This couple is restoring the Candyland house in Rogers Park – and you can follow on Instagram
ROGERS PARK – Candyland House has new owners who are restoring and putting their own spin on the monument in Rogers Park.
Engaged couple Joe Bergantino and Ricky Gonzalez bought the pastel-colored Victorian home at 1525 W. Pratt Blvd. This year. They renovate the house and document it on Instagram.
The Candyland House was the longtime home of local artists Jackie Seiden and the late Don Seiden. The couple decorated virtually every part of the house in pastel shades, even infusing some interiors with glitter-speckled paint.
The Seiden family put the house up for sale last year, causing some to worry if future owners would keep the vibrant and eclectic color scheme.
Those concerns can be dismissed, Bergantino and Gonzalez said. Although part of the house needs updating, much of the color scheme and frills will remain or be improved.
“We want to keep the funkiness and just update it,” Bergantino said. “This house deserves it.”
Bergantino and Gonzalez moved into the house during the winter and began to discover the extent of the house’s eccentricities. Renovations to the house started this spring and summer.
Some of the colorful features of the house need replacing, including the interior flooring and the candy-colored wooden walkway that connects the house to the shed. Devices need to be replaced and new ones won’t be pastel, they said. The wooden walkway is replaced by cobblestones.
The couple will keep the exterior colors except for teal.
“It’s not really in the color wheel,” Gonzalez said.
Other improvements will be very well preserved in the spirit of the house.
The couple plans to add stained glass to parts of the house. New paint schemes will always be bold and even include glitter. Gonzalez said he decided to paint his new office pink.
“We’re a lot more adventurous than we otherwise would be,” Gonzalez said. “It gives us a lot of freedom to be creative.”
Bergantino and Gonzalez previously owned a single-family home in Rogers Park. During the pandemic, the couple found this home too small and looked for a bigger place to accommodate the work-from-home lifestyle.
They missed out on some of their top picks during the housing market boom. After a few hiccups, their real estate agent showed them the Candyland House listing.
The couple knew the house, having passed it five or six years ago and noticing it. Bergantino has always been a fan of the house, while Gonzalez has not been sold. But when they toured the house, they noticed its spacious rooms, double-width lot, huge open-concept third floor, and shed.
“The funkiness was what really appealed to me,” Bergantino said. “Once we saw the third floor and the shed, I said, ‘Yeah. It’s logic.'”
They plan to erect walls around what is now an open concept bathroom on the third floor, they said.
Don Seiden was an artist, arts educator, and art therapy pioneer who founded the Department of Art Therapy at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A renowned sculptor, he was also director of the institute’s sculpture department. He died in 2019, two days after his 92nd birthday.
Jackie Seiden is an artist and art teacher who taught classes at her home in Rogers Park. Jackie was the creative force behind the Candyland House, using the house as a blank canvas.
When Jackie Seiden moved in, the house was painted a “dull olive green,” she told DNAinfo Chicago in 2013. That coat of paint had to come off. She said the inspiration for the colors came from sneaking into the now defunct, art deco-inspired Edgewater Beach Hotel with her friends in her youth.
“The interior became these pastel colors, and I took them outside,” she said.
The five-bedroom house was built in 1891. It was rated “orange” in the city’s historical survey, giving it some protections from demolition or redevelopment.
Along with decor updates, the house has been remodeled to feature skylights and make room for practicing art.
The house’s garage, painted pastel orange, has been transformed into an art studio with a loft on the second floor. The third floor, with skylights, served as a space for artistic teaching.
Bergantino and Gonzalez’s first offer on the house was rejected. Afterwards, the couple wrote a letter to Jackie Seiden, saying how inspired they were by the house and how they planned to honor its design and decor.
The letter seems to have done the trick, they said.
“The house is ridiculous in the best possible way,” Gonzalez said. “Everything we learned about Don and Jackie has been very inspiring. They are our inspiration to be more creative and adventurous.
To follow the renovation of Bergantino and Gonzalez’s house, click here.
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