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Got prelim design & don't like it

Posted by msmagoo (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 22:16

I am sooo disappointed. We have finally gotten to the point that we are getting estimates on our remodel. I went to a kitchen design center, they do a design based on measurements for free. The young designer was very helpful and she just emailed my design yesterday and I do not like it. I realize this was just a prelim and I have to contract with them before she will go any further. How much will she modify the plans if I contract with her or should I just try Lowes. I have a 2000 sq ft ranch home, nothing fancy, but do want a classic kitchen. Help! I haven't done this before and I am horrible at visualizing.
Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Are you working with an architect?


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

No, we have a 1980s kitchen. There is a wall separating the living room and kitchen. There is only a 3 foot opening between the 2 rooms, I want to open the 2 rooms so things will flow better. My husband was previously a carpenter and he built the house.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Analyze Exactly what you do not like about it and discuss this with the kitchen designer, and then see what she comes up with. Now that you have a plan in front of you, you should have an easier time seeing and verbalizing what you Don't want on the first plan and how you want to move forward. You may have to think about it a lot, and not just say "I don't like it" because the kitchen designer is not a mind reader. I am not saying that to be harsh, just realistic. Your specific input is necessary and valuable to the outcome.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

The other alternative to palimpsest's suggestion is to find an architect who you feel has the creative ability to take your vague thoughts and turn them into a design you like.

If you spend time looking at portfolios of potential architects (or kitchen designers) and do interviews you can get a sense of someone you'll want to work with. the extra money you spend doing 3-4 iterations of the kitchen design you want - with the right person - could be the most important part of your whole remodel.

if you go with lowe's or someone you don't like, then you might end up going the other direction - not liking your designs and feeling like you have to become a designer (which you probably aren't). a really good architect would never say they're not a mind reader, but would instead ask directed questions to help them design something based on your preferences.

another advantage of hiring an experienced local architect is that if you're doing permitting, they will have the skillset to prepare the drawings & help get them approved. it may not matter in your case, but where I live it seems to cost $500-1000+ in city permits to do anything as simple as swapping out a window, and the rework to get the drawings approved by the city inspectors will cost a lot of money if the designer doesn't know what he or she is doing.

This post was edited by calumin on Tue, Jun 18, 13 at 23:32


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Why would a kitchen makeover require an architect? That's complete overkill. All the op needs is a decent kitchen & bath guy to sketch up a couple of ideas. I mean, it's cabinetry, not astrophysics.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Why don't you post it here and get feedback on it?


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

It could be an architect or a kitchen designer, depending on scope.

But I think the OP had someone sketch up a couple of ideas, and it led to some bad designs which led him or her to post here.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Well, a lot of us get a bunch of help and feedback here. Msmagoo, look through the threads here - if you're like most who land here originally, you mostly know that you want a new kitchen and you want it to be functional. You'll get a lot of great help on the functional (and aesthetics also) here. The kitchen that I'll wind up with is radically different than the one I would have put in when I started.

It's important to know what you don't like about the kitchen layout you were shown. And convey that.

If you can, put the drawing up here along with information on how your kitchen works (1 or 2 cooks, etc.) and there are several of us who can help you with some suggestions on your layout.

Do you need an architect? Probably not for a kitchen remodel. And often architects look at it in terms of aesthetics rather than kitchen function. Many kitchen designers seem to get into a rut and in my experience, a surprising number of them don't really cook or bake, so they don't have a feel for what might work best for a kitchen. Many know the basics and work off of the "work triangle", which may or may not really be appropriate. Here we talk more about zones and how things get completed in the kitchen.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Measure your walls/location of windows and entry points...buy a pad of graph paper and start with one sq equals a foot and remember stock cabs come in 3 in increments-just start putting things in how you might do it on your own....designers can work off that kind of a start you provide.....and it is helpful as you see where "pinchpoints, deadzones "and other issues will be in your space....there are many "solutions" these days altho you don't exactly say what is bothering you about her plan.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

msmagoo, start with a list of what you don't like about your current kitchen, and what you hope to get out of a remodel. You've lived in the house a while, so you have a feel for what works and what doesn't. For example, my kitchen was small with a lot of wasted space. My overall goals were to improve the storage and work surfaces, and eliminate clutter by providing places for things that were on the counters (like cell phone chargers).

