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"Portloe" developed its name from "Porth Logh" meaning cove pool. Its naturally sheltered position meant that it grew into an important pilchard fishing port, at the beginning of the 20th Century there were over 50 boats working from here. Smuggling played a big part in its history, French brandy was the main contraband, brought ashore by fishermen and hidden in cellars and local farms. The steep sided valleys have meant
that it escaped development over the years and the buildings
differ little from when they were built. 

Sir John Betjeman said of Portloe "One of the least spoiled and most impressive of Cornish villages". 
My father bought the two cottages in the 1950's.  At the time cement render was considered the ideal solution to make Cornish cottages water-tight. The problem was that water still found its way in and was then trapped inside - a similar effect to placing a large polythene bag over the house - effectively making the cottage sweat. 
This dampness also caused much of the woodwork, such as the lintels, to rot.  

The existing masonry paint was removed by sandblasting to reveal the cement render beneath. This was carefully chipped off by hand exposing the stone and mud wall construction beneath.
These bare bones were covered by a new layer of hydraulic lime mortar which will continue to harden over time. The traditional method of covering the wet lime with damp hessian was used to slow the drying process to prevent cracking. Finally a special lime paint was applied over the top. The idea is that the walls will now be permeable and allow the cottage to "breathe"
The lichen on the roof was very heavy and so sadly also had to be removed. 
Work Began February 2021
The lintel above the window in the sitting room was completely rotten and needed to be replaced. When the plasterboard was removed it was possible to see just how wet the walls were, not helped by an inner layer of plastic sheeting that had been placed behind the plaster board in an attempt to keep the damp out!
To continue to aid the "breathability" of the cottage,  the inside walls were then repointed with a lime mortar rather than recovering them.
Removing the plasterboard also revealed an interesting insulation method used to fill the gaps around the window -  a copy of the "Cornwall Gazette" from December 13 1984! 
Repairing the garden wall outside the back of the house was my lockdown project, learning how to repoint using lime mortar. 
Outside the door, behind the outside tap, a section of stones ran vertically and an  investigation revealed that behind them was a large deep hole, supported by a large stone lintel. It is probably an old drain but much more fun to imagine it as a secret hiding place for some smuggled brandy! 
The plan is to repoint and light it from the inside with a glass/perspex front to create an interesting focal point. 

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The Bathroom extension was added in the 1950's before my family bought the cottage. It was a single wall cement block construction with no wall or ceiling  insulation and so more than a little chilly in winter! 
Insulation panels were added to the outside of the building. The panels were covered with a breathable blue membrane and then a "wheatabix" material (called celonet), to which the lime mortar could establish a bond. The mortar was then shaped to look as if the extension is also made of stone, in keeping with the rest of the cottage.
The Garden Wall 
Inside the Cottage 
The Bathroom Extension
The cottage has a lovely large terrace with great views out to sea which also means that it is also very exposed to salty winds in winter.
There are now some plants in containers and creating more of a garden space here is a project for the Summer of 2022, so watch this space! 

The Terrace
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