Monday, November 17, 2008

Restorer's dictionary entry: POs

previous owner

Main Entry:
pre·vi·ous own·er

\ˈprē-vē-əs ˈō-nər\


probably originated in online posts at or

PO (singular); POs (plural)

early 21st century

1 : people who owned a home before the current occupants
2 : a rhetorical device, called in to explain a weird, tacky, or disfunctional design or structural choice.

Typically, the term is used by home renovators or restorers in a derogatory way, as in "why would the previous owners put two layers of THE SAME wallpaper on the wall?* Simply to make wallpaper stripping a challenge?", or "I can't believe the POs put four giant screws in to hold up a tiny block of wood, thus ruining the plaster when said wood was removed".

crazy folks; poor designers; #!$&*$! POs; people too lazy to figure out how to do things the right way; see also "jerk", "nincompoop", "imbecile"

*Yes, this post was inspired by actual events. The POs (probably a couple of POs back) did put two layers of crappy blue wallpaper on one of the walls. As if it's paint, and you get better coverage with 2 coats? Not so much. So first you had to strip one layer off to wet the other - but it was an optical illusion, since you couldn't see where one layer had been stripped and the other hadn't. Fun stuff.


Christopher Busta-Peck said...

Oh, I bet that phrase dates back to at least the 19th century, probably earlier. For as long as people have been buying houses from others, there have been idiots screwing them up.

Anonymous said...

I wish I understood the thought process of our POs better - I think their irregularity is the part that's so frustrating. Other than the vinyl tile, the job they did on the 2nd-floor bathroom is excellent. I couldn't have coped the trim better myself! But, oh, the floral wallpaper! The neon blue paint on the porch floor!

Maybe that's it - maybe I just disagree with their stylistic choices, but not the quality of the worksmanship. (If the amount of time it took to take down all the horribly wallpaper is an indication of how well it was installed, they did a fantastic job there too.)

Joanne said...

I sometimes worry what future owners of our house will think of the decisions we made. One day, I'll be a "previous owner" too!