Architect parted from norm 

When Ernest Coxhead was designing 2940 Jackson St., San Francisco, in the mid-1890s, he knew what he didn’t want, namely the elaborate wooden gingerbread and curlicues that characterized much of the residential architecture of the time.

"He was known for wanting to get away from the Victorian look," Sotheby’s International real estate agent Mary Lou Castellanos said.

Instead, the house he designed uses a lot of straight lines, with rectangular windows carved up by panes into smaller rectangles, for a cleaner and simpler look. It also lacks the double-parlors and smaller rooms common to Victorian homes. The large, luxury house that resulted has attracted the attention of several British natives so far, who are attracted by its "Englishness," Castellanos said.

"He was very influential," she said. "It was more for living, more comfortable."

The classically trained architect Coxhead came to California from England in 1887 at age 23, according to www.classicSFproperties.com, a Web site maintained by McGuire real estate agent David Parry and referenced by the S.F. Museum and Historical Society. After two years in Southern California, Coxhead and his elder brother Almeric opened their business Coxhead and Coxhead here in 1890.

Their work included the Holy Innocents Church at 455 Fair Oaks St., a church at 11th and Market, a house at 2423 Green St. also known for its English country character, and Ernest Coxhead’s own home at 2421 Green St. Other notable structures include the Prayer Cross and a bridge over Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park, and 333 Grant St., which was originally the headquarters of the Home Telephone Co.

The house at 2940 Jackson was built in 1894, according to the Parry’s site. Its first owner was the Gillespie family, Castellanos said.

"The public rooms were really well-proportioned. And the window lines, they were all leaded glass. It’s very European looking. They’re original windows," Castellanos said.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $2,695,000 (possible sale pending)

Property tax: $35,035*

What: 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a little less than 3,000 square feet.

Amenities: Crown moldings, large rooms, high ceilings, bay windows, built-in bookcases, fireplaces, leaded glass cabinets, walkout garden with patio, garage, extra room on fifth level, four bedrooms on one floor.

Agent: Mary Lou Castellanos and Debi DiCello, Sotheby’s International Real Estate, (415) 901-1769 and (415) 901-1777, www.2940Jackson.com

* Estimate based on 1.3 percent of asking price

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