NU sororities adjust houses post-‘Spaces’

Michelle Ma

A visit from The Learning Channel’s “Trading Spaces” and an hour in the spotlight won’t stop Delta Gamma members from redecorating their dining room — again.

After transforming the dining rooms at Kappa Alpha Theta and DG sororities in May, DG President Kate Lazarus said members are ready for a change.

“The room was so abrasive and unnatural,” she said. “The good news is it’s being redone this fall.”

A DG alumni committee will be in charge of getting new furniture and wallpaper and giving the dining room a more “earthy, sophisticated look,” Lazarus said. Delta Gamma had saved money for redecorating the dining room before the “Trading Spaces” opportunity arose, so the women were prepared to redecorate after the show if they disliked the changes, Lazarus said.

Only a three-panel wall lamp created by the show’s designer Ty Pennington will remain after the room is redone.

Keeping with the show’s theme, “Trading Spaces” allowed members of the sororities to help with the designing of the other’s house.

Professional designers and four Theta participants worked to brighten up DG’s basement dining room, said Theta President Hanna Patterson, a Weinberg senior. But after their initial input, the designers took over.

“I trusted our designer, but it was a little weird,” Patterson said. “She moved in the right direction (of making the room brighter), but (we weren’t expecting) quite that much.”

The redecorated room at DG included whitewashed chairs, glittered floorboards, purple walls and a painted, bespangled piano.

“I call it ‘Easter egg explosion,'” Lazarus said. “I hate it.”

According to Lazarus, the sorority’s reaction to the new look was similar to her own. But viewers of the Aug. 7 show couldn’t tell that from DG participant Marissa Pines, a Communication junior, at the revealing of her newly-decorated dining room.

“On the show I loved it for the first 30 seconds,” Pines said. “There’s a couple things I like, but it was pretty crazy.”

The show also included footage of Willie the Wildcat and the Northwestern University Marching Band and portrayed both sororities and their members well, agreed Lazarus and Patterson.

Though representatives from Theta worked to redecorate the DG dining room, Lazarus said the sorority members involved were not responsible for the room design.

“The designers pushed this look,” Lazarus said. “But we would absolutely do it again. We had a good time filming and watching the show and we’re prepared to rectify the disaster.”

After TLC contacted NU expressing interest for the university to be a location for the redecorating show, roommates from both sorority houses applied to represent their houses on the show, Pines said.

Three days of filming and redecorating required both houses to make room for “Trading Spaces.” Since the crew took over much of the Sorority Quads and parts of both houses, spectators came to catch a glimpse of the filming, said Rica Reed, DG house director.

“There was no way to completely seal it off,” Reed said. “It became the talk of the town. People came from all over and brought friends.”

To abide by the “Trading Spaces” contract, each house was required to keep the redecoration details secret until five days after the show aired, said Lazarus.

Since the houses opened for the school year, parents, students and neighbors have asked to see the dining rooms, but the requests have not been overwhelming, Patterson said.

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Photos Courtesy Maggie Wartik