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Robinson Pearce, builder

How one wishes to attribute this house to one of Providence’s many talented late 19th-century architects — its subtly modulated yet picturesque massing and nicely controlled yet easily flowing interior plan affirm the presence of a knowledgeable designer. We do know that the builder was Robinson Pearce, about whom little is known, and the final cost was around $12,000. The results obviously pleased the family of Rhode Island Supreme Court Chief Justice Matteson, for they remained in residence until 1920.

The interior is introduced by a vestibule with original lincrusta walls — launched in Britain in 1877 and first produced in this country in 1883 — and tile floor. The vestibule leads to the ample living/stair hall, around which the principal public rooms are arranged: parlor, library, dining room. The detail of these rooms reflects Georgian Revival remodeling — no doubt done soon after the Matteson departure — including the handsome neo-Federal mantels. The library wall covering of navigational charts was installed by former owner and avid sailor Richard Knight. The kitchen is largely original.

The present owners, in residence since 1974, have carefully tended the house, including refinishing some previously painted woodwork. 

– Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook, 2013

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© 2023 Guide to Providence Architecture. All rights reserved. Design by J. Hogue at Highchair designhaus, with development & support by Kay Belardinelli.