How a pop artist turned a postwar bungalow into a Bauhaus bunker

How a pop artist turned a postwar bungalow into a Bauhaus bunker

One creative couple converted their uptown home into a Warhol-esque wonderland

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 
Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Illustration: Aleksandar Janicijevic)
 

Jessica Gorlicky makes a mess for a living. Better known as JessGo, she’s a pop artist whose gonzo takes on ’60s-retro iconography and celebrity portraiture have been commissioned by U.S. giants like Google and Nordstrom. Here, she’s a fixture at downtown parties, where she’s often seen splattering canvases with day-glo colours as a live painter for hire. But Gorlicky is an uptown girl at heart. In 2012, she and her husband, Jeromy Kalishenko (who manages a structural engineering company) bought a bungalow near Wilson and Avenue Road with plans to tear it down and build something totally different in its place. The result is less McMansion than Bauhaus bunker: a black-brick, two-storey cube with few front-facing windows and, at first glance, no front door—the entrance, advertised via LED signage, is up a flight of stairs to the side. “It’s very industrial,” Gorlicky says proudly. “At first, the neighbours asked us, ‘Is this a dance club? Is it an office? Are you open at night?’ ” The interior is a white, skylit, open-concept space that’s part minimalist art gallery (to maximize the eye-popping impact of Gorlicky’s art), part boutique hotel (branded floor mats read “The Eighty-Four,” a reference to the home’s address) and part video arcade (they have a vintage Pac-Man/Galaga machine). Gorlicky insists she’s not trying to turn her sleepy residential street into the next West Queen West. “This is just our style,” she says. “We’re a small family, we don’t have kids—our home is our baby.”

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The Pac-Man/Galaga arcade game is rigged for perpetual free plays.

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

They bought the neon sign at a store in Huntington Beach, California. “Love is our raison d’être,” says Gorlicky.

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

Gorlicky has a thing for ducks. She’s collected three of these gold ducky banks and more than 100 rubber duckies.

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

The chandelier in the True Blood–esque master bedroom was one of Gorlicky’s design projects (it’s studded with Swarovski crystals).

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

She got permission from General Mills to create this Franken Berry cereal piece.

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

McDonald’s (the fast food chain) commissioned a similar Bill Murray painting during last year’s TIFF. Gorlicky liked it so much she made one to keep.

Great Spaces: Pop Zone (Image: Derek Shapton)
 

“We were going for a yin-yang effect with the black master bedroom and the white guest room,” says Gorlicky.

Correction

March 16, 2016

The original version of this article incorrectly identified Jeromy Kalishenko as a structural engineer.