Iconic local architect Samuel Maclure led a large crew including sixty stonemasons and twenty-five finishing carpenters completed the design and construction of the mansion in less than two years. Equipment, workers and supplies were brought to the building site by barge across the lagoon. Exotic materials from around the world were used throughout the fifty-room mansion such as the stained glass windows designed by William Morris from England, pink sandstone from Arizona for the hall fireplace, and Australian jarrah wood for inlay in the yellow cedar panelling in James’ study.
A company from Boston, Brett and Hall, completed most of the landscaping work between 1913 and 1916. Their work included developing the croquet and tennis courts, several formal gardens and model farm which included hayfields, dairy, piggery, stable and garage, ice house, smoke house and conservatory filled with a huge banana tree and imported orchids.