2012 was a banner year for my pals over at Barcelona-based sustainable living website faircompanies and needless to say I was super-happy to share a handful of the site’s signature video tours over the past 12 months.

As always, the sometimes head scratch-inducing, mostly inspiring living arrangements profiled by videographer Kristen Dirksen and a host of contributors from around the globe erred on the “eclectic” side and really came in all shapes and sizes: Swiss Army Knife-inspired transformer apartments, DIY smart homes, homey troglodyte abodes in France, stilted cabins hoisted above a grove of redwoods, off the grid float cabins, and more.

2012 was also the year that Dirksen released a beautiful full-length documentary titled “We the Tiny House People." In it, she takes a look back at some of the most intriguingly petite homes that she's toured over the past 5 years. It’s compulsory viewing for anyone curious about the tiny house movement.

Naturally, 2013 is off to a decidedly nontraditional start over at faircompanies where the latest video tour is of a project by Dan Phillips of Huntsville, Texas-based green building company, Phoenix Commotion. Having been previously featured in the New York Times and attained TED talk-dom, Phillips is renowned for constructing affordable housing for creatives and low-income individuals using primarily reclaimed and local materials, materials that, as faircompanies points out “go far beyond scrap wood:” bottle tops, wine corks, license plates, shattered mirrors, DVDs, and the list goes on.

For one of Phillips’ more intriguing projects in Huntsville, cattle bones have been repurposed as a primary building material and decor element, showing up in the countertops, door handles, floor tiles, and patio furniture. Built as a communal residence for artists, the three-bedroom, three-bathroom Bone House is no doubt a touch macabre — very Marfa meets the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” by way of the Mütter Museum and the nonstop meowing of an unseen cat in the video doesn't make it any less unsettling — but also an eye-popping feat of salvage-based craftmanship. The cattle bones themselves are locally, emm, produced at nearby ranches.

Explains Phillips: “Back when I was restoring art and antiques, finding ivory was very difficult because it's illegal and the only difference between bone and ivory is that bone is free and not illegal.”

I’m not the biggest fan of skeleton-based décor but the Phoenix Commotion's Bone House truly has something for everyone. I’m rather smitten by the various types of papier-mâché flooring. Take a look for yourself in the video below. I should also point out that a book profiling the work of Phillips, “Resurrecting Trash: Dan Phillips and the Phoenix Commotion” is due out later this month.

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Cattle bones reborn as decor at funky Texas artists' residence
Faircompanies pays a visit to a repurposed cattle bone-heavy artists' residence built by salvage-happy, self-taught green builder Dan Phillips.