Home Sweet Warehome: Max Fallon & Gwyn Zesch Fallon

Urbane reinventions inside two former industrial buildings.

click to enlarge Max and Gwyn at home; one of Gwyn's paintings hangs on the wall behind them. - Megan Voeller
Megan Voeller
Max and Gwyn at home; one of Gwyn's paintings hangs on the wall behind them.

You know you're in a hip urban community when your neighbors live in a 2,400-square-foot metal warehouse they jokingly refer to as their "warehome." In 2005, lawyer Max Fallon and interior architect Gwyn Zesch Fallon transformed a former food storage facility on Ybor's south side into a sleek modernist nest with plenty of outdoor space for lounging and grilling. Passersby often ask: Do you really live here? They do.

The building's boxy exterior — essentially unchanged in the renovation — gives little reason to expect elegance inside. But throughout the home's open plan, modern furnishings in a minimal palette of white, black and beige mingle with Zesch Fallon's abstract paintings. Tidied up for parties, the loft-like space looks like something out of a magazine, but on a typical day its polish is tempered by evidence of the couple's artsy lifestyle: stacks of books on sculpture and painting, Max's guitar collection and two couch-potato canines.

Domestic bliss in a warehome wasn't always part of the Fallons' plan. In 2004, they were newly married and living in South Tampa when they bought the Ybor building as an investment opportunity. Led by Gwyn's passion for the visual arts, they initially envisioned a gallery or artists' studios in the space and began renovations powered by sweat equity.

"Doing all the work on it, we kind of fell in love with it," Fallon says.

When his wife suggested that they move in, Fallon found the idea unexpectedly appealing. The more he learned about Ybor — in part from Zesch Fallon, who has been involved in the area as an artist since the late 1990s — the more he appreciated the district's charms: walking to Bernini for dinner; attending neighborhood association meetings; encountering other, likeminded residents.

Pointing to changes underway like the opening of Ikea and talk of plans for a bike path between Ybor and Hyde Park, the couple sees the district as undergoing a renaissance. But more than retail or other amenities, the neighborhood's "no pretense" vibe and "high concentration of open-minded, creative, industrious and interesting people" make it feel like home, Zesch Fallon says.

Their building's expansive yard provides room for a favorite ritual: hosting informal "dog park" cocktail evenings with neighbors. In the as-yet-untamed green space, the Fallons see the next phase of their endless-but-beloved renovation project: a garden for their warehome.


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