American couple buys old house in Italy for $10,000 and turns it into a dream home

In recent years, as several depopulated towns and villages have struggled to revitalize their dwindling communities through real estate bargains, buyers around the world are buying old Italian homes from €1.

Massoud Ahmadi and Shelley Spencer Decided to Buy a House and Perform a Total Show remodeling.

When they learned that their offer of €10,150 (about US$10,372) for a 100 square meter palazzo had been accepted, they were overjoyed and immediately set to work to give the house a stunning new look.

Massoud Ahmadi and Shelley Spencer in front of their renovated home

“It was love at first sight,” Spencer told CNN. “Sambuca is very clean, with beautiful old stone pavements reminiscent of those of [Washington, D.C. neighborhood] Georgetown and the street lights at night are very romantic.”

Two years later and well before the three-year deadline set by the local authorities, his Italian refuge is complete.

Out before and after (Photo: Massoud Ahmadi, Silvia Marchetti)
Staircase before and after (Photo: Massoud Ahmadi, Silvia Marchetti)

Ahmadi and Spencer, who work on international development initiatives, invested about $250,000 to transform the rundown home into a luxurious residence that “looks like a Renaissance mansion.”

The newly renovated home has stunning marble bathrooms, but the indoor elevator that the couple uses to move between the home’s three levels is arguably its most notable feature.

Elevator (Photo: Massoud Ahmadi)

“We want to grow old here, do yoga every day and have coffee on the terrace overlooking the misty lake,” explains Spencer.

“So we thought it would be great to feel as comfortable as possible, skipping all those narrow steps and not having to walk up and down four windy staircases multiple times a day.”

While a quarter of a million dollars seems like a lot of money for a project of this nature, they believe they spent less money on it than they would in the US for a similar project.

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Kitchen (Photo: Massoud Ahmadi)

“Locals welcome us with cakes and come to my house curious to see what we’ve done with the ruin,” says Spencer, before revealing that they recently got a “nice bottle of wine” at the local bar.

The house also has a guest suite, a master bedroom and a living room with a modern open plan kitchen.

Located next to the deserted Arab fortress Fortino di Mazzallakkar, the property has a series of balconies and a panoramic terrace overlooking the hills and Lake Arancio.

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