This pink 'fondant fancy' house is the ultimate beach hut

A shot of the pink home on the beach beside other homes
The pink 'fondant' house is the not accessible by road (Image credit: Grand Designs / Channel 4)

Enveloped in sand dunes is this extraordinary pink home charmingly dubbed a "little pink fondant fancy" by the Grand Designs team.

The self build, called 'Sea Breeze', has no road access, a tiny plot and is positioned beach-side in East Sussex making it essentially a rather large, luxury beach hut.

While the lack of road to the plot might make the finished house feel charmingly isolated, it also posed a rather unique challenge for its building contractor, who had to enlist a JCB tractor and trailer to bring building materials to the site.

"Few sites are harder to build on than this wild and wind-swept stretch of the south coast," explains presenter Kevin McCloud as he featured the home. "On the outside it's a kiss-me-quick beach hut with a jaunty asymmetric roof and candy floss-coloured walls. Indoors, it's a seaside pleasure palace, complete with a luxury spa. 

"But with the nearest road hundreds of metres away and in an exposed spot under threat of fierce winds and sandstorms, building it here was no picnic."

And even after the builders had finished work, the entire design of the home had to focus on being able to withstand harsh weather conditions, including winds of up to 90mph, sand swirling around the building and the tide bringing the sea in to within 40 foot.

A close-up of the pink home on the beach

The home is between sand dunes and has been designed to withstand the unusual weather conditions (Image credit: Grand Designs / Channel 4)

An unusual solution to a sandy spot

Architect Rob Pollard of RX Architects, who designed the pink 'beach hut', was tasked with making sure the features of the building wouldn't deteriorate during the build and once finished.

"Through the construction process you have to keep the sand out because if it gets in the layers of construction it can start to affect them. So we had to build a scaffolding structure around the whole thing and effectively enclose the building site [with] a roof over it to wrap the whole thing," he said.

A close-up of the bifolding doors leading into the open plan living area with decking on the sand outside

Decking creates a usable outside area on the sand  (Image credit: RX Architects)

Sand also damages the finished building too, meaning they had to choose the materials carefully. Microfibre concrete was chosen to wrap around the home, from "head to toe" including its roof.

No sills or ledges were added on the building either. "Usually properties with window sills and ledges the sand will collect and start to seep through the window, " Rob Pollard explained. "Gutters, they just fill with sand literally on a daily basis so we went for this very flush finish everywhere. We just didn't want to create those ledges where the sand could build and begin to damage the building."

Open plan with a bath in a bedroom

Sea Breeze, which took 18 months to build, is located on a tiny plot and as such is a fairly compact house. 

At only one and a half storeys high, the lower floor is features a large open-plan living area with kitchen and dining area. It's kitted out with features like triple-glazing, high-grade seals and built-in units

"The glamorous living space delivers all of the fun of the seaside without any of the inconvenience," sad Kevin McCloud. "There's a terrazzo floor that looks like shingle but doesn't get between your toes. Instead of predictable piles of driftwood there's a beautifully crafted eucalyptus kitchen. And the wrap-around corner window allows for feasting of the eyes on the rolling waves but not your ears."

Meanwhile tucked away at the back is a mini spa with jacuzzi and sauna.

Upstairs the "skilful" use of space continues with a bath tucked under the eaves in one of the two bedrooms and two "dynamic" windows that allow light to pour into the space.

The home was longlisted for RIBA's House of the Year architectural awards and was praised in particular for overcoming the challenges of its small plot.

Built-in storage opposite the seating area in the living space of the home

The open-plan living area has built-in storage to make the most of maximising the small space (Image credit: RX Architects)
Amy Willis

Amy spent over a decade in London editing and writing for The Daily Telegraph, MailOnline, and Metro.co.uk before moving to East Anglia where she began renovating a period property in rural Suffolk. During this time she also did some TV work at ITV Anglia and CBS as well as freelancing for Yahoo, AOL, ESPN and The Mirror. When the pandemic hit she switched to full-time building work on her renovation and spent nearly two years focusing solely on that. She's taken a hands-on DIY approach to the project, knocking down walls, restoring oak beams and laying slabs with the help of family members to save costs. She has largely focused on using natural materials, such as limestone, oak and sisal carpet, to put character back into the property that was largely removed during the eighties. The project has extended into the garden too, with the cottage's exterior completely re-landscaped with a digger and a new driveway added. She has dealt with de-listing a property as well as handling land disputes and conveyancing administration.