paradise Saunton Sands, backed by the stunning UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Braunton Burrows, and the idyllic Croyde’s Cove, beyond which lies Baggy Point, owned by the National Trust.
“Not only does the property boast a high design and build quality, it also has a south-facing position and easy access to the water with a private beach and beach.”
Christopher Bailey, Head of National Waterfront, Knight Frank, added: “Chesil Cliff House will be the most significant waterfront property to hit 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 is certainly at the top of the domestic coastal market and I have no doubt it will attract a lot of interest globally.”
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