US couple transforms abandoned Italian house into dream home with an elevator
Silvia Marchetti, CNN
8 minute read
6:00 PM EDT, Sun August 7, 2022
Italian hideaway: Massoud Ahmadi and Shelley Spencer, from Montgomery County in the US state of Maryland, bought and renovated an abandoned home in the Italian town of Sambuca di Sicilia.
Bargain home: The couple snapped up a 100-square-meter palazzo, one of 16 properties local authorities put up for auction for a symbolic €1 in 2019 in a bid to revive the depopulated town.
New neighborhood: "It was love at first sight," Spencer tells CNN. "Sambuca is very clean, with nice old stone pavements reminiscent of those in [Washington, D.C. neighborhood] Georgetown and the street lights at night are very romantic."
Big project: When they learned that their €10,150 (around $10,372) bid was accepted, they quickly got to work on giving the property a dramatic facelift.
Amazing transformation: Two years later, and well ahead of the three-year deadline implemented by local authorities, their Italian home is complete. The couple say their spent $250,000 on the renovation work, which included fixing the original staircases.
Home elevator: The standout feature of the house, located in the ancient Saracen district of Sambuca's historical center, is an indoor elevator.
Comfort first: "We thought it would be great to feel as comfortable as possible by bypassing all those narrow steps, and not having to go up and down four windy staircases several times per day," Spencer says of the added fixture, which has a security camera and telephone installed inside.
Scenic town: "We love the peacefulness in Sambuca," says Ahmadi. "Our street is very silent and we enjoy the town's slow pace lifestyle philosophy."
Complete makeover: One of the rooms in the historical dwelling before the restyle, which was completed within two years.
Elegant interior: The house also features a living area with an open-plan kitchen, a relaxation area, a guest suite, several balconies, and a panoramic terrace.