1891 Tudor Revival bed and breakfast home priced at $1,595,000

One of the Peninsula’s more historic residences, the 120-year-old Coxhead House in San Mateo, has been listed for sale by Scott Syme of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Burlingame office for $1,595,000.

Designed and built by noted British architect Ernest Coxhead as a country retreat, this 1891 Tudor Revival has been designated a national historic landmark. Also an official California state historic landmark, the property most recently has served as a bed and breakfast tucked quietly away near the Hillsborough border at 37 East Santa Inez Avenue.

Since its completion more than a century ago, the Coxhead House has treated visitors to the rustic pleasures of days gone by, a bit of England in this Northern Peninsula town. The property comes alive in a leisurely atmosphere of gardens and comfortably elegant accommodations inside the architecturally pleasing home.

The Coxhead House’s history dates back to the gold rush days of the late 1800s, when San Francisco was in great turmoil and rapidly changing. While money poured into the city, Coxhead decided to build his family’s country retreat in San Mateo. He used the English rural vernacular, with a double bowed roof and delicate leaded windows, to add charm to his English cottage.

Along with his colleagues Julia Morgan and Bernard Maybeck, Coxhead influenced the new Arts & Crafts techniques and innovations used in English country homes. The idea of the “rustic suburb” quickly gained popularity through the San Francisco Bay Area. His San Mateo Tudor Revival home has survived, almost untouched, for more than a century.

“When visitors walk into the Coxhead House, they’re fascinated by the interesting architecture and all around them,” Syme said. “They’re swept away by the design so much that they don’t want to sit down; they want to walk around and see the next room and the next room after that, taking it all in.”

Syme said the home’s architecture is so striking that “it’s almost like a museum. But the home is also very functional and comfortable, and warm and inviting at the same time. Surrounded by beautiful trees and gardens on a very private lot, visitors quickly feel very much at home here.”

Coxhead himself resided in the home until 1924, although his wife had died years earlier in childbirth. Following the Coxheads, nationally known art historians Arthur Pope and his wife, Phyllis Ackerman, resided in the home until 1943. The Laughlin family was the owner until 1951.

Marian and James Hemingway, founders of the San Mateo Unitarian Church, resided in Coxhead House for the next 40 years. The Unitarian Church actually met in the home’s living room until a permanent building was purchased. Mrs. Hemingway was very active in politics and became San Mateo’s first female city council member.

In 1991, Pat Osborn and Steve Cabrera purchased the home and began to update it, starting with the kitchen and electrical system. While sharing its rich history with friends, the idea for the bed and breakfast was born. In 1996, Martin Dreiling, a historically sensitive architect, and Stanley Acton, a dedicated contractor, began the transformation.

Being careful to stay true to the original designs, they sustained most of the house. The brick from a crumbling fireplace was used to pave the courtyard floor. The copper shower pans were converted by Cabrera into the Olde English Coxhead sign that hangs out front. Many of the artifacts found within the walls during the renovation can be viewed on display in the entry.

The first three bedrooms, the Ernest Coxhead Room, the Julia Morgan Room, and the Bernard Maybeck Room were named in honor of all three architects. The Wyntoon illustration and angel frieze were hand-painted as tributes to Morgan. The Palace of Fine Arts mural honors Maybeck. Later, the Angel Porch Room with its sculpture, and the Sixpence were named.

Today, the Coxhead House remains one of the Peninsula’s great architectural treasures, firmly rooted in the Bay Area’s colorful past but ready to provide future generations a warm, inviting and stunning place to proudly call home.

For more information on this unique home, please contact the listing agent, Scott Syme of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s Burlingame office at 650.678.6189 or via e-mail at scott.syme@cbnorcal.com.