The Property Brothers take on renovations too. Photo from HGTV


You go to sleep one night and dream of a new master bathroom, a beautiful, large kitchen with all the latest gadgets, extra bedrooms, a den, a brand-new deck, a swimming pool … the list goes on and on. You toss and turn and finally wake up and decide that at least one of these dream projects must be achieved as soon as possible, and you get ready to put your dream into action.

By Anessa Cohen

This is usually how the decision to renovate begins, but now I need to add a new twist to this story. I do not know how many of you are like me in this regard, but somehow my dream renovation plans always seem to pop up around the same time the calendar tells me it is time to get an early start on planning for Pesach or the Yomim Noraim. I have never understood the need to renovate in time for the improvements to be ready for yom tov. I am sure many contractors will back me up with the fact that they have more jobs around these time frames.

I begin looking around the house in February to see what I need to start doing to get a head start on Pesach cleaning. It is usually as I inspect my house to see what has to be done that I find more things to do than I expected, and I start to think about renovations. One thing leads to another, and bingo — a renovation project is born!

Last year, I decided that I hated my oven and could not face cooking in it for Pesach, so it had to go. But when I started to shop for new ovens (I hadn’t replaced my oven in nearly 20 years!), lo and behold, I could not find any double ovens that would fit into the existing space I had customized 20 years ago when I installed my then-new double oven. Twenty years ago, the ultimate oven appliance was a gas self-cleaning double oven. At that time, I installed the gas line and connections prior to the oven, and I was one of the first to have such an oven. Today, nobody wants a gas self-cleaning anymore, since during those years they were found to be lacking in many ways. So here was another thing I had to consider — installing a 220 electric line to whichever double oven I would now choose to buy, as well as figuring out what to do about the opening in the cabinet, which was now too small for the new ovens today.

Since I realized that a carpenter as well as an electrician would now be necessary, I also decided that as long as I was going to get a carpenter to change the size of the cabinet holding the wall oven, maybe now was a good time to also buy that new refrigerator I wanted but had been holding back on purchasing for similar reasons. The new refrigerators were taller than the older ones, and that would require cutting and redoing the cabinet over my existing refrigerator as well.

As you may realize, this project that started out as just buying a new oven was growing and growing, which is the way it often happens with all renovation projects: they start out small and then grow, as if with a mind of their own.

The real joke (on me, of course) is that when I realized that I was effectively renovating the cabinets holding the oven and renovating the cabinets holding the refrigerator, the only cabinet left in that grouping was a pantry closet that I never liked anyway, so … I decided that if I was renovating the first two cabinets, I might as well renovate the third one and just have everything new in that grouping!

What is the ending to this story? The carpenter came and ripped out everything along that wall, from floor to ceiling, telling me it is ridiculous to cut here and cut there — it will just look like a bad haircut. The entire grouping of cabinets was rebuilt from scratch, with new openings made for the new double oven and refrigerator I bought. The electrician installed a new 220 line for my now electric self-clean ovens.

All this took nearly three weeks to complete. It is very beautiful, and I have more room than I had before, as well as a better cooking environment. But it’s scary when you think that all I really wanted to do was buy a new oven for Pesach.

Anessa Cohen lives in Cedarhurst and is a licensed real-estate broker (Anessa V Cohen Realty) and a licensed N.Y.S. loan officer (FM Home Loans) with over 20 years of experience offering full-service residential, commercial, and management real-estate services as well as mortgage services. She can be reached at 516-569-5007 or via her website, Readers are encouraged to send questions or comments to


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