The Dramatic Story of I’m A Celebrity’s Amazing Glass Dream House on Top of a Cliff
If you’ve recognized the incredible clifftop dream house in Wales where Louise Minchin, Naughty Boy, Danny Miller and Snoochie Shy met in the first episode of ITV I’m A Celebrity … Get me out of here! it’s because she’s already a celebrity in her own right.
The whitewashed, glass-fronted house was featured in Channel 4’s popular Grand Designs dream properties program in 2014 – when it was revealed that it would eventually end up at the bottom of the cliff due to erosion.
In addition to being a television star, the house has won an award from the Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) and is on the long list for RIBA Grand Designs: House of the Year 2015.
READ MORE: I’m A Celebrity filming locations feature stunning Welsh coast, mountains and forests
The house that runs along the coastline of Gwynedd is called Cefn Castell and offers the most incredible views that wowed viewers as four of the contestants met at the property before starting their adventure at nearby Gwrych Castle.
Cefn Castell was a labor of love for the owners, Rob and Kay Hodgson, with drama far surpassing anything celebrities will experience during the reality series.
Looking at the house’s position by the sea, you might think that the property would now be at the bottom of the adjacent bluff, such was the drama created around the stability of the surrounding geology when the property was featured on Grand Designs.
Rob told WalesOnline in 2019: “I understand the emphasis on the cliff, that was one aspect of the project and of course the production company had to bring that aspect to the forefront of the story.
“Passers-by on the coastal path still want to chat and most ask about the cliff problem, but it hasn’t budged. The struts have been in place for years and we haven’t lost more than 10cm of this. “
Rob says a number of experts have predicted the house will last around 140 years, giving Rob enough time to continue relaxing in his favorite spot, the garden patio overlooking the sea.
Since appearing on Grand Designs, the couple have enjoyed living in an ultra-contemporary glass and whitewashed house.
Rob says, “Over time you don’t really appreciate it as much as when you first started living here and I really should.
“Sometimes I just stop what I’m doing and I’m struck by the sight, but day by day you start to get used to it. I know I’m so lucky to live in such a beautiful place.”
But this site was not the couple’s first choice for their new home in Wales. Hailing from the Warrington area, Rob and Kay were struck by the beauty of the Llyn Peninsula and knew this iconic Welsh location should be their new home.
For almost a year, the couple tried to buy Wern Manor to set up a sculpture park in the garden, but at the last minute in 2008 when the real estate crash struck, a crucial part of funding their bank was withdrawn.
We have launched a new real estate group on Facebook.
Whether you enjoy strolling through beautiful properties or always keeping an eye out for your latest project, this group will bring you the best of Welsh homes, properties, renovations and more.
Join our new group for all the latest.
Rob recalls, “We always wanted to do something on the peninsula and my wife saw a building plot for sale, so spur of the moment on a beautiful summer day in June we saw the site and fell in love with the beautiful location. “
And that’s how their sometimes stressful Grand Designs journey began.
Rob says he would recommend other potential Grand Designs contributors to appear on the show, although he believes there are downsides as well as benefits.
He says, “It adds pressure at a time when you have a lot going on, but the production team was very sweet and supportive.
“I would say go out there with your eyes wide open and remember that the team is building a watchable show and they want a story so you have to be sure that whatever comes out of it, that like it or not, it will be part of the story.
“There is no editorial control and that’s good because it’s their job, it’s not a review of your build, it’s just the story.”
Since appearing on the show in 2011, Rob has started his own business called Inspire Presenting and Writing, which trains people from various organizations to harness the power of speech during live presentations.
But since the show, he has also had a stubborn desire to plunge the couple back into real estate development.
He says, “It’s kind of like having a baby, for the first six months you say you’re never gonna do that again, then the thought creeps in and keeps growing, so maybe he I have one more left. “
There are no regrets about appearing on the show and how much the couple’s life has changed since living in Cefn Castell.
Rob comments: “We knew we were taking a risk for many reasons, including coming up with a design we couldn’t afford.
“It was a very difficult site and a very difficult project, but architect John Boardman and Ian Hunt and his construction team at Innerworld created a house that turned out fantastically well built without any problems.
“So all I can say is sometimes you have to take that risk, create something a little bit special that we derive so much from now; it was worth the years of trauma to get here.”
This is the second time that I’m A Celebrity has been held in Wales instead of Australia due to “continuing uncertainty” around Covid-19 and international travel and a “very successful race “in 2020, which saw Giovanna Fletcher crowned queen of the castle. You can read more about last year’s winner here.
To get the latest WalesOnline showbiz news delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our What’s On newsletter here