Alumni couple transform former fraternity townhouse into millennial dream home

Media Credit: Desiree Halpern | Photo Editor

Alumni Sarah Potts and Nicholas Papadopoulos moved into the former Sigma Phi Epsilon townhouse after a complete renovation this year.

After an expensive facelift, an alumni couple has transformed a former off-campus fraternity house into a millennial dream home.

Nicholas Papadopoulos and Sarah Potts, who both graduated from GW, said they first chose the dilapidated place because of its cheap price tag. When they first walked into the old Sigma Phi Epsilon townhouse, they said they noticed – but were not defeated by – the destruction the fraternity had left behind.

Parts of the floor had rotted away from endless keg stands, and there were numerous holes in the walls, Potts said.

“It didn’t stop us. We just dove right in,” she said.

Although a house in the middle of college student row might seem like a nightmare straight out of “Neighbors” for some, Papadopoulos and Potts said they don’t mind the noise.

Completely renovating the house was not just to repair the damage, but it was also a way to make the house completely theirs, Potts said. Every aspect of the house was done to match the couple’s eclectic, minimalist taste.

“It’s a reflection of us,” Potts said.

Everything except the railing on the rooftop porch had been torn away to be make room for new false brick facades, artistic wallpaper and neon lights and glass, most of which the couple shipped from New York. The whole renovation process took three months, Papadopoulos said.

Neither Papadopoulos nor Potts had a background in interior design, but the couple shared an eye and passion for pop and modern art, they said. Their townhouse is a DIY museum of original pieces they’ve found throughout their travels. Most recently, Papadopoulos said he picked up a textured Cinco de Mayo skull print from their vacation to Mexico.

Papadopoulos and Potts said they have received inquiries from art collectors who want to buy some of the works that are on display in their home.

“Every piece of art in this house has a story. The hard part is finding a place to put it,” Papadopoulos said.

Buying a house so close to GW is a return to roots for Papadopoulos and Potts, who both earned a bachelor’s degrees in finance from the University. The couple met at a party in the Savoy Apartments when they were undergraduate students – Potts said she distinctly remembered “The Message” by Naz playing in the background.

The two immortalized their first meeting on their wall with a custom-made neon sign displaying lyrics from “The Message.”

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