We have a friend in Florida. She worked hard and accumulated a good nest egg. But the current economy was not kind to her, and the insurance rates after hurricanes made it worse. She had to sell one of her houses there. She had rented one and lived in the other. She did not have a lavish lifestyle, but she did live well. Her house was always clean and attractive with a number of family heirlooms. She could not sell her house for a long time, and it was weighing on her budget. She did not know what she was going to do if she did not get what she wanted from her house.
My advice to her was to build small, or find a tiny house with a beautiful little garden. She would not have the square footage, but she could lavish the best finishes, the finest furniture and the most elegant decorations on a very small space. She could live like a royal in a small space in that way, and her friends would always enjoy visiting there. Also, the maintenance would be minimal as she got older.
This is also my advice to you.
Remember that a big Italianate house with rooms the size of a small house or a big suburban modern house, costs a fortune to heat. You would spend a year's salary to put up Gracie hand painted oriental wall paper in a room that size, but if you are looking at 12x12 rooms, even the most precious silks and hand made furnishings and antiques and floor coverings suddenly become possible because the scale is so much smaller. Remember too, that if you want to live in an elegant space, you only need one beautiful object to set the tone of a space, while filling the rest of a space with basic and utilitarian furnishings using good neutral colors etc. to blend with your treasures..