At serene shack Captains Rest on Tasmania’s remote west coast, all you have to do is breathe.
When stylist/designer/writer and bona fide adventurer Sarah Andrews was in her twenties, she attempted to sail solo around the world. Alas, she didn’t make it; one stormy night in the Pacific Ocean, her boat sunk and she had to be rescued by the Mexican Navy.
Having spent the best part of a decade living on the ocean and in faraway lands, when she moved back to Australia to start ‘real’ life again, she desperately missed the wild, the small communities she’d encountered and the peace she’d found living close to the water. So she began to look for a way to replicate the lifestyle she’d lost.
Sarah, how did you come to own this special spot you call Captains Rest?
After years of searching, I saw it in a magazine, and bought it that day over the phone. I had no idea what I was in for!
What sort of state was it in?
I bought it sight unseen and it was in way worse condition than I expected. I thought it’d be a restore-and-style project, but it was a whole-house rebuild from the stumps up and a major challenge – and not only because it’s an eight-hour round trip to the nearest hardware store. There was a lot to do; several of us worked on it for about six months. But it was worth it.
How did the interior look unfold?
The styling was tricky, but now the cottage feels as if it’s been this way forever. We’re hours from anywhere and I have a tiny car, so I found lots of pieces locally, •
repurposed others and sent my friends to some of my favourite stockists. I bought a few of the larger items online, and just crossed my fingers that they’d work. The end result is humble and true to its surroundings and history; I think it’s worked out really nicely.
Captains Rest is available for visitors to rent on Airbnb – do you manage to spend time there yourself?
I’m able to get there a few times a year – and when I do, I never want to leave. Right now, I’m busy working on other people’s holiday homes, but I won’t rent out Captains Rest forever. One day it’ll be just for me and my loved ones.
Do you encourage your guests to use it as a retreat?
I consider it an escape, but for lots of my guests, it’s a base from which to explore. I always get asked what to do in the area and I give people a long list, but I’ve noticed that once they get there, they find a way to stop being busy and just be still.
What do you love most about this part of Tasmania?
The World Heritage sites on the west coast are amazing. There are a couple of remote small towns here that time forgot, and that’s exactly how the locals like it. Of course, the rest of the world has got the memo, and now we’re on everyone’s radar.
Do you dream of repeating this renovation process?
Absolutely! I’m just waiting for the right slice of paradise to come across my desk. It’d have to be pretty special to be in the same league as Captains Rest, though. I’ve never experienced this magic anywhere else. captainsrest.com
CHAPTER & VERSE Sarah’s skilled styling is key to the cottage’s charm; “I like to create spaces that tell stories,” she says. This nook by the bay window is furnished with plump textured cushions; artwork picked up on her travels, on Etsy and at...