ROGERS PARK — The Candyland House has new owners who are restoring and putting their own spin on the Rogers Park landmark.
Engaged couple Joe Bergantino and Ricky Gonzalez bought the pastel-colored Victorian house at 1525 W. Pratt Blvd. this year. They are renovating the home and documenting 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 hues, even infusing some of the interiors with glitter-specked paint.
The Seiden family put the house up for sale last year, causing some to worry if the future owners would keep the vibrant and eclectic color scheme.
Those worries can be brushed aside, Bergantino and Gonzalez said. Although some of the house needs updating, much of the color scheme and flourishes will remain or be upgraded.
“We want to keep the funkiness and just update it,” Bergantino said. “This house deserves it.”
Bergantino and Gonzalez moved into the home during the winter and began discovering the extent of the home’s eccentricities. Renovations on the home kicked into gear this spring and summer.
Some of the home’s colorful features need replacing, including interior flooring and the candy-colored wooden walkway from the house to the coach house. Appliances need to be replaced, and the new ones will not be pastel, they said. The wooden walkway is being replaced by pavers.
The couple will keep the exterior colors save for the teal.
“It’s not really in the color wheel,” Gonzalez said.
Other upgrades will very much be kept in spirit with the house.
The couple plans to add colorful stained glass window to portions of the house. New paint schemes will still be bold and even include glitter. Gonzalez said he decided to paint his new office pink.
“We’re being way more adventurous than we would be otherwise,” Gonzalez said. “It’s giving 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 that home too small and sought a bigger place to accommodate the work-from-home lifestyle.
They missed out on some of their first choices during the booming housing market. After a few misses, their real estate agent showed them the listing for the Candyland House.
The couple was familiar with the house, having walked past it five or six years ago and taking notice. Bergantino was always a fan of the house, while Gonzalez was not sold. But when they toured the house, they took note of its spacious rooms, double-wide lot, massive open-concept third floor and a coach house.
“The funkiness was what really attracted me,” Bergantino said. “Once we saw the third floor and the coach house, I said, ‘Yeah. This makes sense.'”
They plan to erect walls around what is now an open-concept bathroom on the third floor, they said.
Don Seiden was an artist, art educator and pioneer of art therapy who founded the art therapy department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. A renowned sculptor, he also served as chair of the sculpture department at the institute. He died in 2019, two days after his 92nd birthday.
Jackie Seiden is an artist and art teacher who held classes in her Rogers Park home. Jackie was the creative force behind the Candyland House, using the house for a blank canvas.
When Jackie Seiden moved in, the house was painted a “drab olive green,” she told DNAinfo Chicago in 2013. That coat of paint had to go. She said the inspiration for the colors came from sneaking into the now-defunct, art-deco-inspired Edgewater Beach Hotel with her friends as a youth.
“The inside grew into these pastel colors, and I carried them on to the outside,” she said.
The five-bedroom home was built in 1891. It has been given “orange rating” in the city’s historical survey, giving it some protections against demolition or redevelopment.
Aside from the decor updates, the home has been renovated to feature skylights and make room to practice art.
The home’s garage, painted pastel orange, has been converted into an art studio with a second-floor loft. The third floor, complete with skylights, was used as an arts instruction space.
Bergantino and Gonzalez’s first offer on the house was rejected. Then the pair wrote a letter to Jackie Seiden, saying how inspired they were by the home and how they planned to honor its design and decor.
The letter appears to have done the trick, they said.
“The house is ridiculous in the best way possible,” Gonzalez said. “Everything we learned about Don and Jackie has been super inspirational. They’re our inspiration to be more creative and adventurous.”
To follow along on Bergantino and Gonzalez’s home renovation, click here.
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