My husband and I both work for ourselves, in various aspects of design and construction, and we are both lucky to have a lot of really wonderful clients who are kind, interesting and talented people. Tom’s roster of clients includes some very notable people, which occasionally makes my own life and work a lot more interesting. This is one of those occasions. In August, Tom spent a few weeks working on Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands — that is the island owned by Sir Richard Branson and, as well as being a gorgeous resort, it is also his primary residence. Luckily for me, at the end of August, I was able to join Tom in the islands for the last few days of his trip. We stayed on Virgin Gorda, a short boat ride away from Necker, and I was able to hop over there to his job site and see this amazing place for myself and meet the incredible staff and crew they have there. Even more lucky for me…? They hired me to do a small interior plant-scaping project for them, so at the end of September, Tom and I both traveled back to Necker, both of us with work to do, and this time we stayed on the island itself…. in a private Bali house…. with our own pool. It does not get much better.
Days began with a dip in the pool. We then spent long hours working to help to put the main house back together after being reconstructed, almost two years to the day, since it burned down due to a lighting strike caused by Hurricane Irene in 2011. There were hundreds of hardworking people that got this done and we contributed only tiny pieces at the end of the process. Anyway, another dip in the pool at the end of the day, followed by a delicious dinner, free-flowing champagne, dancing and celebrating. Only to start the whole thing over again the next morning. Sir Richard was so elated to have his house back, that at the very first dinner to be hosted in the great room in over two years, he danced on down the middle of the dining table with one of his guests, nearly hitting his head on one of the massive ostrich egg chandeliers that hangs over the table that comfortably seats 40. It was phenomenal. On another night, we dragged bean bag cushions to the roof of the great house to gaze at shooting stars and the milky way, while hearing about Virgin Gallactic’s plans for commercial flights into space, from the man himself.
But some of my favorite parts of the trip were the close encounters with the wildlife that has the full run of the island: huge iguanas, giant tortoises and fat geckos, flamingoes, scarlet ibises and dive-bombing pelicans, and three different kinds of curious and playful lemurs. I was just visiting, but they get to live there full-time.