Posted by – October 5, 2010
Every time I pass an abandoned farm house I want to go inside. I’ve only done so once, followed by less than ideal circumstances (foot went through porch floor, cut while climbing through a window, attacked by birds, meth lab remains, etc.). However, that doesn’t stop the urge to take in someone’s life after the fact. There are always so many clues to their taste, how they lived, rotting furniture and old calendars on the wall. What people leave often points to the speed at which they fled.
Tess of Demure Folk recently came across this abandoned farm house in the Berkshires. The delicate wallpaper, the ancient linoleum — so beautiful! It seems very 1930s to me. I’d live there in a second (who wouldn’t?). I’d peel back the layers, frame the wallpaper remnants and enjoy the process of turning it into something livable while maintaining its legacy. I always said I’d never live in a renovated house when I grew up (I grew up in a continual state of moving and construction), but this house might change my mind.
For more photos of Tess’s adventure, check out Demure Folk.
You may or may not know that I love rot, abandonment and a general state of dereliction, whatever the style or age of the building may be. However, when there’s an aristocratic bent to the decay — well, then the bread pudding thickens. Hannah of Hello Mr. Fox recently visited Calke Abbey, a 1704 country house and estate in Derbyshire, England preserved in 20th-century decline. The story of this Baroque mansion is that of an eccentric family given to massive taxidermy collections and lots of hoarding. (Drooling. Cannot close mouth. Attempting — to — breathe.)
According to Hitchcock Blonde:
“Calke Abbey is a kind of architectural elegy to the extinction of the rural peer, a giant version of the taxidermist’s tanks that fill its rotting, forsaken rooms. A twelfth-century Augustinian priory (go figure) tucked away in Ticknall, Derbyshire, Calke was inhabited by the ambitious Harpur family from 1622 to 1980, suffering a slow and spectacular decline as its rooms fillled with a marvellous and mundane miscellany of art, fossils, shells, children’s toys, books, butterflies and birds: the fallout of fruitcakes with fulsome funds.
“Calke is a 3D map of mild psychosis, from the collections of Henry Harpur (1789), the baronet with ‘an unhealthy taste for solitude’ who married a lady’s maid, to the christening present bought by Richard Harpur Crewe (1880) for his nephew, a silver-mounted ostrich egg with decorative boars’ tusks.”
This country mansion has since been donated to the National Trust after the family died off and fell into massive debt. I’m so pleased that they’ve allowed it to stay as it was — and that there are tours! Learn more at the National Trust’s website.
[Via Hello Mr. Fox]