Phillips began his career as a builder relatively late in life, when he was already in his 50s. What inspired him to make that change? "Look at kids playing with blocks," he told the New York Times. "I think it's in everyone's DNA to want to be a builder."
It's about making use of what you've got. Take, for instance, the "Storybook House." It is sided with mismatched shingles, which are arranged in stripes. "It doesn't matter if you don't have a complete set of anything because repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern, repetition creates pattern," Phillips explained.
So far he's built over a dozen houses in his hometown of Huntsville, Texas, which is actually kind of a conservative town where you'd think it wouldn't be so quick to embrace an off-beat artist and his funky buildings.
On the contrary, though, local electrician Robert McCaffety explained, "There are people who think his houses are pretty whacked out but, by and large, people support what he does and think it's beneficial to the community."
Speaking of employees, Phillips also saves money by requiring the future homeowners to participate in the building's construction. That way, they feel a greater sense of ownership and are less likely to let the building fall into disrepair or even worse, foreclosure.
Kristie Stevens, who lives in one of his houses, sorts through scrap wood blocks to pay her dues. "If something goes wrong with this house, I won't have to call someone to fix it because I know where all the wires and pipes are ”” I can do it myself," she told the New York Times.
Phillips is not your run-of-the-mill do-gooder, either. Despite what you may think, Phoenix Commotion isn't a non-profit. "I want to show that you can make money doing this," he explained. And more power to him.