If you didn’t know Kim, my wife, also works at our office and runs “everything but architecture.” In fact, that is her official title on business cards. When people realize we work together, we are always asked about what it’s like to work with a spouse. Most expect a negative response. However, in our case (and in general) we don’t have many issues working together. This is mostly because I am out of the office a lot and our daily workloads don’t overlap. However, that has all changed now that we are designing for our new office. So far, our new office design is going to equal a divorce. Let me explain.

What I have learned so far in this process is that Kim and I approach design from opposite ends of the spectrum. Kim wants to work out the layout of the space first and make sure everything fits before enhancing the design. This is a perfect example of the classic Robert Venturi Form follows Function. On the other hand, I approach design with the overall aesthetics first and then work the spatial requirements. This would exemplify Function following Form. Needless to say, this has created some tension as we work through various design solutions for the new office.

To make matters worse during one of our tense design sessions, with Janelle between us making the changes, Kim was questioning something in my floor plan design and I made the mistake of telling her, “you don’t understand architecture!” In hindsight, this was probably not the correct response. Needless to say, she politely said, “we need to take a break,” and left the meeting. Realizing my error I looked at Janelle in despair and she said, “I hate when mom and dad fight.” We joke a lot in the office and Janelle’s comment captured the mood of the moment, which brought a little chuckle inside, despite knowing I was going to get the official response from Kim later that evening.

After some healthy time away from the design, we are both able to joke about it and have been working well at progressing the design. Kim and I have been a couple since we were 16 and happily married for 24 years, but its moments like this that can test you. I have learned a few lessons, the hard way, but the final design will be better because of it. Or I will need to find a good divorce attorney. Only time will tell. Just in case, can anyone recommend a good attorney?