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A suave shingled design with contained massing and simple detail, the Waterman House was a particularly forward-looking design for its time. The exterior’s shingles are visually important both for their picturesque effect, giving texture to the box-like massing, and for the seamless quality they give to the surface. The bay windows and recessed front porch are seemingly minor yet important modulations that relieve the severity of a simple cubic mass.

The plan is typical of the 1880s. The entrance hall is more or less centered on the north side and provides access to the principal rooms that radiate from it on the first floor. The staircase has been slightly modified since the house was built. The L-plan parlor on the west side has been created from two rectangular rooms. The dining room has diaper-work wainscoting about five feet high — a characteristic 1880s treatment particularly found in dining rooms — and a handsome mantel with Federal-inspired detail.

Waterman was a partner in the tool-manufacturing firm Nicholson & Waterman. This house was under construction when he married Eva Nicholson in the early fall of 1887, and the newlyweds made it their first home.

– 2009 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook

The Shingle Style was reaching an abstract end (epitomized by McKim, Mead & White’s Low House in Bristol built at the same time as this), and here we find Stone, Carpenter & Willson delivering a tight shingled box with minimal detail. The recessed front porch and bay windows are seemingly minor but important modulations to the exterior mass. Waterman was a tool manufacturer. 

– 2003 Guide to Providence Architecture

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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.