Inset for looks v. frameless for space: which to choose at same $
From the beginning of our remodel process, we'd planned to base our cabinets on an inspiration photo I found, which mixed frameless lowers with face-frame inset uppers for a period look. We're going for an Arts & Crafts feel, but since we have a small kitchen and a budget that's barely out of Ikea territory, I could rationalize that approach based on the cost and space savings and was pretty content with it.
Fast forward to this week, when I started getting estimates back, and discovered that one of the small cabinet shops we're looking at will build inset for the same price as frameless, and meets our budget. At first I was giddy since I'd assumed even just the uppers would be a huge reach---but then I realized we would need to resize many of our lower cabinets to account for the rails and stiles (e.g., our 12" pullout that was carefully sized to fit an 11.5" dog food bin suddenly becomes a 14" pullout to fit the same bin, which in turn means the drawer bank next to it shrinks, etc.) Since our layout is drawer-heavy, this amounts to a lot of space.
I've read through the old threads I could find on inset v. full overlay and know you can sometimes lose space with frameless door conflicts too, and can design around it for face-frame with enough space---but since we have a galley layout with only a couple of doors, conflicts aren't a big issue. We only have 13LF of lowers and 8LF of uppers, so space is at a premium. The lowers are drawers except for one pullout, the under-sink cabinet, and one drawer-over-door next to the range to meet code.
This has become a classic form versus function debate in our house, and I'm curious to know what those of you who have inset cabinets (or decided against them for reasons other than cost) think from a utility perspective. Do you feel you've lost much in the way of storage space? Does the aesthetic make up for that, or would you do it differently?