Over the last forty years, artist and writer Robert Dash established a green, organic encyclopedia of gardening on two acres of land in Sagaponack, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, as well as Oriental garden influences.
The myriad greens that abound in the garden, some alongside daring colors on railings, gates, windows and doors, together with innovative pruning techniques, all display an artistic genius at work. However, within this very original vision, an indigenous pattern surfaces. The continual introduction of native plants, the placement of a wheel-away bench (a rarely seen native design), a millstone, still in its barn, and migrant shack on the property pay homage to generations past. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, Madoo’s residences also display interiors of exceptional and distinctive design, like the spiral staircase constructed of fallen timbers from the last hurricane as well as a bed designed to make one feel as though one is sleeping in the forest.
Madoo is rich with 20th Century literary and artistic history as well-framed poems by Koethe, Ashbery, Schuyler and Guest, who visited many times and composed some of their work here, letters from the likes of Georgia O’Keefe and Fairfield Porter, as well as the art work of many notables, including Mr. Dash’s own.
About the Structures at Madoo
The Madoo property includes several historic structures scattered around and incorporated into the overall landscape theme and programmatic concept. The oldest structure, a circa 1740 barn, now Dash’s summer studio, was originally built for Peter Hildreth (1715-c.1765), after which nearby Peter’s Pond was named. Peter’s home of the same vintage still survives immediately to the east. Having originally been used to house horses and hay, the barn’s large three-bay size and pegged timber construction survive today and provide visitors with a rare glimpse of this historic and beautiful building construction type and method. Subsequent owners, including seven generations of the local Pierson family, contributed additional buildings to the property, including another large barn about 1850, now Dash’s winter residence. Other miscellaneous vintage accessory structures were reconfigured by Dash to create his summer residence, attached to the summer barn/studio. Collectively, the historic structures on the property help to physically narrate Sagaponack’s rich heritage and history. With Dash’s creative adaptive reuse of them, their historic contribution to the community remains vital and relevant.