'Grand Designs' build runs £5 million and 10 years over budget as viewers call it 'saddest episode ever'

The Grand Designs episode revisited a Devon lighthouse. (Channel 4)
The Grand Designs episode revisited a Devon lighthouse. (Channel 4)

Grand Designs viewers have called an episode about a build that ran £5 million over budget and broke apart a family the "saddest ever".

Back in 2011, Edward and Hazel Short were aiming to make the most of the stunning views from a north Devon clifftop with a lighthouse tower family home that they estimated would take 18 months and cost £1.8 million.

Read more: Geena Davis 'grateful' she had kids in her late 40s

But Kevin McCloud first visited Chesil Cliff House in Croyde for the Channel 4 amateur property development programme in 2019, when the project was already into its ninth year and the couple were £4 million in debt, with financial ruin and divorce on the horizon.

The project still wasn't finished by the end of that episode, and presenter McCloud made good on his promise to return in a few years to see whether it was finished in an update on Wednesday night.

It was indeed finished, and looked absolutely incredible, but came at a heavy cost - Edward Short, showing McCloud around the sprawling three-acre, art-deco property on his own said that he estimated the true cost had run to between £5.5 and £6 million.

Read more: Kanye West tells Piers Morgan he's sorry over anti-Semitic tweets

Viewers were saddened by the sight of Short walking through what had been planned as his family home, but ultimately led to his and Hazel's divorce and is now on the market for £10 million.

Kevin McCloud caught up with Edward Short. (Channel 4)
Kevin McCloud caught up with Edward Short. (Channel 4)

Short said: "It’s worth it because it’s finished. It would have not been worth it if it was not finished. It would have been painful."

While McCloud acknowledged that the build had split the Short family up, he added: "I don’t think I’ve ever visited a place which so powerfully spoke of healing, redemption, and achievement."

One viewer tweeted: "This is the follow up to the saddest #granddesigns ever. The house is 5 mins up the road from us. Really wish he’d just developed the house that was already there."

Someone else wrote: "This was once planned for his girls bedroom but is now an office. How sad. It looks like his dream cost him far more just financially and now it’s being sold! Sad for them all really!"

The house was stunning when it was finished. (Channel 4)
The house was stunning when it was finished. (Channel 4)

Another person added: "What a sad outcome for Edward and his family. I’d have been happy living in a garden shed with that view! Gutted for them!"

Others couldn't believe the sums of money involved and the devastating effects of the project.

One viewer tweeted: "It’s a really really uncomfortable to watch. It’s not even funny, it’s just sad and disturbing. Tossing huge numbers around like they’re just nothing."

Someone else added: "£4m in debt and divorced for a new house that will fall into the sea within 5 years anyway. Beautiful."

Another person wrote: "Just a bit sad that episode of #GrandDesigns, spent 12 years of stress and splitting his family with ultimately nothing to show for it, lovely big house but something he will never live in."