Creative Houses from Reclaimed Stuff

In this funny and insightful talk from TEDxHouston, builder Dan Phillips tours us through a dozen homes he’s built in Texas using recycled and reclaimed materials in wildly creative ways. Brilliant, low-tech design details will refresh your own creative drive.

Dan Phillips is a designer and builder in Huntsville, Texas. In 1998, he and his wife, Marsha, started The Phoenix Commotion, a construction company that builds affordable houses from reclaimed and recycled materials. Their mission is to divert landfill waste while creating sustainable housing for single mothers, artists, and families with low incomes. The Phoenix Commotion keeps labor costs low while reclaiming human potential. They use an apprentice program to teach sustainable building skills to individuals that volunteer or intern on the Phoenix Commotion Crew.

The houses are energy-efficient, cheap and satisfying to build — and wildly, effervescently creative. To the Phillipses, any material used in enough multiples creates a beautiful pattern — so Phoenix Commotion homes are covered and decorated with salvaged materials of many stripes. Homes are built in concert with their eventual owner, who contributes sweat equity and their own artistic flair.

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clickclackgorilla - December 1, 2010

wow, inspiring. i just finished my own house project, one i’ve dubbed “trash house,” as i got almost all of my building materials from various dumpster diving expeditions. just got pictures of the finished product up actually, for anyone interested in hearing about the renovation of a 50-year old wooden caravan…

    Anne - December 1, 2010

    Wow! Very nicely done! Lovely little home.

Erin Wilson - December 1, 2010

This is completely brilliant. Thanks so much for posting it!

Brook - December 1, 2010


kk - December 1, 2010

I just watched this and was going to send it in to post! I hope there are more construction people that are willing to work in this way. Anyone in WI near the Twin Cities?

Cathy Johnson (Kate) - December 1, 2010

LOVED this, well worth watching (and lots of laughs too!)

Deek - December 1, 2010

I’ve seen a bunch of this guys videos before- and his work is great- very knowledgable/dedicated…


    Anne - December 1, 2010

    … and his recycled frame-sample ceiling is amazing…

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