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 November 22

by Carolina

If you recognised the amazing clifftop dream home in Wales where Louise Minchin, Naughty Boy, Danny Miller and Snoochie Shy met in the first episode of ITV’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! it’s because it is already a celebrity in its own right.

The white-washed, glass-fronted house has featured on Channel 4’s popular dream property programme Grand Designs in 2014 – when it was revealed that it will eventually end up at the bottom of the cliff due to erosion.

As well as being a TV star, the house has won a Royal Society of Architects in Wales (RSAW) award and long-listed for the RIBA Grand Designs: House of the Year 2015.

READ MORE: I’m A Celebrity filming locations showcase stunning Welsh coastline, mountains and forest

The house that hugs the coastline of Gwynedd is called Cefn Castell and boasts the most incredible views which had TV viewers watching in awe as four of the contestants met at the property before starting their adventure at nearby Gwrych Castle.

Cefn Castell was a labour of love for the owners, Rob and Kay Hodgson, with drama that far exceeds anything the celebrities will be going through during the reality series.

Looking at the position of the house by the sea, you might think that by now the property would be lying at the bottom of the adjacent cliff, such was the drama created around the stability of the surrounding geology when the property featured on Grand Designs.

Four of the I’m a Celebrity 2021 contestants raise a glass inside the home

Rob told WalesOnline in 2019: “I understand the focus on the cliff, it was an aspect of the project and of course the production company needed to bring that aspect to the forefront of the story.

“People who pass by on the coastal path always want to chat and most of them ask about the cliff issue, but it hasn’t moved. Props have been in place for years now and we’ve not lost any more than about 10cm of it.”

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud at the Welsh dream home

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

Award-winning home

Rob says a range of experts have predicted the life of the home to be about 140 years, so that’s plenty of time for Rob to continue enjoying relaxing at his favourite spot, the patio in the garden overlooking the sea.

Since featuring on Grand Designs, the couple have enjoyed living in the ultra-contemporary glass and white-washed home.

Rob says: “As time passes you don’t really appreciate it as much as when you start living here and I really should.

“Sometimes I just stop what I’m doing and am struck by the view but on a day-to-day basis you start to become accustomed to it. I know I am so lucky to live in such a lovely spot.”

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

Keeping the stone wall as important

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

Entrance designed to tempt you in… and it does

But this site was not the couple’s first choice for their new home in Wales. Originally from the Warrington area, Rob and Kay were struck by the beauty of the Llyn Peninsula and knew that this iconic Welsh location should be their new base.

For almost a year the couple were trying to buy Wern Manor to set up a sculpture park in the garden but at the last minute in 2008, when the property crash occurred, a crucial element of funding from their bank was withdrawn.

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Rob remembers: “We still wanted to do something on the peninsula and my wife saw a building plot for sale, so on the spur of the moment, on a beautiful June summer’s day, we saw the site and fell in love with the stunning location.”

And so their sometimes stressful Grand Designs journey began.

Rob says he would recommend to other potential Grand Designs contributors to appear on the show, although he thinks there are disadvantages as well as advantages.

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

The internal view runs through the home from one side to the other

He says: “It adds pressure at a time when you’ve got a lot on but the production team were all very lovely and supportive.

“I would say go into it with your eyes wide open and remember the crew are in the business of constructing a watchable show and they want a story so you need to be sure that, whatever comes out, whether you like it or not, it will be part of the story.

“There’s no editorial control and that’s fine because it’s their job, it’s not a criticism of your build, it’s just the story.”

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

Mix of old and new materials, stone with glass with white-washed walls

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

The structure of the house beautifully frames the special sea views

Since appearing on the show in 2011 Rob has set up his own company called Inspire Presenting and Writing, which trains people from wide-ranging organisations to exploit the power of the spoken word when delivering live presentations.

But since the show he’s also had a nagging itch to plunge the couple back into property development.

He says: “It’s a bit like having a baby, for the first six months you say you are never going to do that again, then the thought creeps in and keeps growing, so maybe I have one more left in me.”

There are no regrets from appearing on the show and how the couple’s lives have changed since living at Cefn Castell.

Photos of Rob and Kay Hodgson's home on the Llyn Peninsular called Cefn Castell which appeared in 2014 on Grand Designs on Channel 4. Photo has Kevin McCloud presenter, Rob and Kay Hodgson homeowners

The house is unique in so many ways but its birth was stressful

Rob comments: “We knew we were taking a risk for lots of reasons including coming up with a design that we couldn’t afford.

“It was a very difficult site and a very difficult project, but architect John Boardman and Ian Hunt and his building team at Innerworld have created a house that has proved to be fantastically well built with no problems at all.

“So all I can say is sometimes you have to take that risk, create something that bit special that we now get so much from; it was worth the years of trauma to get here.”

It’s the second time I’m A Celebrity is being held in Wales instead of Australia due to the “continued uncertainty” around Covid-19 and international travel and a “highly successful” run in 2020, which saw Giovanna Fletcher crowned Queen of the Castle. You can read more on last year’s winner here.

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Original posted at www.walesonline.co.uk

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