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A Magically Restorative Waterfront Getaway In Tasmania

Stays

There must be something in the water in Tasmania… Not only does an insanely beautiful accommodation offering crop up here every other week, but as Sarah Andrews will tell you, it’s a place where magic happens.

Sarah is the owner of Captains Rest, a heritage-listed waterfront cottage turned Airbnb in Strahan, a small town on the state’s west coast. Once a dilapidated shack no one wanted, Sarah has transformed this into an enhancing space that’s become one of the most in-demand accommodations in the Apple Isle.

6th December, 2019

Captains Rest is in Strahan, Tasmania. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The small town is a former port on the west coast of Tasmania. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The accomdation is a true waterfront property. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The space is styled with wares salvaged from all over the state. Photo – Marnie Hawson

When designing this space, Sarah’s main priority was including at least six different places to sit. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Captains Rest opened in 2017 and is now booked up months in advance. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Prior to owning this property, Sarah had been sailing solo between Mexico and Australia. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Sarah first came about this Strahan property upon flicking through a copy of Country Style magazine in 2016. Photo – Marnie Hawson

No matter where you are in the home, you can gaze out at the water. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Sarah always believed in the potential of this space to be a year-round tourist drawcard. Photo – Marnie Hawson

‘Through the process of creating a space initially intended for me, I got to dream up exactly what I wanted, without any anxiety around what other people might like,’ Sarah says. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Beautiful shadows dance along the walls of the space. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Nearly every review of Captain Rest describes the place as ‘magic.’ Photo – Marnie Hawson

Getting the space up to scratch required significant renovations – far more than Sarah first anticipated. Photo – Marnie Hawson

When arriving at the property for the first time, Sarah realised it had no power, no water and was on such a lean that she experienced horrible vertigo. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Renovations of Captains Rest took six months to complete. Photo – Marnie Hawson

The space is designed for ultimate beauty and relaxation. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Personal touches are dotted throughout. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Guests wake up to greenery and ocean views. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Sarah has been collecting art her whole life. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Beautiful bed linens add to the experience. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Sarah runs this property from the road where she work and lives full time. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Local produce growing nearby. Photo – Marnie Hawson

It’s hard to believe this home sat empty for years before Sarah purchased it! Photo – Marnie Hawson

The accommodation is a beautifully appointed space full of heart. Photo – Marnie Hawson

Amelia Barnes
Friday 6th December 2019

‘Who needs function? I want beauty. A bath, and to watch the stars from it. A timeless slice of the universe, that always was and always will be.’ – Sarah Andrews

Sarah Andrews lives life on her own terms – but this wasn’t always the case. For years, she tried to live a regular life, (‘wife, mortgage, stuff, job’) but what she really longed for was to be on the road, with no one to check in with, and nowhere to be.

This pipe dream eventually became Sarah’s reality, when she set off to sail from Mexico to Australia. Unfortunately, Sarah got caught in a storm that saw the boat she had called home, and the life ‘she was deeply in love with and never wanted to leave,’ sink to the depths of the ocean. Sarah says, ‘I’ve been searching for a place ever since to rest again. I found it here, and in this little cabin. I’m the captain, and she’s my rest.’

Sarah first came about this Strahan property when flicking through a copy of Country Style magazine in 2016. ‘I saw a tiny insert about a fishing village in the middle of nowhere that time forgot in Tasmania. I saw a little shack perched on the edge. I made a few phone calls, it was for sale, and I bought it on the spot.’

The plan was for the property to become Sarah’s home, so she set out to design her absolute dream space. On the top of her list – at least six spots to sit, so no matter where you were in the home, you could gaze out at the water. ‘Who needs function? I want beauty. A bath, and to watch the stars from it. A timeless slice of the universe, that always was and always will be.’

Getting the space up to scratch required significant work – far more than Sarah anticipated when she put in that hasty offer! She arrived to find the property had no power, no water, and was on such a lean that she experienced horrible vertigo.

With little budget to spare, Sarah set out across the state to source old doors and windows to give the space its wonderfully eclectic, lived-in feel. ‘The isolation was incredibly difficult,’ she recalls. ‘It was just me in my little car, driving all over Tasmania for bits and bobs. It took time, and patience, and frustration.’

A few months into the renovation, life intervened (‘a surprise divorce and a scary health diagnosis’) and Sarah decided the property would instead become short-term accommodation. ‘My secret place really needed to, quite quickly, help support me financially through a tough time. Which, spoiler alert, it did.’

Others had doubts about this vision, but Sarah always believed in its potential. She recalls a time a local came up to her and said ‘You know you’ll only rent this four weeks a year over the high season, don’t you? No one visits any other time.’ Today, Captains Rest is booked solid, months in advance.

The reviews of Captains Rest speak for themself. Against all the odds, Sarah has created a remarkable space that’s become both her financial and mental saviour, and is cherished by all those who frequent it. ‘Here, I am happiest. And it’s strange to me that everyone else is too. It’s come as a total shock to me that maybe I am not so different after all.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net