You’re probably familiar with reclaimed materials like wood from old barns, but have you ever considered using old egg shells in a building project? Or license plates for roofing? Dan Phillips does. In this inspiring, educational and highly entertaining TED Talk, Dan walks us through 12 unique houses built from reclaimed materials. You’ll never look at “junk” the same.

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 Phillips, 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.

 

Click through to learn more about The Phoenix Commotion, building with reclaimed materials, and their creative houses.

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