Grand Designs

Series 11 - Episode 3

Grand Designs
Radio Times
Review by:
Alison Graham

Oh my, this is exquisite; a lifeboat house in Tenby lovingly converted by Tim O’Donovan and his wife Philomena. The building has been empty since its previous occupants, the RNLI, moved to spanking new premises just along the shore.

The outcome is glorious, but this wouldn’t be Grand Designs without peril-in-the-process and there’s plenty of that because the entire project is at the mercy of the tide. Everything involved in the building work has to be hauled across the sand at low tide, then hoisted up into the lifeboat house. One contractor is a bit tardy and watches, smiling nervously, as one of his diggers slowly starts to become submerged
by the incoming water.

Tim O’Donovan is coy about his budget (“somewhere between a fair lot of money and an awful lot of money”) but really, when you see the finished house, with its heartbreakingly lovely view of the open sea, you will swoon and think it beyond the price of rubies.

About this programme

3/12. Kevin McCloud meets Tim and Philomena O'Donovan, who are trying to convert the old lifeboat station in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, into a contemporary home and preserve the historic building for posterity. A weather-worn, rusting and rotting hulk that was never designed for habitation, it is perched on a steel pier 40ft above the sea and can only be reached by crossing the sandy beach at low tide.

Cast and crew


Kevin McCloud


Executive Producer
Charlie Bunce
Series Producer
Madeleine Hall