Kitchen Design Opinions Wanted
First off a big THANK YOU to all the folks who post on here. My wife and I are in the process of building a new home and it seems that nearly everything I search for keeps leading me to this site - so I joined! I've gained so much knowledge from this site and I truly appreciate it!
So we are focused on the kitchen right now and we've met with several kitchen designers in the hopes of finding the right one but so far the search continues. We have a construction "allowance" of $6,500 for all cabinetry - kitchen and bathroom, however our goal was to try and get decent kitchen cabinetry for that price and pay for the bathroom cabinetry out-of-pocket. We're quickly learning that isn't likely.
We have an approximately 19' x 13 1/2' kitchen including the breakfast area and the ceilings are 9' tall (link to photos and plans below). We tend to be minimalists which we hoped would keep the cost down and thought one way to do that with our L shaped kitchen would be to do only base cabinets along the long/outside wall and then base and upper cabinets along the short/inside wall. We even eliminated a cabinet in the corner and opted for 3 shelves instead. We also like the look of this so it wasn't strictly for cost reasons.
We've gotten quotes ranging from $6,750 to $11,000 for this and before we go back for our second meetings with these designers I wanted to see what I could get for feedback on this design and the pricing. We've told each designer to keep it simple - no extra features other than a couple super susans in the corner and a slide out trash can thingamajig. I haven't drawn in anything around the refrigerator as I am stuck between cabinetry or just asking the builder to create a space above it with doors.
The style cabinets we are looking for are white painted with either a shaker style recessed panel or with a wainscoting panel. I've read just about every opinion on the MDF vs. no MDF debate and while I don't want to start that up again I will say I'd like to avoid MDF but it seems in doing so I'll be limiting my choices. While I've read plenty of complaints about door frame and cabinet MDF failure I haven't heard of many complaints about the panel being MDF. Is this still something to avoid?
We are VERY new to this and VERY open to suggestions! I truly appreciate any advice you can offer.
Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Design Pictures & Plans