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new Facebook Watch series kicks off with novice builders constructing an off-grid jungle oasis and a 3D designer's cave-like mansion

Evening Standard Homes & Property logoEvening Standard Homes & Property 09/11/2018 Meghann Murdock
© Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

A towering tree house in the heart of the Costa Rican jungle, complete with an extraordinary sky lounge, cinema and rainwater-filled plunge pool, is the stand-out star of the first episode of the new 'Most Incredible Homes' series on Facebook Watch.

The social networking site's video-on-demand service has launched a series featuring three extraordinary homes in far-flung corners of the globe, during five separate 12-minute episodes.

The series opens with three properties that couldn't be more different in their design aesthetic.

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An "off-grid oasis" in the middle of the Costa Rican rainforest is a wildly ambitious dream project for newlywed couple Amy, 31 and Matt, 35.

With no previous experience and minimal savings, the loved-up pair openly describe themselves as "absolute amateur" self-builders.

a house with bushes in the background: mihjunglehouseexterior.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited mihjunglehouseexterior.jpg
Jungle House: wall-to-wall windows make the most of stunning treetop views (Facebook Watch)

They set out to build an 'almost' self-sufficient home with no maintenance costs, no utility bills, but with all the amenities of the modern world.

Battling the jungle elements — sun exposure, wood rot, termites and heavy rainfall — the couple face what seems like an impossible task. But at the end of the episode we return to see the finished structure, and it the sheer scale of what they have managed to accomplish in this remote location is astonishing.

"This is luxury treetop living," says Amy, "When I walk through the front door, it still takes my breath away."

The striking teak-clad tree house is actually two homes in one — one for the couple to live in and one to provide a steady rental income. Each part, or even the entire home, is also available to rent short-term.

White metro tiles, wood finishes and hi-spec appliances in the kitchen give it a contemporary feel, while wall-to-wall windows in the bedrooms and living areas make the most of stunning rainforest views.

It's an off-grid-style home that's better connected than most: a movie projector and blackout blinds are controlled by apps on Matt's phone.

Solar panels on the roof ensure the couple benefit from the all-day sunshine; while a kitchen garden, rainwater tanks and gravity-fed springs help them live almost self-sufficiently.

VIDEO: watch the Most Incredible Homes series trailer

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The series then heads to a tiered, cave-like mansion sculpted from cement in Mexico; the creative brainchild of a special effects creator.

Steve, who has decades of experience working in special effects for film and television, took inspiration for his quirky concrete-built property from the works of Tim Burton and Sir Ridley Scott's sci-fi horror film Alien.

"It's like having a 3D-printer. Welcome to my 3D-printed house," he bellows at the start of the episode.

mihbatcasa1.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited mihbatcasa1.jpg
Bat Casa: the brainchild of a 3D designer, this cement-poured home is all about experimentation (Facebook Watch)

The dramatic home took around two years to design and build. Now, it spans two floors - a total of around 2,000 square feet - with a striking yellow kitchen; a huge living space with bold orange-painted walls and ceilings providing the backdrop for an alien vertebrae staircase running through the centre; a "bat cave" for unwinding; a sleeping loft with circular windows overlooking the beautiful landscape; and an office lair where Steve's computer screens are held up by a "floating tree vine".

360 TOUR: see inside the Bat Casa

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Outside, the courtyard winds down to a Jacuzzi and lounge area.

"Often when people are designing houses, they don't take enough chances. Everything is square, it's simple; very cookie-cutter," says Steve, "The Bat Casa is all about experimenting."

“I love waking up to this fantasy world," he adds.


The final property featured in the episode is artists' Todd and Kiaralinda's eye-popping, kaleidoscopic Whimzey Home in Florida.

"When people come to visit us, they go: "Wow, you live in that? I could never live there", but then they walk into Whimzey Land and they're never the same," says Kiaralinda.

a group of people in a garden: mihwhimseyhouseexterior.jpg © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited mihwhimseyhouseexterior.jpg
Whimzey Home: the kaleidoscopic home is filled with around a million objects (Facebook Watch)

It does need to be seen to be believed. The kitchen is full of pattern, mosaic tiles and colour — with handprints and spirals among an eclectic assortment of motifs — while a collection of miniature trolls on springs dangle from the ceiling.

In the living room, 151 lunchboxes make up the ceiling while around 5,000 bottlecaps adorn the walls.

There's a "visually awesome" fast-food toy ceiling in the bathroom and a stepladder leads to the mezzanine bedroom.

In total, the couple say there are around a million items in their home and, while they created it for themselves, it has since become a local tourist attraction.

"It makes us happy, and it also makes other people happy," says Todd.


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