I sketched out plans off and on for years, and went through lots of different layouts, before I finally hit on an idea that pulled the whole thing together. Then it was a matter of tweaking the layout for specific things - like cookie sheet storage, and drawers.

I think if you post your existing layout (with dimensions), and tell us what you don't like about that, the kind and knowledgeable folks here can help you solidify your ideas for the next round with a KD.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Don't pay anyone anything yet. :)

Kitchen design (like most design) must be a tricky business. The designers don't want to work for free yet the homeowners don't want to pay someone with whom they aren't compatible.

So before contracting, first be sure the KD can provide a cabinet line you like (if they're affiliated with a cabinet shop).
THEN plop down your own personal preliminary design and ask for a design based on THAT. If that goes smoothly, then it might be someone you can work with.

Like the others said, post what you've got so far here, note what you'd like to do, what walls you want out (knowing the builder personally will be helpful!), what the designer gave you and what stinks about it, etc.

Do some sketches of your own (IKEA's free software isn't horrible and even if you don't use IKEA cabinets, it's good for visualizing) and post 'em.

I find that designers do a better job of designing the kitchen that you want if you tell them exactly what you want (or what you think you want). They're welcome to throw out crazy ideas you hadn't thought of before (and people on this forum will do that) but you're more likely to not hate what they give you if you tell them what to give you.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

We were in the same boat 2 years ago. We talked to several different kitchen design firms and received plans and estimates. They were all disappointing; either really not much of a modification, too expensive, one couldn't even come up with a plan much past what we currently had. We finally scrapped the whole idea for the time being. We found that even though we wanted to knock down the wall between the kitchen and DR and incorporate our Family room into the kitchen the KDs couldn't get past "the kitchen" and the constraints of the doorways and traffic patterns. It was so disappointing.

Last year I decided we should try again, but take a different approach. We contacted an interior /space design group. They talked with us about what we really wished our house had in it. They came up with a plan that was far beyond anything would could have come up on our own. We paid them for their time and the plans, so we were not limited to using a specific KD shop, cabinets, etc. We had our own contractor do the work, using their plans.

It was something we hadn't considered (partially because we wanted to save money on the design). But we benefited from that year of bad designs because it gave us time to put a greater focus on what we really wanted our living space to become.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

We're not mind readers! :) Most homeowners want nothing more than a replacement like for like with very little creativity. We get tired of getting shot down constantly for giving them something different, so, we usually start with something pretty basic as a "freebie". Unless the customer has made it pretty clear that they are looking for something completely different. And, sometimes, architecture rules the space and you can't do anything very different unless you really up the budget to recreate the space quite a bit. That's also usually pretty resisted until the customer figures out that they aren't going to get that 54" mantle hood on a 60" wall and storage for their cornflakes without doing that bumpout.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

"a really good architect ... would instead ask directed questions to help them design something based on your preferences."

I agree that whoever you hire, their approach is very important. Hiring someone who doesn't gather the appropriate information up front, communicate and work with you about your wants and needs prior to designing something is not following a professional approach to design and is wasting everyone's time and money. Sounds like they are either inexperienced or in a hurry to simply pump customers in and out with as little effort on their part as possible.

They should be guiding you, the layperson, through the design process, not vice versa. You can start the ball rolling yourself, however, as mentioned, by doing your homework first, analyzing your current kitchen, providing them with what works, doesn't work, needs & wants, likes, dislikes, goals, anything you have picked out already, inspiration pictures, etc. But your being prepared for discussion doesn't mean they should not be directing and organizing the process, asking purposeful and probing questions to establish the requirements, and bringing their own expertise to the table. After all, how can you meet a customer/project's requirements and expectations without knowing what they are. They likely aren't too sure either. But it should be fairly clear before designing and development takes place. From that point, a reiterative process takes place as the design evolves through communication.

I don't really think you will fare much better at a big box, though, in terms of finding a really good, careful and experienced "designer". You've got your feet wet now. I would start your project by researching KD's first, along with educating yourself on the design process.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Wed, Jun 19, 13 at 23:07


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

I agree with most everything on this thread. But I wanted to point out to the OP that, as someone who says she's "new to this and horrible at visualizing" -- there are people who are fine with that and who won't throw "we're not mind-readers" back at you, forcing you to become an expert at something you're not.

