This house and its neighbor next door at number 81 (also by Nickerson), for a business associate of Mr. Hartwell, illustrate how well two houses can complement each other; indeed, the two constitute the city’s most captivating pair of houses. Both are highly inflected compositions, with dynamically juxtaposed massing of walls and roofs as well as counterplay of solid and void and elaborate, yet carefully controlled, ornamentation.
The interior is arranged around a stair hall with a built-in bench and coat rack fashioned from the same cherry wood of the staircase’s elaborately carved banister and paneling. Nickerson was well versed in a variety of styles and often blended them, as in the library mantel where, for example, he mixed Japanese, Federal, and Gothic elements. In the dining room, an intricate oak mantel with spindle work is counterbalanced by an elaborate Eastlake sideboard and complemented by door and window trim painted with faux oak graining. Stained-glass windows exhibit the influence of the English Arts and Crafts movement, especially the sunflower pattern — a favorite — in the library.
– 2009 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook
This is the city’s most captivating pair of houses (this house and the Hartshorn house to its left). Edward I. Nickerson, who designed Providence’s most exuberant Queen Anne houses, was certainly at the top of his game here, with complementary designs for families of two officers in the same pipe-producing company. The counterplay and balance of overall form, the solid-void relationships, surface material, and decorative detail are all superb, ceaseless in their ability to satisfy. These two drop-dead-gorgeous fraternal twins face the public across a common brownstone-pier iron fence, slightly removed and intimately linked visually. After more than thirty years here, Mrs Hartwell abandoned this neighborhood for the East Side (16 Freeman Parkway).
– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture