James completed his professional degree in architecture at Plymouth Polytechnic in England in 1984 and subsequently worked in the well-respected practices of Louis De Soissons Partnership and Marshman Warren Taylor in England and James Stageberg Architects in Minneapolis. On settling in North Carolina, James chose to focus on custom residential single-family projects, commencing practice as James Morgan Designer in 1992 and subsequently incorporating the growing business as BellaDomus Inc. in 2002.
James traces a major root of his architectural sensibility to the stark stone walls and expressive forms of old mine and quarry buildings in the Cornwall of his youth, and to the intimate connection and involvement of these buildings with the by turns rugged and gentle landscape. Reading Frank Lloyd Wright's "The Future of Architecture" at an impressionable age was a major turning point in James' life, and Wright continues to be an architectural hero.
He is married to artist Monica Ferrell and has a grown daughter, actress Cerris Morgan-Moyer. He has a longtime involvement with civic and community affairs in Carrboro, as a board member of Weaver Street Market since 1996 and a member (former chair) of the Downtown Development Commission from 1994 to 2005. James' interests outside of architecture include music, dance, and the visual arts.