Identifications: Anonymous homeowners

May 4, 2006: Issue 137

When homeowners ask to be anonymous, don’t quote them directly. Paraphrase their statements.

incorrect: “The breakfast nook is so cozy, I use it for two or three meals a day,” the homeowner says.
correct: The breakfast nook provides a cozy spot for two or three meals a day.

When possible, rephrase to downplay the fact that we’re not naming the owners.

acceptable: The homeowners asked for a family room that could accommodate their three active children, so the designer created        separate zones for homework, play, and TV viewing.
preferred: Separate zones in the family room—for homework, play, and TV viewing—
accommodate three active children.

An option when homeowners are concerned about privacy is to use a woman’s maiden name to identify her. Phrase first references to avoid attaching that name directly to her husband (because it was never his name).

incorrect: Mary and Phillip Jacobs
correct: Mary Jacobs … Mary and her husband, Phillip

REMINDER: Always spell out “and” in Better Homes and Gardens. Never use an ampersand.

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