We had the most awful weather in March this year - snow for the first time here since 2010 and it was bitterly cold in the cottage, despite the central heating and the wood burner. Most of the cold was coming from the porch, a 1960s concrete block addition to the original cob section of the cottage. Totally uninsulated, prone to damp and mould, and to add to its woes, we had to put a cat flap into it to allow the cats to access their run and the litter trays (there was no other place that we could install one). We were also reluctant to cut a cat flap into the original inner door, so that had to be left open a cat's width, to allow them back in!
After consultation with a builder friend, we realised that the only answer to the damp problem was to insulate the walls of the porch so we ordered Celotex sheets, wooden battening, tongue and groove panelling and a huge tin of black bituminous paint.
I cleaned the walls down with bleach, followed by copious quantities of sugar soap and once the whole lot was dry, I repainted the white ceiling before Kevin set to with the black paint. The porch suddenly took on a sinister aspect - the Black Hole of Chilsworthy - and the smell was breathtaking (not in a good way, either).
Once that was dry, Kevin put up the battens into which the 50mm thick Celotex was fitted and then he clad the whole lot with tongue and groove, which we then painted with an off-white.
The floor of the porch had been laid with the same pavers that had been used for the drive, so we painted it with grey floor paint to make it easier to keep clean, then laid jute matting in front of the door.
The final touches were the terracotta owls, brought from our old house, an oil painting of a country cottage (painted by my talented great-uncle years ago) and the terracotta sign above the inner door, which reads Parva Domus, Magna Quies (Little House, Great Peace). The coat hooks were replaced and we stood back to admire our handiwork.
The porch felt cool during the recent very hot weather, so we hope that the reverse will prove to be true once the cold weather hits.
Next task is to insulate the fireplace in the sitting room - but that means moving the wood burner to remove what we believe is a gravestone screwed to the wall behind it (!)