The house was built for lumber baron Nathan Paine and his wife, Jessie Kimberly Paine. Construction of the Tudor Revival mansion began in 1927, and all work was halted in 1932 as the Great Depression crippled the Paine Lumber Company. The Paines returned to the project in 1946 and established a non-profit organization to own and manage the estate for public benefit. Nathan Paine died in 1947 at the age of 77. Jessie oversaw remaining work on the estate, and the property opened to the public in 1948. The Paines never lived in the house.
The house features an art gallery and is surrounded by gardens. The house contains French Barbizon school and American paintings, sculptures, and decorative woodworkings, Persian rugs, tapestries, and English and American silver and china. The property has twenty garden areas in various traditional and contemporary designs featuring thousands of plant specimens. The Paine also hosts changing exhibitions and offers educational programs related to historic architecture, art and nature.