Balderbrae Gardens: An Enchanting Oasis In The Woods

balderbrae gardens

The landscape at Balderbrae, a 6-acre country estate in Suffern, NY, is an enchanting oasis in the woods. With walled gardens, manicured pathways, open-air loggias and rose covered pergolas at the center, the scene loosens around the edges with lawns that stretch outward, lazily, giving in to the ruralness of the surrounding land.

Previously belonging to horticulturist Louise Beebe Wilder (1878-1938) and her architect husband in the early 1900s, Balderbrae includes the original cottage as well as a stone house designed by David Easton, a NY architect and interior designer who bought the property with his partner, Jimmy Steinmeyer, in 1980. “Once David had designed the house facing the cottage, which became our guest house, the existing stoned walled garden became our next project,” remarks Steinmeyer, who worked closely with landscape designer Nancy Goslee Power on it in the 1980s.

balderbrae gardens walkway

Referring to Wilder, Power notes that “She was a wonderful gardener and an amazing colorist.” After researching her life and long-ago plan for the garden, Power implemented Wilder’s original terraces, half-moon fountains, a climbing grape arbor and a luscious herb garden. Although a new pool was added between the main house and cottage and the pergolas were rebuilt to stretch between the buildings, Power seamlessly worked them into the gardens, successfully bringing back the delicate balance between formal and informal, which makes the design, whether carried out in the early 20th century or today, so enigmatic.

balderbrae gardens outdoor dining area

“The rose garden, loggias and surrounding pool are well manicured,” comments New York designer Thomas Jayne, who recently refreshed the interiors for new owners. But the garden, similarly to when Wilder fastidiously tended to it, still relaxes into the world beyond. “You can tell it’s a mature garden that’s been around for nearly 100 years and has a whimsicality that only comes with age and the elements.”

INTERIOR DESIGN: Jayne Design Studio, New York, NY

ARCHITECTURE: Easton Steinmeyer & Associates, Tulsa, OK

LANDSCAPE: Nancy Goslee Power & Associates, Santa Monica, CA

Photography: Don Freeman

This article originally appeared in the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Spring 2019 issue in a series called, “Hotbeds.” Check out the rest of the homes featured in the series here!

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