My partner and I are particularly fond of driving out to the country on occasion, and while on these little trips we are always keeping a lookout for abandoned houses. There are a good number of them northwest of Toronto, and the best ones are old brick farmhouses with a barn or two. Ideally there are no other houses around, so that when you go sneaking around the property no one gets suspicious. They are fascinating to explore, and to imagine how it would have been living in the house, and what it might have looked like when it was well kept and cared for. Kitchens are large, bedrooms are small, and bathrooms are especially wee. I don't go in the basements, but from my apprehensive vantage point at the top of the stairs looking down, they look uniformly dark, cold, clammy and mighty creepy.
Besides the curiosity-feeding thrill of it all, one of the main reasons we venture into these houses is to take reference photos. Old houses are a wealth of interesting and unusual compositions, colours and textures. Degraded paint and wallpaper, rusted metal and aged wood, broken windows, warped floors and walls are all irresistible. It is also worthwhile to visit the same house again if possible, at a different time of day or in a different season.
Below are a few of the images that I am really fond of; they would be beautiful paintings all on their own. The last one is an especial favourite.