Not everyone would consider having the same business partner and life partner an ideal situation. But Nancy Keatinge, principal of Santa Monica, Calif., design firm Felderman + Keatinge Associates (FKA) feels fortunate to be able to work with her husband Stanley Felderman to grow the company they started in 1991. “It’s really great how we brainstorm and use each other as a sounding board,” she says. “We take our work home with us every night, and we love it. Ideas are constantly germinating. We’re always evaluating and reevaluating; it’s the nature of our work.”
Keatinge prides herself on running a firm that she sees as unique. “We really delve into the essence of who our clients are,” she says. “There’s no off-the-shelf-design. We always start with a clean stale, which is what keeps things fresh and interesting.” Even if a client approaches her based on designs for another project, she would say to them, “Yes, that worked for them. But you are a different brand, and let’s discover what works best for you.” Keatinge feels more accomplished when she pushes clients beyond what is comfortable for them, provoking them to accomplish more than they thought was possible. Reiterating a mantra that her firm executes in all their designs, she says, “The risk in architecture is not in being different, but in remaining static.” Keatinge feels the pressure to keep current, continuing to evolve and reinvent designs.