By all means, do your own research. But you don't have to get to the point where you know exactly what you want. GardenWeb is great for people who want to do that and you should leverage it -- but there are experienced KD's and architects whom you pay not just to do a layout, but to build an aesthetic and functional design from nothing more than whatever you say your preferences are. And then they work with you at whatever level you feel comfortable with at refining the design. Of course, you will have to pay for that level of creative skill and need to find someone who you think you'd trust. That won't come from a big box store.

In the end you'd have to decide whether you think is worth paying for. I think you'll justifiably get a bias on this forum from people who lean towards do-it-yourself, and this forum will help you a lot if you decide to go down that path.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

post your current kitchen LO here along with all measurements and a list of what you don't like about it and list of what you know that you do want. how many cooks? got kids?

you can print off graph paper from the internet. free.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

"How much will she modify the plans if I contract with her .."
Varies by designer, might just ask her.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

I tried to post what she emailed me, but it was rejected because it is a pdf file. I will try to post tomorrow. I posted my current kitchen awhile back and Buele and others came up with some cool ideas. Good thing is, although I did not specify a $$ budget, I had a number in my head and she was very close to that. Also, we live in a ranch style home in rural area, so I my options are somewhat limited, in don't have soaring ceilings, etc, but I do want an updated classic kitchen. We also plan to sell in a few years and I think the updated kitchen will only help.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

msmagoo, i agree with others that you should post your plan here and ask for feedback. these folks are very helpful. that said, you need to feel comfortable with your designer and i too would be reluctant to part with any money without feeling fairly certain that the KD would re-work the design until you are absolutely happy with it. i agree with chickgeek that stepping back and taking some extra time might also help you refine your vision.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Maybe add a link to your existing kitchen since you mentioned you posted it in the past?
Do you have a file of kitchens you like when looking through magazines or online sites?
Even as simple as google image 'classic kitchen design'.

When i scroll through images, i find something wrong with every one...
We all have an idea what works for us individually. If you plan on selling in the near future you may just want to do a minor update rather than full gut renovation.

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen ideas


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

attempting to post...it may be 3 separate posts


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Currently my stove is to the right of the door. I will post actual pictures and plans.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

And, where do those doors go? It looks like she put your stove RIGHT in the path! AND, the fridge is on the wrong side of everything... I wouldn't like that either.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

There are a couple of issues with doing anything different. First of all, your electrical and plumbing would have to be changed. Are you willing to incur that expense? Would you be willing to move the window? Any of the doors? How malleable is the infrastructure, and how much are you willing to spend on changing it if it would result in a better layout? Without that information, all anyone can do is pretty much give you what already exists, but in a more up to date color.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Hard for me to see but it looks like a rather poor layout which I would not like either. Do you have a floor plan, including existing? Where is the traffic pattern for the room?

I see lower cabinets, not useful drawers.

Are you doing bright white appliances? I think ss, black or bisque would look better, as far as color goes. Black and a lot of the SS are upkeep nightmares.

This post was edited by snookums2 on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 1:02


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

there is a door to left of 2 wall runs....where do they lead? the wall spaces avail are really tight and the bay window is tough.This is why many people remove a door/create an open plan with family room or whatever suitable living space, and do an island style kitchen that unites and makes a bigger space with flow. Unless you change the bay window to a casement set up that rests higher up for counter below it, or take one of the doorways to the adjacent space and look at what is available a little differently, there are just "tweaks" available. Try the fridge or range on the run across from peninsula.....2 appliances on traffic path should be avoided.....one appliance there may have to be.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Ms Magoo, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. If you want free design help, you will probably get the kind of quality attention that's free. There's a lot of good advice here about how you should manage this challenge, but one thing that no one has mentioned yet is for you to figure out what looks you like.

The best way to do this, IMO, is to go to a magazine stand and buy a bunch of home design magazines. Big box home improvement stores usually have a rack of these. Bring them home and sit down with your DH. Each of you should separately go through the magazines and mark the pages you like. Then you should go over each other's selections and talk about what you like and why. This process might take several hours. You can also cruise websites like HOUZZ for pictures of kitchens. Prepare to print out a lot of images.

Think about little things in the kitchens you like. I know it might be hard for you to visualize things, but this is an opportunity to really explore what pleases you and try to put words around that so you can communicate effectively with your designer and contractor.

