Grand Designs: Owners still trying to complete dream art deco home 10 years later

GRAND DESIGNS returns tonight, and Kevin McCloud meets a couple who have been trying to complete their art deco lighthouse for 10 years - and admit they may never be able to.

Grand Designs host Kevin McCloud meets Edward, 50 and Hazel, who dream of living in a modern art deco style lighthouse looking out over the sea. But 10 years on, the house still isn't complete. The couple had thought it would only take 18 months to build the property - but strong winds have meant building the steel structure is too dangerous. Discussing their plans initially, the couple told Kevin: "Once you’ve got a dream like that in your head it just doesn’t budge. “It’s just one of those spots you could expect to find that type of building.”

Grand Designs: Owners still trying to complete dream art deco home 10 years later

Kevin questioned why the couple wanted to knock down a "perfectly good house" that sat on the site, and Edward said: "I’ve always looked at it and thought ‘that would be so cool to knock it down and build a lighthouse’."

Hazel said: “It’s dramatic, really dramatic, and it needed a more dramatic house because this just doesn’t really do the spot justice.”

Describing what she hoped the new house would look like, Hazel said: "Modern. White, glistening white, with lots of glass, so it will look striking, and it should look fantastic - the main people who are going to see it are out at sea.”

But difficulties with the location of the property - which was planned to be right on the cliff edge, looking out over the sea, stalled the build.

It is yet to be finished, and in November last year, Edward apologised to local residents who complained the grey, concrete unfinished property was an "eyesore" on the coastline.

grand designs devon kevin mccloud lighthouse

Grand Designs: The stunning art deco lighthouse was still not complete 10 years later - is it now? (Image: Channel 4)

grand designs devon kevin mccloud lighthouse

Grand Designs: Kevin questioned why the couple would knock down a perfectly nice home already there (Image: Channel 4)

Viewers will have to wait until tonight to discover if the house if finished - and how much it ended up costing.

Describing the plans for the home, Kevin said: "Edward and Hazel’s lighthouse would be a feat of complex engineering. At the back of the plot a level platform will be excavated out of the level bedrock.

“Closer to the edge, the cliff is made from crumbly sandstone, so there will need to be 25 big rock anchors here, each burrowing down until they reach solid bedrock.

“Given the exposed location, they will also need a lot of steel - 100 hundred tonnes of it - to support the concrete and blockwork structure. But all this will get hidden behind a skin of coastal white render and shimmering glass - a proper lighthouse palette.

“Behind the tower will sit the main accommodation block, two storeys high, set behind an 18m infinity pool. The windows will be triple glazed and thick, to withstand gale force.

“The right wing of this house will be for guests. Next to this on the ground floor there will be a living room and cinema. Directly above on the second floor will be the girl’s bedrooms, each with a bathroom and a balcony. All in all there are six bedrooms in this modernist rockstar pad.

“The rather vast main kitchen and living space will enjoy uninterrupted views across the pool to the sea beyond, and will connect via a small flight of stairs to the main tower and to the dining room, glazed with nine foot high windows.

“Above this, will be a dressing room. On the third floor of the lighthouse, a master bedroom and at the very top, a glazed observation room - Edward’s storm room.

“A pretty jaw dropping cantilevered access road will hang mid-air as it sweeps down from the main road. And as if there weren’t drama enough, time will add its own cliffhanger - literally, as the sandstone erodes over the years, leaving the building to float above the sea.

“Astonishingly, Edward and Hazel reckon their coastal mega structure will take just 18 months to build.”

grand designs devon kevin mccloud lighthouse

Grand Designs: Edward and Hazel wanted to build something "dramatic" (Image: Channel 4)

Problems are hinted at when Kevin meets with the architect, Alan Phillips.

Kevin said: "Crucially, this house depends on being anchored to the solid bedrock underneath to survive, and the architect Alan Phillips is confident this can be done.”

Alan explained: "The building has two parts to it; one part is sitting on bedrock which we had to excavate down to find and the other bit of it comes off the edge and sits on piles. There will be 25 piles (supporting the building).

“The whole of the cliff face can be washed away until we get to raw rock, and the house will just be floating over the top of it but completely stable which will then look stunning.”

Kevin explained there was a problem with the slate rock, which the diggers were struggling with.

He said it was “so tough, they’ve had to bring in specialist machinery”, and it took five years before the bones of the house were visible.