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The Beds Are Made, The Tables Are Set, The Knickknacks Are Arranged… Wait…

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A person”s home is their castle. Some people taking this saying quite literally, designing rooms with tasteful decor and artful personal touches. We found these homes to be beautiful testaments to their owners… whoever their owners were, since there are no people living in them.

Something strikes you as “off” about this immediately, but what, exactly?

Something strikes you as

Niki Feijen of the Netherlands is a photographer of such rooms. His photos perfectly capture the rooms as a capsule. A pair of shoes by an armchair, a collection of books on the nightstand, the familiar-looking patterns on bedspreads and upholstery… It could be anyone”s house, but in fact, the houses that Feijen photographs are no one”s and have been no one”s for a long time.

With the wallpaper peeling a bit, this room looks like it”s still in use.

With the wallpaper peeling a bit, this room looks like it

This table was set up for tea when the house”s occupants vanished.

This table was set up for tea when the house

Feijen specializes in urban exploration, especially in abandoned buildings and homes throughout Western Europe. You know those buildings with “STAY OUT” signs? Feijen loves those, creeping behind the barriers to capture the insides on camera. For his Disciple of Decay collection, he photographed various houses, perfect in every way except for the thick layers of dust and grime, water damage, and the crumbling walls and furniture. Beds are made, tables are set, clothing is still left hanging, and books are open. Eerier than the concept of an abandoned house is the fact that so many of them were left in perfect, frozen condition. The former inhabitants” belongings, some of them quite nice, were left behind, and the rooms were closed off forever.

While this home is clearly abandoned, the made bed and the hanging jacket make it just as eerie.

While this home is clearly abandoned, the made bed and the hanging jacket make it just as eerie.

Here”s another set table, although the structure is in disrepair.

Here

The pair of shoes by the chair looks like someone will be back any minute.

The pair of shoes by the chair looks like someone will be back any minute.

Despite the crumbled ceiling, the former opulence of this room remains visible.

Despite the crumbled ceiling, the former opulence of this room remains visible.

A doll perches on a decaying leather chair in a French 15th century castle, Chateau Clochard.

A doll perches on a decaying leather chair in a French 15th century castle, Chateau Clochard.

The buildings are just as striking, if less personal, on a larger scale.

The buildings are just as striking, if less personal, on a larger scale.

Another larger building is being slowly reclaimed by nature.

Another larger building is being slowly reclaimed by nature.

Someone placed these nine eerie figures in an abandoned church. They”re cloth and plaster sculptures, but no one seems to know why they”re here.

Someone placed these nine eerie figures in an abandoned church. They

(All images via Niki Feijen.)

What happened? Where did the people go and why didn”t they bring their belongings? Any number of things, from economic crises to environmental disasters to war, could have caused them to go. Feijen leaves the history of the buildings, aside from what can be immediately seen, out of his work, and lets the viewer confront the rooms directly. Part of the discomfort is the nagging question that these rooms pose: what happened?

The photos are haunting and sad, but beautiful at the same time. While they touch on subjects like loss, decay, and the inevitable passage of time, they also serve as memorials to the past, and to whoever lived in these spaces.

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