After you can agree on what you both like, cut out the pictures and put them in a folder to bring back to a designer you choose. If you don't know anyone, ask your friends who have done home improvement projects who they recommend. Pay the designer for an hour or two of his/her time, and sit for that hour to talk about what you like, what you currently have and how you can get what you want in the house.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

That last is really good advice, MsMagoo. Once you firm up and narrow down your ideas of what you really like, you'll be most of the way there.

BTW, your current design may be in millions of homes built in that era, but IMO separating the sink and large areas of counter across a traffic artery from the actual cooking center is extremely dysfunctional. Did none of those developers ever consult their little ladies? In any case, you can do so much better.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Part of the current kitchen, yuk


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

BTW, I wanted to add that we had a kitchen layout where the work space was bisected by a walkway to the back door. All of our kitchen appliances except the dishwasher were located on a long wall opposite a U-shaped area like yours. When we remodeled, one of our primary goals was to get the refrigerator out of the walkway.

It turned out that with our long and narrow ranch-house kitchen we could not get all of the appliances out of the walkway. We played for a long time with whether we wanted the fridge or the cooktop up near the doorway, like you have in your picture. The other one would have to be on the long wall.

We ended up with our cooktop on the short wall and our fridge on the long wall. We changed the kitchen layout from a U to an L with an island, so now at least there are two ways to walk to the back door. We still have jam-ups at the fridge sometimes, but overall I am pleased with our choice. We wanted the fridge closer to the eating and living areas of the house, not at the end of the kitchen.

Hope that makes sense. In order to get the island into our narrow kitchen we stole about a foot from the rest of the house to widen our floorplan.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Thanks Karen,
Our fridge is in the walkway now. I just want to open up the room between kitchen and LR for better flow. I thought going to someone with interior design experience would be better that anything I would come up with. Do you have pictures perhaps? I am getting so frustrated.
See where the fridge is..we have never had any issues with it being there really. That little walkway between the fridge and other cabinet unit is the way to the LR. I want a nice open area.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

HI Msmagoo: Wow, the layout of your stove/sink area is almost identical to what was in our kitchen, except our fridge was next to the dishwasher and there was nothing on the wall opposite the sink except the entry into the dining room. Our doorway to the garage was right next to the stove. A real pain for sure.

I see there is an entry door-is that your front door? Could you close off the doorway next to the stove so you have more wall space there (for counters/appliance etc.) and then open up the wall where the cabinet/desk is? That would redirect traffic flow and open up space to LR.

What is currently next to the DW? Is it already a peninsula or just open space? Do you currently have a bay window? We changed our windows/doors (actually took out a french door to deck and replaced with single door...gave us alot more wall space for lower/upper cabs. We also install a window 3 times the size of our single double hung over the sink and moved the sink down because we had more space after that double door was gone. By changing the windows and doorway you may have more flexibility in your floor plan. I was surprised that the cost of doing this was not totally crazy and it made a big difference.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

There is a fireplace on the other wall in the living room. I guess we could move the doorway over slightly, but would that mess up that wall? I will post the rest of the room for reference. The entry door you see is the back door from the garage into the mudroom. My word..I am starting to think it would be easier to build a whole new house!


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Why don't you post it here and get feedback on it?


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Plans, trying to upload


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Hopefully this will work, I want to open up the 2 rooms

Here is a link that might be useful: Plans

This post was edited by msmagoo on Mon, Jun 24, 13 at 20:23


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Just an idea....could you change the U-shape to a galley kitchen?

Closing the door by the fridge and making that wall fridge/pantry is a good idea. Maybe add a snack center with microwave?

If you change the U-shape to two parallel counters, you could have the range on one wall (where it is now) but center it with more counter and cabinet space.

Take out the cabinets under the window and move the sink/dishwasher to where you have the peninsula. Maybe move the peninsula back a few feet to make more room for the stools...

From Cottage house plans


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

If Buehl worked on your layout then you have had the best. She's way better than most professionals

And Live Wire Oak is a professional kitchen designer, which fact rebuts a statement that gardenwebbers are primarily for diy-ers.

Seems like folks here have already worked on your kitchen. Take a serious look at what Buehl already said, and any other input you've received.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

MsMagoo, what's to the left of your living room? Any chance that the "kitchen" door to the living room could be moved "left" on the diagram off the kitchen wall altogether and come in on the end wall of the living room?

