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Man Turns Scrap Materials into Whimsical, Affordable Homes

This is the story of Dan Phillips and his company, Phoenix Commotion.

According to Faircompanies, the company turns unwanted trash into homes, hires unskilled workers, and builds one-of-a-kind homes using salvaged materials for low-income families.

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Man Turns Scrap Materials into Whimsical, Affordable Homes

Images via Faircompanies/YouTube

Images via Faircompanies/YouTube

Images via Faircompanies/YouTube

Video: Dan Phillips Turns Backyard Scraps into Whimsical Texan Houses

Since 1997, Phoenix Commotion has been building beautiful one-of-a-kind homes for low income families in Huntsville, Texas using unwanted, recycled materials!


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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Debra
    April 8, 2017, 10:51 am

    I absolutely love this . This man is doing something that everyone should try to do. Use materials being thrown away. These homes are not what I am looking for per say, but not a lot of people want to have a THOW! This would be awesome if he could do the same for a THOW. I should look him up since I live in Texas and not far from Huntsville. Besides all of that he is giving people a chance to make a living and learn from him. So he is doing something for the economy. He is allowing these people to work for minimum wage and learn. I love it. To me this is the American Dream.

    • Alex
      April 8, 2017, 3:38 pm

      Very inspiring guy! Thanks Debra!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 5:19 am

      It’s a REALLY great thing he’s doing! I love it 🙂

    April 8, 2017, 4:12 pm

    How I would love to have a guy like this in Western PA where I have 14 address in the woods but not the money or experience to build a tiny home that is artistic as all these homes are. That tree home is incredible as is the boot. People who can build I envy. To be good at carpentry I’d give anything for. I’m in awe of people who can design and build from any material. I doubt I could put together a kit home that anyway is so very overpriced. Bravo….

    • Lea
      April 8, 2017, 6:04 pm

      A great way to gain carpentry and other building skills is to volunteer for Habitat For Humanity or other relief organizations.
      And the Carpenters’ Union is still active in western PA. I learned thru the Union Apprenticeship program. Fantastic free education. And we were paid while learning on-the-job!

    • Cyndi Raper
      April 8, 2017, 10:02 pm

      Matthew, really serious about building a tiny house on Wheels why not consider purchasing a shed on monthly payments and then building out the inside that’s what my husband and I did and we are just thrilled with the result with everything included and we used all new materials inside including the trailer and the house we spent less than $10,000 far less than that what did you mean when you typed 14 address in the woods

    • Matthew Bucar
      April 9, 2017, 12:07 am

      14 acres is what I meant to say, not address. Should check what phone corrects more closely. Sorry.

      • Eric
        April 9, 2017, 5:49 am

        I know exactly what you mean. Autocorrect can be your worst enema…

        • Ferne
          April 10, 2017, 1:20 pm

          Hahaha. That’s funny!
          I would go and help Dan Phillips for free. These homes are awesome for full-time living or as a stress-free getaway retreat. Keep up the great work using leftover materials in such a funtastic way.

        • Alex
          April 10, 2017, 2:14 pm

          Haha, I wouldn’t mind getting to work for him for free either!

  • Marsha Cowan
    April 8, 2017, 4:15 pm

    Absolutely amazing! Truly wonderful!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 5:16 am

      He’s an inspiration!

  • Patrice Terry
    April 8, 2017, 6:06 pm

    Great guy and really creative homes. I wish there were more builders out there helping families.

  • Larry Burns
    April 8, 2017, 11:13 pm

    Yeah! I built a 10′ X 12′ shed. For roof beams I used pallets the 2″X 4″s 4′ long 3 layers inter lock would create a beam. The beam was 4″ X 6″ X 10′ 6″ long. I built 5 of them, for the walls I built using 4- 2″X4″X4′ made one stringer 4″ X 4″ 8′ I made 18 of them. Then inter lock all around the top and bottom so the whole building was built from used pallets. Now I lucked out on the siding down the road was a door factory they had scrap pieces of 2′ X 10′ tempered Masonite with wood grain in it. So that was my siding and roofing. The build was as strong as steel and never had a leak of rain or snow in it. My total cost was 25.00 for screws.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 5:04 am

      Wow that’s so impressive, Larry!

    • Ferne
      April 10, 2017, 1:22 pm

      That would be so interesting to see. Any pics Larry?

  • Nanny M
    April 9, 2017, 6:43 pm

    What a beautiful soul! I love how magical his stunning work is. Fairy tales come to life. Thank you for showing this.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 10, 2017, 4:46 am

      So glad you liked it!!

    April 10, 2017, 6:48 am

    I love that he builds from recycled materials…! But lets face it, not many cities, or towns are not willing to allow it to happen.. I mean if you go to most building inspectors office ‘s looking for permits allowing you to build with recycled materials such as the items in this gentleman’s houses, they will laugh you out of their office… Then also you are not going to see many, or any home owners allowing this kind of structure to be built next door to there brand new split level ranch, or Franklin Loyd Write model either without a fight in order to preserve their properties values, because main stream America is still not ready for houses of this type.. Unless you own land in some rural part of America where you can get around some of the building codes for that area, your just going to meet opposition from all most everyone from city council, to the building inspectors office, or codes enforcement… I wish we could get away with a lot of building practices of all natures which exclude this whimsical type building, but it’s not going to happen, or it will not happen with out a fight…! But I take my hat off to this gentleman’s artistic values of building, and hope to see more of it in the future..!

  • Lisa E.
    April 10, 2017, 3:38 pm

    Oh, wow. This guy isn’t a builder; he’s an artist. Totally love it!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 11, 2017, 7:20 am

      I agree, he is!

  • Irène
    April 13, 2017, 5:52 pm

    Really cute and funny and Genius from my idea…thank you for the sharring.

    Congratulations for his nice works, he’s now my model to follow!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 14, 2017, 4:21 am

      Yes! I want to go build something now. Too bad I don’t own any tools except a hammer haha

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