The Slightly Wacky and Totally Wonderful Madoo Gardens in “World of Interiors”

Just the word “Madoo” makes me smile. It means “my dove” in Scots and is but a hint of the charm, whimsy, and wonder that is this jewel of a house and garden in Sagaponack, New York. How great that Madoo gets its due in the vaunted British World of Interiors magazine here this month.

Home of the late painter, poet, and pianist Robert Dash from 1967 until his death in 2013, Madoo is a romp of plants, paintings, rooms, and more. The more you see, the more you want to see, the more you want to know. And there is much to know.

Kendell Cronstrom‘s superbly written text brings the man and his passions to life, from his wont for reading French literature and singing show tunes, to drinking (a lot) with gardening legend Rosemary Verey  and dancing with vacuum cleaners. It is possible one lead to the other. Just saying.

I met Bob Dash briefly and late in life, but the twinkle was still very much in his eye. I am lucky to own one of his sketches, and luckier still to have become friends with Madoo’s executive director Alejandro Saralegui, who is a gem.  Alejandro’s shepherding of the Madoo Conservancy is a godsend to the place, and he and Madoo are on Instagram here.

Photographs are by the wonderful Miguel Flores Vianna, whom you can also follow on Instagram. Gorgeous. The photos are nice, too 😉 Ba-dum-boom.

Like another of my favorite eccentric houses, the Bloomsbury Group’s Charleston Farmhouse in East Sussex, England, there is little doubt that muses dwell here, and that the muses like to have fun.

Cronstrom’s only lament is that the prodigiously gifted Dash, friend and contemporary of such luminaries as Willem de Kooning, Fairfield Porter, and writer Frank O’Hara, has never  fully been recognized for his own gifts. That may change in time, of course, and WoI‘s bringing him and Madoo afresh to the world will help.

Robert Storr, now dean of Yale’s School of Art, said his longtime friend Dash “believed in things that were lovely in their own right and thought about style as being organic, something that connected people.” I can’t think of a higher calling, can you?

Btw, Charlotte Moss and I will be doing a little panel discussion and lunch thing at Madoo this summer, during the Much Ado About Madoo weekend, which is really fun and has a great garden market. Not that shopping would interest you of course.

If you find yourself out East, as the locals say, or in the Hamptons, as others say, put Madoo on your list. Open May 8 to September 19 on Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 4 pm.


  1. Thank you, Fabulous Frances for this inspiring and happy post (as usual)! Here’s to wacky & wonderful, and muses who-like-to-have-fun, and style as it is so perfectly, profoundly described by Dean Storr. Please remember to share your gifts of writing, conversation and fabulous presence with the Left Coast, OK? As in Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens, SF Botanical Garden, and Filoli events, just for starters…
    Happy Almost Earth Week!

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