p. 619 573 5522



Founding Principal Architect

Founding Principal and Architect of DESS Partners, LLP, Deborah Smithton is a LEED accredited and licensed professional that brings 25 plus years of experience in architecture and development.  She has a well-balanced understanding of the relationship between the two disciplines and is able to adeptly navigate local ordinances and the political landscape surrounding projects.  Deborah is known for, and believes strongly, that it’s imperative to work with community and various local agencies to ensure that solutions can be supported by all and ultimately built for the betterment of the community.

Having successfully completed numerous multi-family projects throughout San Diego, from a 12-unit high end condominium to a 251-unit multi-family high-rise project, her portfolio reflects her philosophy and primary focus on community and creating a sense of place.  With each project, she holds steady her ability to manage the minutia and balance the communication between all parties to ensure a successful project.

DESS Partners is a culmination of Deborah’s work with other firms.  Together with her partner, Eric Smith, she is able to focus on projects that allow her to bring all her training, skills, and experience to the table.


p. 858 353 0730




Principal of Operations

DESS Partners, LLP Principal of Operations and Project Architect, Eric Smith, is a LEED accredited and licensed Architect with over 20 years of experience in the architectural and construction industry.  He has the unique advantage of being on the construction side of the business with positions including job site superintendent, construction administrator, and project manager.  As architect he not only initiates projects from Design Conception, but also specializes in successfully taking projects through the construction phase. 

Eric has worked on a variety of multi-family projects throughout downtown San Diego including high-end, low-density condominiums to high-density affordable housing projects.  He has acted as project manager for various commercial, civic, mixed-use, multifamily and custom residential projects that have ranged from Type V, Type III and Type I construction, as well as for a LEED gold affordable multifamily housing project.  His in-depth experience in navigating and managing the complexities of mixed-use, multi-family residential and office/retail projects is core to how he approaches the nuances of large projects.

DESS Partners, LLP allows Eric the opportunity to work with a partner who has similar experience, and who balances his architectural interests.  Together they each are able to focus and specialize in specific areas of a project enabling Eric to utilize his well-rounded experience on projects.