2007_12_bxmans.jpgForget blowing your savings on a generic luxury condo. The NY Times has the story of a family who found their non-high rise dream home in the Bronx. Marcel and Sherrie Deans located their future home in June 2006, while driving through the Bronx (they rented in Harlem at the time). Their diamond in the rough, a mansion, was right there on Anthony Avenue.

The Deanses first saw the 16-room, 3,300-square-foot landmarked home in 2006 and paid $675,000, knowing the house could possibly be haunted...and would definitely need to be updated (new wiring! foundation reinforcement! slate roof replacement!). In spite of renovation challenges and uncertainty about the neighborhood, the couple were charmed anyway:

The Deanses also found themselves falling for its owner, who regaled them with stories of its past. Mr. Evers, a retired lawyer, told them about the previous owners: his parents-in-law, who bought it in 1928, and the man they bought it from, who is said to have been Enrico Caruso’s agent. (According to family lore, Mr. Evers’s mother-in-law, who had lived nearby, sometimes took dinner to the agent, who lost his livelihood when Caruso died in 1921. “I never knew whether she did this out of compassion or to ease the price they were going to pay, but that is the story I got,” Mr. Evers, who now lives on Long Island, said in a telephone interview.)

Lucky for them, Mr. Evers refused to sell the house to a developer or anyone whose plans that didn't include living in it. Sherrie Deans said she'd like the home to stay occupied by families and that in 80 years "I hope that my son is passing it to his son."

There's a great slideshow of the mansion, which was built from granite that was "shipped from Europe and carried from the Manhattan docks by horse and buggy" ("the workers and their families were said to have pitched tents in the yard for a year as they worked"). It will cost at least $200,000 to bring the mansion back to its original grandeur. All in all, that's under $1 million for a mansion in New York.

Photo via NY Times.