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Inside Richard Branson’s Automated Caribbean Home

Sir Richard Branson's home on Necker Island offered great views and electronics.

CE Pro Editors · December 6, 2011

Update: Crestron says the installation Think Simple completed was in Sir Richard Branson’s nearby private house on Necker Island, which did not burn down in the August 2011 fire caused by a lightning strike. The building that burned down was part of the main house. We apologize for the confusion.

With its beautiful beaches and 74-acres of private property, Necker Island in the Caribbean would be considered to be paradise by many, including Sir Richard Branson.

Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Virgin Records and 400 other companies, decked out his island home with top-of-the-line electronics to help create the ultimate luxury experience.

The install wasn’t all smooth sailing for the crew from Think Simple Limited. While the open space in the three-room (or, more accurately, three small buildings) house offers incredible views, power outages on the island, lightning, and the highly corrosive salty air posed challenges. “The Caribbean environment is very harsh,” said Think Simple Limited partner Rusty Henderson.

With the natural elements in mind, exposed surfaces and all connections were marinised to keep them free from the salty air. A series of uninterruptible power supplies, which use batteries to filter the power and make sure it’s perfectly consistent, was also installed. Whenever possible, copper cable was used to transport audio, video and Internet signals via non-conducive fiber optics.

Think Simple installed two Crestron control processors and tied them into a movie player, DVD player, two LED displays (one in the bedroom and one in the kitchen), a multi-zone sound system with three iPod docks and a 55” SunBrite weather-proof TV for the Temple Room. Branson can choose a movie or TV station, queue up music from his iPod or play a DVD.

He also has Internet connections in each living area. The pool includes underwater speakers, so Branson and his guests can listen to music or the TV when swimming or relaxing. Think Simple also installed Crestron Cameo Keypads in each room as an alternative, in-wall control for the music system.

It took the eight-man crew 28 days to install all the components and wiring, traveling from a temporary base on the nearby island of Virgin Gorda. “We hired two transport vessels to get the team to and from the island every day,” Henderson said. “The boats had to be pretty large as we had over 20 waterproof crates full of the equipment and tools required to implement the installation.”

Branson appreciated the hard work, saying, “This is absurdly good!” What do you think?

Click here for Inside Richard Branson’s Automated Carribean Home.

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