Mike and Robin Nasatir spent much of the 1990s restoring a country villa in Highland Park that had been built in 1919 for a wealthy bachelor and his paramour, the opera singer Mary Garden. Now, with their two children almost grown, the Nasatirs are ready to move from the 22-room house. Because selling the house could take a long time in the stalled luxury home market, the couple has decided to offer the place for rent—at $35,000 a month. The house is also for sale—at $7.75 million—but Mike Nasatir notes that he and his wife were asking the same amount for the house back in 2001, the last time they considered moving. (Each time the house went on the market, real-estate agents established its asking price by evaluating comparable properties that were on the market.) “I’d rather hold onto it for a few more years and see if [the value of the property] goes up,” Nasatir says.

The Nasatirs have a lot invested in the house—not only financially, but also emotionally. They paid $2 million for the place in 1991 and spent another $4 million on renovations during their first years of ownership, Nasatir says, followed by more outlays that he wouldn’t specify. Their emotional investment is unquantifiable, but as Nasatir walked me through the house last week—describing the process of lowering floors in one wing to make them level with those in the other wing; detailing the methods for removing eight decades of grime from porous limestone walls—it was clear that his connection to the project was deep.

When the Nasatirs approached the Baird & Warner agent Karen Skurie about representing the house, they planned only to rent it. Skurie says that she urged them to also offer the house for sale. Both Skurie and Nasatir say that they consider the home a very rentable place. “Somebody who can entertain at the level of this house is out there,” Skurie says.

My photo tour follows; be sure to click through for more on the history and renovation of the villa.

Also: If you are looking for tours of slightly more modest homes, my colleague Rochelle Vayo Adkinson, host of CLTV’s HomesPlus show, is recapping some of her favorite video tours of the past year on the weekends of December 19th and 20th and December 26th and 27th.