By Christine Graf
In what has been his largest endeavor to date, local entrepreneur Michael Blaauboer has completed the restoration of The Brill Manor. Located at 683 Saratoga Road in Wilton, the property is one of the area’s newest wedding and event venues.
Originally known as the Brill House, the home was built in 1850 by John Brill. The 31-acre property has changed hands many times over the years, and many locals remember it as the Pepper Turkey Farm. Famed LPGA golfer Dottie Pepper grew up there, and her father, former Major League Baseball Player Don Pepper, ran the farm after his father died.
“Dottie’s parents have been extremely generous in sharing details of the property with me,” said Blaauboer.
In late 2020, Blaauboer acquired the historic property, one that had been neglected for years. The house was in a state of disrepair, obscured by overgrown foliage that rendered it invisible from the road.
Because the property was purchased at a time when COVID mandates were in place, Blaauboer embarked on the restoration project with help from just a few friends and family members.
“We started working at the beginning of 2021, and we were there every single day from 7 a.m. to around midnight,” he said. “My goal was to complete the restoration by summer of 2021.”
According to Blaauboer, the project piqued the interest of many members of the community.
“Because there was so much interest in the property, we would have about three people a day curious about what we were doing,” he said.
It was because he wanted to preserve the manor’s character and historic integrity that Blaauboer worked with the Town of Wilton during the restoration process.
“I worked closely with (former town historian) Karen Strack James and the team there,” he said. “I wanted to bring the house back to as much of the original character, and we really took our time in trying to get it right.”
In addition to renovating the home, Blaauboer installed a new parking lot and began renovations on the four barns on the property. Two of those barns—The Bordeaux Barn and the Bourbon Room—serve as venue spaces that can be rented for weddings, parties, and other events.
“The house can accommodate 50 or 60 people for events,” he said. “We can have up to 99 people for weddings and also offer other types of events such as bridal showers and bachelorette weekends.”
Couples can host their wedding receptions in an event tent that is erected on the property for special events. The elegantly furnished Bordeaux Room features a bar and dance floor, and an outdoor fire pit measuring eight feet by eight feet provides a cozy gathering spot for guests. Every wedding package includes the exclusive use of the house overnight, and the property offers a picturesque setting for wedding ceremonies.
“We had an amazing wedding where a couple exchanged their vows beneath a towering oak tree at the rear of the Brill,” said Blaauboer.
The Brill Manor has curated a list of preferred caterers and provides a variety of affordably priced, all-inclusive wedding packages that encompass the use of the house, barns, wedding tent, as well as tables and chairs.
“My goal was to craft an entertaining and distinctive experience reminiscent of Saratoga,” said Blaauboer. “I want to offer people a memorable and enjoyable time–to unwind and let the property’s uniqueness speak for itself. It’s only when you set foot on the premises that you truly grasp its exceptional qualities.”
For more information, visit www.thebrillmanor.com.