Meet Eric Smyth of Smyth & Field

Meet Eric Smyth, the guy behind multiple historic renovations in the West End of Cincinnati. As half of the Smyth & Field duo, Eric works from the dream, design, and deliverable phase of creating a forever home for his clients. Here is why he caught the eye of Cincinnati Preservation.

The 1870 house at 1015 Dayton Street was Smyth & Field’s first historic project in the West End back in 2017. He notes, “I fell in love with the craftsmanship and architecture immediately, and I’ve been hooked on historic ever since.”

On this project, Smyth & Field removed the entire back wall on the first floor to extend the tiny kitchen into the existing covered porch area. They harvested and reclaimed the hardwood flooring on the 3rd floor, to tooth in the existing flooring on the 1st floor kitchen area. Patching in with new pine would never finish the same and would be obvious. Their approach gave a uniform look that makes it impossible to tell where the work has been done.

Smyth is passionate about the high level of design detail when it comes to historic buildings. He also enjoys the challenge of how to make them energy efficient today. He explains, “We are so blessed to have one of the largest collections of Italianate architecture in the country, and I consider myself lucky to be part of the preservation of that collection.”

 

Inspired by every detail, they ensure that everything from the historic hinges and knobs remain to keep the original charm. They re-use original doors and trim, and also source 1800’s doors with the same profile for new openings and doorways. Also, custom millwork is sourced to exactly match the profile of the original trim molding. Whether a new doorway or wall was added, you’ll never notice it’s not original from the 1800’s.

 

On this house, the HVAC system presented some challenges. They avoided any duct chases by removing the center chimney on all three floors to run duct work up to the second floor. Thinking back, Eric adds
 
“We didn’t want to disturb the gorgeous plaster crown molding on the first floor by running a chase right through it, so we had to think outside of the box. The homeowner was very pleased to save all plaster crown. We framed and drywalled that chase and re-installed the original mantle so it looks like it was always there. It doesn’t have a firebox anymore, but it looks great.”
 
                                 
 
During this process, they found some treasures behind the mantle and in the walls. Business cards of the previous owner, Davis and Sons Carriage Company and newspapers from 1921 advertising the Cincinnati Wheel Company, among others!
 
 
                      
 
Eric’s favorite building in the West End is 824 Dayton Street. He explains, “The stone work is incredible… even the box gutters there are stone!”
 
You can learn more about Smyth & Field and see their recent projects here.
 
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