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Residential Architect: The Home Team

Things are a little scary for architects these days. Hammered by a deep, long downturn, firm principals have trimmed staff, moved to less expensive office space, and deferred equipment upgrades—and often their own salaries. More than three years after the housing collapse, the recovery seems less precarious, but maddening slow. It’s a long time to be scraping courage together.

Consider, though, what it’s like to be in this business with your spouse. Couples who’ve tied the knot professionally face obvious risks. It can be dangerous to have the same source of income. When recession strikes a shared job sector hard, as it has architecture, there’s no safety net. And even the most successful couples-run practices often are built on convenience rather than strategic and complementary capabilities. That can make it tougher to retrench when the pressure is on.

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