Architect -
Designer Sarah Andrews
Construction -
Photography Leann Timms and Rachel Claire

From Castaway to Caretaker: Sarah Andrews’ Journey to Captains Rest

Eight years ago, Sarah Andrews stumbled upon a forlorn shed at the end of a jetty, battered by the winds of time and neglect— a reflection of her own inner tempest at the time when her solo sailing journey around the world ended abruptly when a storm sank her boat off the coast of Mexico. Rescued by the Mexican Navy, she spent months on a remote beach before returning to Australia. However, reintegrating into modern life proved challenging.

I was really just looking for a safe haven at the end of the world where I could heal. The West Coast of Tasmania is one of the last true refuges from society in the world

The untamed landscapes, both beautiful and unforgiving, spoke to her soul, prompting her to purchase the shack that had been on the market for seven years. “I guess I was meant to be its lucky custodian,” she muses. “That and I got it for peanuts, which is all I could afford.”

For Andrews, it was the perfect place to pause and figure out her next move, hence the name, Captains Rest. The humble shack was erected in the 50s and 60s by enthusiastic men with quite a few beers in hand. Her vision for the structure was to take it back to its bones and rebuild it completely, which took around six months, with the nearest hardware store being eight hours away.

“Every single inch and piece has deep importance to me,” she shares. “It was created as my home — I lived there full-time for almost a year and part-time for the following four years”.

Andrews sourced just about everything in the home. The antique windows that frame vistas of the misty bay once embellished a forgotten Launceston hospital.

“I love the light that reflects off the water and then distorts through the old glass in the windows,” she explains. “All you can hear are birds, ducks and the gentle comings and goings of water birds, seals, dolphins and sometimes whales outside.”

A century-old bedhead used in the bedroom, made by a father for his twin sons, still has their names etched on the back. The iconic and photogenic bath is a restored Tasmanian original, and all of the wood in the desk and kitchen was hand-hewn and joined locally by one of her neighbours. 

For Andrews, Captains Rest overreaches the boundaries of a mere accommodation — it is a sanctuary for the soul. “Every time I enter Captains Rest, my heart skips a beat,” she confides. The space seeps a sense of otherworldliness, where the boundary between reality and reverie blurs, and the world has noticed. Airbnb bookings have been pouring in, along with awards pinned to the vintage decor and uniqueness of the shack. The spatial scientist and sailor, turned designer and teacher, seems to have cracked the code on holiday rentals. She even teaches a masterclass with a student list that spans the globe. 

To Sarah, home is not a structure—it is a canvas to paint dreams.

“Home is a world you can build yourself to escape the noise of the world,” she reflects, echoing the sentiment that resonates within the walls of Captains Rest. “I call it “world building” instead of houses and homes.”

“I often think about thin spaces. Where the veil between this world and the next feels permeable—and this place is certainly that.”

PROJECT Captain’s Rest
CATEGORIES Accommodation
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