GRAND DESIGNS host Kevin McCloud has spoken out about a family who appeared on the design show in 2019.
Edward Short and his wife Hazel planned to refurbish an almost derelict clifftop mansion, situated between Saunton Sands and Croyde Beach in North Devon. After the renovation, they planned to live in the properties with their teenage daughters, Nicole and Lauren.
Edward bought the house in the early 2010s and put in the planning permission in 2011. However, this art déco house took over ten years to complete.
The build process was so gruelling that Edward, now 57, and Hazel, 56, ended up separating before it was complete.
The house is now finished, complete with six bedrooms and an infinity pool, but it caused the breakdown of Edward’s marriage, and left the homeowner in £7,000,000 of debt.
Edward and Hazel never got to live in their dream house together, or with their daughters who are now 22 and 21, respectively.
Edward, who paid £1.4 million for the property originally, has now opted to sell it.
The house is on the market with estate agent Knight Frank for £10,000,000.
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Longtime TV host Kevin, 63, has known Edward for ten years.
However, he candidly opened up about the situation to Radio Times, saying that Edward’s ambitious and “vainglorious” design project not only landed him in debt, but was also the reason Edward’s marriage ended.
Kevin said: “The drive to build, to change the world and make in our own image, to improve our environment, all of these things can go too far. And that ambition can destroy the beauty that we strive to find in life.”
However, Kevin admitted he can’t help but be humbled by Edward’s raw honesty, as he previously told the presenter that his “vanity and ambition” was his downfall.
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Commenting on that, Kevin said: “I’ve always been utterly in admiration of somebody who is prepared to admit, with such humility, their failings, in front of three and a half million strangers. It’s almost a public self-castigation of human foibles and failings.”
‘I’ve become very emotionally bound up with it. You can’t not, can you? I’ve known these guys for that long. Their girls were young teenagers when I first met them. They’re now young women.”
Despite his long-standing acquaintance with Edward and his family, the TV host said it’s his job not to get too friendly with the people who appear on the show.
“If I’m too pally with the guys who are building, then, in a way, I think I’ve betrayed my relationship with the viewer.”
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Additionally, he can’t take on the guilt or responsibility for their failed projects or marriage breakdowns.
“I see my role as like that of a therapist. I’m not complicit with these people. I’m not egging them on. I’m not involved in their design,” he explained.
The new season of Grand Designs kicks off next Wednesday on Channel 4 at 9pm.
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