Tess Sadleir

Drinking freshly brewed coffee on the deck outside a 1960's bus called Tiger Jane. Breathing in the misty morning air rising from the surrounding Jarrah and Marri forests. Yoga under a clear blue sky, homemade sourdough bread, nieces and nephews running around. I feel grounded just reading about it.   


What does “home” mean to you?
I’ve been a gypsy for most of my life and have had so many homes I’ve seriously lost count, so my understanding of “home” I think truly comes from within. As a result of this diversity, the concept for me is eclectic. A place to rest my head, to store my sometimes limited possessions and sometimes hoarded loot of magnificent finds from around the world, or around the corner. Home is a place of sanctuary to run around in my underwear in the summer, to walk around on soft sheep clouds that enclose my feet in colder months, to hide from the world when needed. I have also shared my home with a myriad collection of characters, so to share a sanctuary with another is to learn about what resides within them as well, which can be truly fascinating (and in some cases slightly disturbing).

Where do you call home?
Elmoss, my family’s property in Crooked Brook, located in the hills 2.5 hours from Perth in the South West of Western Australia. I live off the grid in a green bus/mobile home from the 1960’s called Tiger Jane, parked on the side of a hill, about five minutes walk to the main house on the property. She has a large deck built out the front with an outdoor living room and kitchen and an amazing view. I came here five months ago, to breathe some country air, clear my head, help my family establish their gardens and new tiny house, and plan a new creative venture.


What makes it home?
A comfortable bed, a sense of peace, but also an outlet for some good quality noise. A well-equipped kitchen to enable cooking a glorious meal or concoct a magic potion. For me it involves company, family or friends. Sometimes friends become family. Sometimes frogs, lizards, birds and kangaroos become family.

If I came to visit you, what would you absolutely have to share with me?  
Morning yoga under a deep blue sky in the acre of garden, followed by coffee brewed on the camper gas stove outside Tiger Jane and whatever is on the breakfast menu at my deck restaurant (usually it’s only my family that eat there).


How should I spend a weekend in your hometown?

  1. A climb up one of the hills at sunset with the aid of wine, cheese and a rug to escape sitting on kangaroo poo.
  2. A dam dip in summer.
  3. Wine tasting at Hackersley, Carlaminda Winery and St Aidan Wines.
  4. A visit to the Quirky Den, a treasure chest of odd vintage finds.
  5. Rustic French Living, a cute little converted church selling French-inspired gifts and homewares.

Where can I find the best coffee/bread/brunch/flowers/groceries…
For good coffee you would have to travel 30 mins into Bunbury. Once upon a time it was bogan central, however now there are a handful of awesome cafes, including Benesse, Café 140 and The Townhouse. Bread: I would have to say my sister’s spelt sourdough. I have not found bread to match its awesome glory, and I am sure she would make some if requested. However, if not, I would say the next best option would be Bread & Butter Woodfired Bakery. There are great farmers markets in Boyanup and Bunbury that set up in open areas at various times of the year, where you can find an array of local produce, ranging from fruit and vegetables, meat and free range eggs, olive oils, hemp products, local crafts and sometimes the odd Isreali Shakshuka or Indian embroidered ribbon.

If I want to hang out and people watch, where should I go?
There are not many people who hang out in this rural area. However, there is a place not too far away where around 5000 gnomes reside. No one really knows for sure how Gnomesville started. The little critters just started popping up in a particular area and it grew from there. These days it’s a tourist attraction and people bring gnomes from around the world to add to the ceramic city, which is located on the side of the road and stretches back into the bush in the heart of the Ferguson Valley.

If you left, what would you miss? And what would you be happy to leave behind?
I would miss the sunsets, the light, the colours, the free animals. I would miss the open deck, the disco solar lights at night, the copious amounts of stars that never fail to stop me in my tracks and induce a good stare. I will miss spending time with my family, time that I don’t often have as I’m usually far away. I will miss the feeling of amazing potential of a huge property coming to life with new growth trees and gardens and also new homes popping up on the property. I will miss the ritual of morning coffee with my mum. I will miss being close to my nephews and niece, who I have had precious irreplaceable time with in these past five months, enabling me to experience growth at such a fascinatingly quick pace so early on in life.

Where is your dream home and why?
My dream home… can I have more than one? Sometimes I want a tree house in the Blue Mountains (NSW, Australia), sometimes a shack by the beach in Dunsborough (Western Australia). Tomorrow I might want to live inside a piece of art in the middle of Barcelona. My dream home would tie together all my accumulated design ideas and interests into the one space and it will probably end up looking like a mad house due to the fact that I am really indecisive and have such eclectic influences. I hope I can have my own home in the future, to play with and have it evolve with me.