How a pop artist turned a postwar bungalow into a Bauhaus bunker
One creative couple converted their uptown home into a Warhol-esque wonderland
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.”
The Pac-Man/Galaga arcade game is rigged for perpetual free plays.
They bought the neon sign at a store in Huntington Beach, California. “Love is our raison d’être,” says Gorlicky.
Gorlicky has a thing for ducks. She’s collected three of these gold ducky banks and more than 100 rubber duckies.
The chandelier in the True Blood–esque master bedroom was one of Gorlicky’s design projects (it’s studded with Swarovski crystals).
She got permission from General Mills to create this Franken Berry cereal piece.
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.
“We were going for a yin-yang effect with the black master bedroom and the white guest room,” says Gorlicky.
The original version of this article incorrectly identified Jeromy Kalishenko as a structural engineer.