Channel District artists' home evolves with the neighborhood

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Most artists strive for elements that are one-of-a-kind. Four years ago, the owners of Tada! Traditional and Digital Arts had no idea just how one-of-a-kind their living quarters would be.

Almost 20 years ago, Meaghan and Shawn Scalise had studios in Carrollwood and Ybor City, but then a little property in the Channel District caught their eye.

"It takes a certain type of person to live in a place like this," Meaghan said with a laugh.

Their two-studio home has an inspirational mural on its north wall, detached studio garage, and a small outdoor area - all surrounded by the brand new, high-rise buildings now synonymous with Channelside.

North of their urban oasis is a cruise parking lot and Pierhouse Apartments.

West is Skyhouse Apartments and its massive parking garage.

South is a brick office building and east is Meridian Ave.

"It's not your typical residential space. It's not a cookie-cutter suburban house," Scalise said. "You change your habits a little to live in a space like this."

Their habits include hanging out in the outdoor area, in plain view of the apartments above them, and adjusting to the noise of parking garage traffic.

They've lived on the property for nearly four years, renting from a landlord who's had the property in his family for generations. The sentimental value keeps him from selling the property to potential investors.

As the Channel District has grown, Scalise and Tada! have grown with it.

They've partnered with several other properties to paint murals in the neighborhood, including a massive Channel District mural featuring two large ships on the side of the building of Maven Designs.

When they first moved in, the neighborhood had a different vibe. Skyhouse was being constructed and people were beginning to move into Pierhouse.

"The growth and development of the Channel District has been so wonderful and exciting," Scalise said. "It's been really cool to see the neighborhood's growth, but also feel it."