Imagine building your home exclusively of salvaged materials. No re-mixed concretes or FSC-certified woods. Just metals and woods that have been discarded. That’s exactly the kind of home-building Dan Phillips has set out to do through his low-income housing initiative, The Phoenix Commotion. Out to prove that homes can be sound, affordable, and energy-efficient — even aesthetically interesting, Dan is on a mission to build low-cost homes with salvaged materials sourced from unusual places, ranging from flea markets to auto-salvage yards.
Dan’s quirky homes are quite possibly a scavenger’s dream. Each home is infused with imaginative combinations and patterns composed of available materials, from a ceiling tiled with old license plates to doors punctuated with colorful bottles. While the use of “trash” materials makes the building method solidly devoted to minimizing environmental impact, Dan Phillips’ reasoning for his unusual choice of materials is also unmistakeably humanitarian. According to his website, The Phoenix Commotion is “committed to people and their communities” — striving to build housing as cost-effectively as possible in order to provide low-income families the opportunity to own their own home.
Dan also possess a rather surprising contentment with building codes. With what seems to be just the slightest skepticism, Dan cites that building “codes are the result of massive research, debate, input, and planning. They represent the minimum for a safe quality of life in America.” His willingness to play nice with others, including engineers, electricians and plumbers, is certainly proof that Dan is a man that places more importance on his mission than his ego. A clearly successful result of his collaboration is his work with city officials to establish a warehouse where product manufacturers can donate their leftover materials to the cause. To incentivize the delivery of the materials, donations are tax-deductible.
Dan’s ambition to build a business that creates homes with an eco- and social- conscience is already admirable, but his work is even more impressive when you consider his ability to provide us with unquestionably eclectic and non-traditionally stunning homes that take nothing less than a very large dose of creativity to dream up.
Photos by Michael Stravato