A character cottage located five kilometres north of Perth in Western Australia, the Above Bored B&B is a charming Bed and Breakfast with a difference. It is the residence of Sarah Rossetti, award wining screenwriter responsible for episodes on Australian television classics such as Home and Away, Bush Patrol and Sleepover Club.
Her second love, the Above Bored Bed and Breakfast, features homely furnishings, fresco wall paintings in public areas, is child and pet friendly and is set in tidy grounds complete with courtyard, traditional Australian BBQ and a goldfish pond.
Art, culture and a friendly atmosphere abound at the Above Bored Bed and Breakfast, where you may be many things, but bored won’t be one of them.
We were lucky enough to be able to get an interview with owner Sarah Rossetti, who opens up about her decisions as a B&B owner, and also as an artist.
It is interesting that a prominent screenwriter would also run a Bed and Breakfast, how do you find the time to do both?
I am a freelance screenwriter, so I work from home, and keep my own hours. It means sometimes I have to burn the midnight oil on screenwriting deadlines, but this is nothing new.
Do you find that guests ask for assistance on their own scripts and screenplays? Do you encourage that sort of thing?
Rarely do I have guests who are working on their own screenplays, but many of my guests are very interested in films and the workings of story, and I chat to them about it. I also can offer them some of my produced work to watch and they enjoy doing that. My underwater fresco bathroom is created from a short film I wrote which enjoyed great success around the world, entitled, Pilbara Pearl. In that film, the lead character, Pearl, puts her head in a fish tank and goes on underwater magic realist journeys. Pearl has inspired two feature films I am currently completing, so she is central in my creative dreaming. I have also completed a PhD entitled Enigmatic Pearls which theoretically examines my journey through the three Pearl films and through life. There is always salt of writer in the soup of drama, so when Pearl resolves her issues mine resolve too. I am a diver and love being underwater.
When my friend and fellow diver, Graeme Richards, the fresco artist came over one day, I said, “Graeme, can you imagine this? When you stand in the bathroom it is like standing inside the fish tank, looking out with depth of field into the ocean. Can you paint that on the ceiling and on the walls for me? And I want Pearl diving down, oh and the man hole in the ceiling, that has to be a cray pot with crayfish inside (lobsters).” I also wrote a wry documentary called Lobster Tales which screened around the world, art informs life.
Are guests occasionally an inspiration for your writing?
I never create characters from real people, but I am creating a chic lit novel about my life on one side of my home as a divorcee rebuilding her own life, and the fictitious people she meets running her Bed and Breakfast, who come and go on the other side of her home. I will keep you posted about that novel, the title is my secret at present. Many situations have humour if you have a wry eye for it, as I do, so it will be a good read. The art is knowing how to walk the tightrope between comedy and tragedy, and never to forget that essential ingredient – heart.
‘Above Bored’ is a clever name, how did you come up with it / what does it mean to you?
Well, of course it comes from the old adage, Above Board. To me that is a given, of course my B&B is ship shape and above board, very arty too. But I created it because I love the flow of people coming into my home, so I am never bored, and nor are my guests.
What advice would you give to aspiring B & B owners?
Install personality into your place, in whichever way is a true extension of you. If it is a pleasant and memorable experience for your guests, they will tell others. Word of mouth is really important. In a recession, the news is not all bad for B&B owners. When people can no longer afford top priced hotels, they may come to a B&B for the first time, and find they really enjoy the experience, with brekky included. My guests often say my place is lovely, and private, so unlike the stark hotel rooms that they have been in, yet offering all the creature comforts of a hotel stay at a much more affordable rate. Win win.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Go for what is unresolved, bravely with heart and emotional honesty. When your character resolves it, so will you.
Did Fawlty Towers provide any impetus to your desire to run a B&B?
Never, but on planes they still run that episode where Manwell’s pet rat escapes on the eve of the health inspector’s arrival to close them down, and it makes me laugh so loudly that heads turn, love that episode.
I say about my place, exclusive non intrusive. To me that means, if guests enjoy a conversation, they can always chat to me, however, if they love their privacy, I respect that equally. Nothing is worse than a hovering host when you just want to be alone to finish some work you must complete, or with your partner enjoying a romantic weekend. Everybody’s needs are different. For instance, I welcome children here, well behaved pets can keep me company in my back yard, my place is all on one level and can accommodate the disabled, the key words for me are welcoming and attuned to the needs of others, a good B&B must always offer that.
Above Bored B&B