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Barn Swallow in Jackson NJ builds tiny homes

Barn Swallow in Jackson NJ builds tiny homes

JACKSON – Growing up on an eight-acre horse farm to a father who was a foreman for a construction company, lifelong Jackson resident Cody Gaudlip knew that he’d end up in some area of the homebuilding field one day.

“As a kid, I always loved building and rebuilding things and figuring out how things worked,” said Gaudlip, 28. “My father took me under his wing and helped me learn all about residential construction.”

After graduating from North Carolina State University in Raleigh with a degree in environmental design in 2016, Gaudlip put his strong carpentry, plumbing, electrical and steel skills (along with his entrepreneurial drive) to good use by launching Barn Swallow Tiny Homes in Jackson in April 2019. 

“Barn swallows are a type of migratory bird that travel far and love to nest in barns and overpasses,” Gaudlip explained of the story behind his company’s name. “They have babies in our barn every year and are an inspiration. As I see it, each tiny home I build is like a baby barn swallow that’s born and hatched here and then leaves the nest; where it ends up after that is up to the homeowner.”

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Cody Gaudlip is shown inside a van conversion he has done at  'Barn Swallow Tiny Homes' in Jackson Township Friday, January 14, 2022.

Added Gaudlip, “personal freedom and autonomy are cornerstones of my personality and business and I always say that ‘we build freedom.’  It’s all about human empowerment.”

Liberating lifestyle

Tiny homes are often defined as being 600 square feet or less and come in many varieties, from ‘tow-behind’ tiny homes on wheels to oversized tiny homes that need to be towed professionally. Gaudlip got his start by specializing in vehicle overhauls, some of the most portable options. And a former classmate turned out to be his first customer in late 2019.

“She wasn’t sure what kind of tiny house she wanted, but she ultimately commissioned me to overhaul a full-size 2003 International-brand school bus,” he said of the roughly 200-square-foot vehicle that she and her fiancé, both wildland firefighters, purchased to live and travel in.

By the summer of 2020, Gaudlip revealed the finished structure — complete with everything from an elevated ceiling, a full kitchen with bar seating, a big farmhouse sink, and live-edge oak countertops that he milled in his shop to full shower and toilet facilities, sleeping accommodations for four to five people, 1,530 watts of off-grid solar power, a roof deck, and more — and the response was overwhelming.