A homeowner can hire a general contractor to oversee a home improvement project that involves multiple trades. A general contractor acts as project manager, providing access to the site, removing debris, coordinating work schedules, and performing some aspects of the work. Sometimes homeowners bypass the general contractor, and hire tradesmen themselves, including plumbers, electricians and roofers. Another strategy is to "do it yourself" (DIY). Several major retailers, such as Home Depot and Lowe's, specialize in selling materials and tools for DIY home improvement. These stores even host classes to educate customers how to do the work themselves.
The design was mostly that of William Buckland, a carpenter/joiner and indentured servant from England. Both he and William Bernard Sears, another indentured servant, are believed to have created the ornate woodwork and interior carving. Gunston's interior design combines elements of rococo, chinoiserie, and Gothic styles, an unusual contrast to the tendency for simple decoration in Virginia at this time. Although chinoiserie was popular in Britain, Gunston Hall is the only house known to have had this decoration in colonial America. In 1792, Thomas Jefferson attended George Mason at his death bed at Gunston Hall. After Mason's death later that year, the house continued to be used as a residence for many years.