Grand Designs has featured several people stretching the boundaries when designing their dream homes over the past 24 years.
However, one stands out as one of the most unforgettable of all time.
Edward Short’s goal to construct on a clifftop in Devon was featured on the show in 2019, but his episode was quickly branded the “saddest ever,” as his decade-long effort left him with an empty concrete shell, a shattered marriage, and substantial debt.
The mansion was divided into two listings earlier this year after failing to sell for its £10 million asking price.
Years after initially meeting Edward, the show’s presenter Kevin McCloud has now provided an update on the property as well as insight into the bond he developed with the homeowner in the midst of such difficulties.
‘Ed and I still communicate by email now and again,’ he said.
‘It’s not always the case you keep in contact with people, but in his case, it was such a special project and we had a lot of shared interests in common and we share a mutual friend.’
Kevin indicated that Edward hasn’t given up on the home in the hopes of attracting a buyer.
‘He is still battling along with it,’ he continued.
‘We went back for the revisit which was great and rather redemptive and now I think it is still on the market.’
While Kevin hasn’t gone back to visit the property in a while, he knows Edward is confident about his chances.
‘I haven’t checked in with him recently, but he is hoping for a bite on the line as it were,’ the presenter stated.
Kevin acknowledged that he is pleasantly pleased that the cherished series is still continuing after nearly a quarter-century at the helm.
‘I am amazed that I am still alive, that the show is still being commissioned, and that we get the diversity of projects we still do,’ he laughed.
‘When we did the first series, the producer John Silver and I looked at each other and wondered if we would get recommissioned and if we did, where would we find the projects because we thought surely we covered everything… after six episodes.
‘Now, we have a policy of not repeating ourselves, which makes it a bit harder to find the projects, but they roll in and its great because we can pick stuff that we like and that is still exemplary.’
Kevin added that if he ‘wasn’t learning all the time’, he doesn’t think that he’d be ‘as enthusiastic’ as he is.
Nonetheless, he loves that ‘there is always something to learn from other people’.
While the host has spent years taking a peek inside other people’s houses, with the show’s 24th season currently running, Kevin has stated that he has no desire for the public to ever have a peep inside his own.
‘I think it would be the wrong thing to do because I’m not on some reality show – I am a presenter of a show about buildings and I understand that people might be interested, but it would be such an anti-climax,’ he explained.
‘I would say “there is a corner full of boxes” and I do currently have a room full of boxes, which are waiting to be unpacked when the kitchen is finished being built.
‘To an extent I think it is good to preserve the myth that it might be interesting, when it isn’t and it is good to keep it secret, because it keeps everyone guessing (that is an interesting game …not) and it also has nothing to do with the TV series, so in a way it would only be a distraction from what I am trying to do – which is tell other stories and not my own.’
Kevin stressed the importance of ‘privacy’, outlining how when an individual is in the limelight, ‘you can choose to put your life all over the press, but I would rather keep a little bit private’.
He was, however, happy to share some of the objects in his own house that he was willing to splurge on.
‘My sofa and my bed. The sofa is a preamble to the bed anyway so I have a really expensive sofa and then a bed. I figured I am spending eight hours a day, or a third of my life on this thing,’ he explained.
In the middle of a kitchen renovation project currently, Kevin shared he was ‘a bit of a DIY-er’ and much preferred to save money and get certain jobs done himself.
‘I come from Yorkshire and in my family the saying was “deep pockets… small arms”,’ he said.
Grand Designs Live, runs from October 4 to 8 at the Birmingham NEC.
Grand Designs airs Wednesdays at 9pm on Channel 4.