Here we have a compelling companion piece to the Esther Hinckley Baker House at 179 Hope Street, both designed by the same architectural firm in the Queen Anne style but built six years apart. Both have very animated massing, somewhat more contained here than at the Esther Hinckley Baker House; similar wall materials including uncoursed Seekonk stone with pink mortar, slate shingles in two colors, and elaborately sawn and turned woodwork; and complex roofs with tall, sculptural chimneys.
The big difference between the two houses is the organization of interior space. Where the Baker House has a stair hall reached by two transverse halls deep in the house, the Klapp House features a true Queen Anne living hall. Derived ultimately from the large central living areas in late Medieval English houses, the Queen Anne living hall is typically a centrally located space around which the principal public rooms are situated and usually featuring the principal staircase and a fireplace. What especially distinguishes this space is its finish by the local Art Workers Guild, established in 1885 and named after a similarly-spirited organization founded in London the previous year. Guild workers conceived and executed the stained-glass window on the staircase as well as the Pre-Raphaelite-manner mural in the fireplace inglenook, the work of Sydney Burleigh, a leading painter of the day and co-founder of the Guild.
Klapp, who owned an oil company, enjoyed his house for only a year before his death in 1889 at the age of 62.
– 2009 Festival of Historic Houses Guidebook