Decayed dream homes that time forgot



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Nestled on the rural outskirts of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, this captivating manor may be a little worse for wear but its grand façade still makes for an impressive sight. Built in the mid-1890s, the regal estate, named Ashfeld Manor, was purportedly commissioned by Colonel Daniel Lawson Moore for his wife, Minnie, following their marriage in 1891.



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Extending a vast 6,200 square feet, this was no doubt a dream home back in the mansion’s 20th-century heyday. Now a husk of its former grandeur, the elegant parlours and dining rooms on the ground floor are faded and tired, with plaster flaking away, leaving the building’s wooden framework exposed. Nevertheless, the property’s grand proportions are evident, from the airy double-height ceilings to the heritage sash windows.



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Flanked by windows on three sides, this light-filled sunroom would’ve been a beautiful space for entertaining – the who’s who of Aberdeen’s high society would’ve perhaps gathered here to take tea or enjoy an elegant evening soiree. Overlooking the home’s one-acre grounds, it now looks forlorn, with white pelmets greyed by dust and plaster falling away from the walls. We wonder what caused the former residents to up sticks and leave so much of their furniture behind?



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While dusty and littered with debris, the interior is completely enchanting. In this captivating room, colourful frescoed walls catch the light, framing a vast hooded fireplace blackened by coal. Overhead, a magnificent coffered ceiling comprises intricately painted panels outlined in gold gilding – it doesn’t get much grander than this!



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Built for Colonel Samuel Rockwell, no expense was spared in its design, which comprises hundreds of pieces of hand-cut timber. Over the years, the property changed hands numerous times and was even used as a summer retreat by Georgia Governor Herschel Vespasian Johnson in the 1850s – we can just imagine this grand entrance hall welcoming Milledgeville’s upper echelons to the property’s many soirees.



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While signs of wear and tear were evident by the mid-1900s, the estate stood relatively unscathed until one fateful day in August 1969. Workmen were busy removing paint from the walls of one of the upstairs rooms with a blow torch when the wooden structure unsurprisingly caught light. Though the damage was made good, the room was exposed to the elements and left to languish, along with the rest of the structure.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Once the mansion’s most luxurious room, the bedroom is awash with faded grandeur, from the marble-clad walls to the bare mattress elevated on a red-carpeted platform. Chandeliers lie discarded on the steps, along with shoes and piles of clothing. We wonder what the future holds for this sorry space…



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Shrouded in dense undergrowth, Villa Minetta is an architectural gem hidden in Novi Ligure in Italy’s Piedmont region. The richly ornamented façade is a work of art, featuring intricate leaded windows, wrought-iron Juliet balconies and exquisite stonework. A jewel of the region, it’s unclear when the property was originally constructed, but the design details we see today date back to the 19th and 20th centuries.



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Inside, spectacular domed ceilings abound, decorated with stunning hand-painted frescoes. While plaster has crumbled away in places, the richly coloured design has miraculously survived years of neglect. The property’s most notable resident was one Edilio Raggio, a famous 19th-century entrepreneur in the region who made his fortune in the steel and coal industries.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


However, the 5,600-square-foot property’s pièce de résistance has to be the vast tipi-shaped pool room at the heart of the house. While it’s been left to wrack and ruin, the double-height space is still showstopping – we can just imagine crowds of well-dressed guests milling around the poolside, piña coladas in hand. The large swimming pool featuring the Playboy logo is still intact, but in recent years it’s become a dumping ground for broken furniture and a playground for vandals.



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Behind the glitz and glamour of the home’s heyday lies an altogether more sinister tale. The unusual property was abandoned only a year after it was completed, following the murder of a certain Larry Parker, the rumoured lover of Billy Hull’s wife, Gloria. Hull was arrested and sentenced to 20 years for hiring a contract killer to take out Parker and the property subsequently fell into disrepair, before it was seized by the city in 2017 and reduced to rubble.



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Found on England’s southwest coast, this seven-bedroom former parsonage is the sort of place where we’d expect to find a well-to-do vicar in a Jane Austen novel. Built around 1820, Brackenside Manor sits in five acres of land among overgrown walled gardens and dilapidated stables near the village of Bucks Mills in Devon.



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Upstairs, one of the spacious bedrooms is decked out in whimsical pink hues, though damp is creeping in from behind the wallpaper. The feature fireplace sits pride of place in the centre of the room, blackened by decades of use. The wooden floorboards are dusty and worn, though with a little elbow grease they could easily be brought back to life.



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In the kitchen, an original range sits in the hearth, though it hasn’t been lit in some time. Now surrounded by a holiday park, the house was under threat of demolition to make way for new holiday chalets. It has since been awarded Grade II listing, which means it’s safe from the wrecking ball, though it would take a lot of work (and money) to restore it to its former glory.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


When Briarcliff sold in 1948, it became a treatment centre and mental health clinic, before Emory University snapped up the structure in 1998. These days, the rooms have been stripped bare and the walls marked by the numerous trespassers who’ve passed through over the years.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Named after three local poets, Alfred de Vigny, Alphonse de Lamartine and Francis Jammes, the grand dwelling was said to be the seat of the noble Nays-Candau family until the mid-20th century, before being converted into a retirement home in 1988. Closed for good in 2000, time has since taken a toll on the historic home, with the interiors reduced to ruin and exposed to the elements.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


In its heyday, Selma was famous for its southern hospitality and its halls were once filled with music, dancing and soirees attended by the upper echelons of society. Upstairs on the landing, the bright floral wallpaper would’ve been the height of home décor way back when!



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When it comes to first impressions, this enchanting estate scoops the top spot in our roundup. With its grand Mediterranean Revival architecture and rose stucco façade, there’s more than an air of fairytale about Howey Mansion, even in the sorry state it’s captured in here. Located in the Florida community of Howey-in-the-Hills, the property was constructed in 1927 by William J. Howey, the founder of the surrounding town, as his main residence.



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Encompassing 7,200 square feet along with 15 acres of sprawling grounds, the property was certainly a showpiece for the Howeys. The grand hall is perhaps one of the most imposing spaces, with its vast, double-height hearth, arched windows and beamed ceiling. From the towering red curtains to the mottled brown walls, it feels like a scene straight out of a Gothic novel.



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69/69 SLIDES

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