The law firm of Davis & Hoss has moved into this stately Fort Wood home, built in 1914. – (Photo by David Laprad)
Attorney Lee Davis likes to say he’s practicing law in the wrong century. The previous home of Davis & Hoss, his firm with attorney Bryan Hoss, was built in 1885. Now he and his partner in law have moved into a stately converted house built closer to this century, but just by a hair: 850 Fort Wood Street was constructed in 1914.
“I like the character of old buildings,” Davis says. “You can feel the history.”
You can hear it, too. Walking through the spacious entryway, Davis’s shoes clump across the old wood floor, the sound echoing off freshly painted walls. The lights in the foyer look like they could be the original fixtures, and through large windows in a conference room located at the front of the building, two cannons can be seen overlooking the lower portions of Fort Wood.
The three-floor structure has everything the small law firm, which has an affinity for being close to the action but likes being tucked away in a quiet nook, could want: space for offices and conference rooms, one of which features a grand fireplace; a modernized kitchen (sorry, purists, Davis brews his coffee in a Keurig, not on a wood-burning stove); and a parking lot with 16 spaces.
Parking was the issue that sparked the move. “A company was building private apartments for students next to us,” Davis says. “We did the math, and figured there would be 100 students living there, and only 20 parking spaces between us.”
Hoss was concerned about how this would impact the firm’s clients, and began looking for new accommodations. He found the Fort Wood Street house, previously owned by Jay Robinson of The Robinson Team, a real estate brokerage which had transitioned to Keller Williams earlier in the year.
This was in August. The firm signed the papers over Labor Day, and moved in September. The first full week of November was also Davis & Hoss’s first full week of operation in its new home.
Davis is especially enthusiastic about his space. Located on the second floor, it looks nothing like a traditional office. The main room bears more resemblance to a comfortable den than an office, with plush seating for four people and relaxing décor. “When we have a serious case to discuss, we come in here,” Davis says. “The case is still serious, but everyone is comfortable.”
At the far end of the meeting area is a door that leads to a small room Davis uses for research. His desk and computer are back there, as is an exit onto a side deck. When the weather is nice, Davis can sit outside and enjoy the same view as the cannons on his lawn below. “I was out there on Monday,” he says, smiling.
Although Hoss is still settling into his space, he appears to be going for a cozy living room look. There are plenty of arm chairs, though where he’s going to put the desk is anyone’s guess.
Down the hall, in a more spacious office than Hoss has, attorney Stevie Phillips is sticking to tradition, with a desk, a chair, and the usual furnishings.
Davis leaves his office and walks up a narrow set of servant stairs to the final stop on the tour: a large, carpeted room with a low ceiling and no furnishings. Davis says he and the other attorneys will be using it to “spread out” when they have a large trial coming up.
“Sixty days ago, I didn’t even know we were looking for a new place,” Davis says, “but here we are. It’s a good fit.”
If the cannons could be fired, their resounding agreement would echo throughout the neighborhood and beyond.
For more photos, pick up a copy of the Hamilton County Herald.