Sarah Andrews wears two hats — one hat is a beanie that she shoves her curly hair under and wears when sailing across stormy seas. Ten years ago, with this hat on her head, she ventured on a journey across the Pacific Ocean, taking her beloved boat on a solo journey from Mexico to Australia. One dark night, in the middle of the ocean, a harrowing storm caught up with her and sunk the boat she called home. “[I] got very lucky and was eventually picked up by the Mexican navy — sounds like a tall tale but it’s all true,” Sarah confirms the incredible turn of events.
Since that fateful night at sea, Sarah has spent years looking for ways to replace that boat and the unparalleled feeling of seclusion and being one with the water. “There’s no greater feeling than living on the water, surrounded by those who are living a life cast off from society,” she explains. One day, flicking through a magazine, Sarah spotted a little Tasmanian cottage that was up for sale. She knew in an instant that it was the home that she had been looking for all those years. Without hesitation, Sarah bought the cottage, sight unseen. She packed her car full of tools and equipment, drove across Australia, crossed the ocean on a ferry, arrived in Tasmania, and picked up the keys.
Had Sarah known what awaited her in the small seaside village of Lettes Bay, she probably would have backed out. When she arrived at the cottage, she realized that she didn’t even need a key — all windows and doors were wide open and hanging off their hinges. On top of that, there was no electricity or running water. That first night, Sarah drank a bottle of port on the floor in her sleeping bag, cried for a few days and finally, pulled herself together and got to work.
Sarah spent the next six months tearing down and rebuilding the cottage. With the nearest hardware store an eight-hour round trip away, the renovation required plenty of will and determination, but she made it work. She also had to jump through some hoops to make changes to the 80-year-old heritage listed cottage, but was eventually able to design the entire floor plan from scratch. A combined lounge and kitchen area, a separate bedroom and a bathroom equipped with a clawfoot tub all offer the most stunning views of the water through huge antique windows that Sarah had installed. Respectful of its history, Sarah turned the once-rundown cottage into a home that is flexible and reflective of her personal taste.
The other hat that Sarah wears is a creative one — when it’s time to make a living, she finds a spot with wi-fi and works in communications design, PR and as a stylist, renovating and decorating homes with stories and heart. Her unique talent for creating breathtaking spaces and seeing beauty in the most mundane objects is obvious as soon as you set foot in her little cottage. It’s a serene space, lovingly decorated with old portraits, antiques, fine linens, luscious velvets and curated objects from both Australia and around the world. It is the warm decor, calming atmosphere and the presence of the sea that truly set Sarah’s waterfront home, which she befittingly named Captains Rest, apart from anything we’ve seen before. From the floor plan to the smallest decorative details, everything ended up coming together naturally and with ease. “It’s hard to describe how it worked, perhaps it was a certain magic, she just sort of appeared as if she had always lived,” Sarah describes the process. In Captains Rest, Sarah has finally found what she was looking for all these years — an escape by the water, a haven from the storms, and a place to call home. —Sofia
Image above: The lounge offers two comfortable spots to sit. They are both long enough to double as beds if friends stay over, or if a dinner party stretches long into the night. “I love lying here and watching the ocean or my fire crackling. I can also spot what the fishermen have caught, and if I pop my head out the door and say hello, I’ll always get a fish for tea,” Sarah shares.