I'm wondering about better use of the space your kitchen does have. If this musing were possible at all, it would involve converting part of what's labeled mud room" into nicely finished area; but since the real family entry to most homes is from the garage, it just makes sense that it be a nice one. We don't put our washer/dryer and pet food in the foyer, after all. (I'm flashing back to my sister's old mud room here. :)

If that's not possible, could the kitchen door to the mud room be moved down to the corner by the living room wall to lengthen the current "stove" wall?

How does traffic flow into your house? Do you tend to move lengthwise along the kitchen or hang a right into the living room?

How about furniture arrangement in the living room? It's a very long room. If you could put it anywhere to make the living room its best, where would the door to the kitchen/breakfast area be? Would you want a little more openness at one place or another or do you like it as it is?

I'm obviously rambling a bit here, but it all comes down to wondering if there might be a better position for that transition from kitchen to living room that would benefit all spaces. ?

BTW, you really need to draw your floor plan to scale. Having it goofy will only confuse and keep you from really seeing your various options.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

You've said you want to take the wall down and do something "different" It's been asked several times and you've yet to answer if you have the budget to do this. The typical kitchen remodel in the US is 50K. Add on 10K for moving all of the electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and adding a beam. More, if you want a flush beam. And you still have to address the discrepancy between the flooring materials in the two spaces that will need to be unified. Add in another 7-10K for all new floors for the whole now open space. Take maybe 20-30% off if you DIY the labor.

Plus, you will need to have either an architect or structural engineer sign off on the plans for the permits. Doing changes like that isn't within the realm of a KD. They can suggest those things, but they can't legally create structural design documents for permitting for that.

Are you up for all of that?


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

I don't know if you mentioned the peninsula or not but i believe removing it would yield a better space, especially since you have a kitchen table adjacent to it. We removed our peninsula in a similar size kitchen and it made a huge difference. The pantry could be moved to the right of the sink and make a microwave cabinent adjacent to the fridge. This is a similar layout to what I just built.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Do you have a separate dining room or is the breakfast nook your only dining space? What would you think about putting in banquette seating in your nook? It would allow you to then borrow dining space from the nook to enlarge your kitchen. I've seen several kitchens similar to yours in my neighborhood that have been remodeled. The ones that I like the best bump out the kitchen about 3' which then allows for an island to be put in which can act as a barrier to route traffic flow away from your main cook/prep zones. Doing that and adding more windows would be the best solution, but as hollysprings mentioned above will cost significantly more and require use of someone to draw up plans and most likely a GC to coordinate the project. The wall between kitchen and LR may or may not be a load bearing wall; knowing that will significantly affect the scope of your project.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Ms. Magoo, here are some pics that may help you see what we did. In this album are three photos of our old kitchen (lighting is poor because the house was without power) and the floorplan that we ended up selecting.

You can see in the pics of the old space how the U was made. What's not shown here is the old refrigerator, which was in the gap there right before the door to the old mudroom/pantry. Having someone at the fridge meant that you couldn't get to the pantry or out the back door and it got frustrating during the breakfast rush.

The new space works really well. The pocket door at the bottom of the floorplan goes to our dining room. The dining room in the old set-up was further to the right, and so we not only widened the kitchen we also relocated this door so we could get a more functional flow.

Here is a link that might be useful: karen_belle's old kitchen & new floorplan

This post was edited by karen_belle on Tue, Jun 25, 13 at 18:56


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Rosie,
The left of the living room is the garage, we could move the door going into the kitchen to the left some but not a lot. There is a fireplace at the far wall of the LR. As far as the traffic flow now, everyone just hangs a right into the living room. I really want more openness so that when people are over, the two rooms have more flow.
I have been working really long hours, so that is why my responses have been slow. Our budget is around $25,000, we already have new appliances.
The picture posted is the living room wall, I would like to open this area. I hadn't thought about getting rid of the peninsula,


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

My DH wants to just open the 2 areas up and then figure out what we want to do. He built our house, he says it would not be a big deal if we wanted to put part of the wall back.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

25K is a small budget to approach a remodel like this, even with DIY involvement. Even though your husband built the home, he's not an engineer. The absolute first step that you should take would be to call in a structural engineer to calculate the loads that that wall support, and to design a proper size beam and foundational points to support that load.

After that is done, then you need to assess the electrical components on that wall and where you can relocate the switches for instance. You will need attic access to do several junction boxes up there to keep the runs intact. A lot of that can be DIY, but it's going to be hot awful attic crawling around.

Next is the HVAC. Any ductwork up there will have to be moved, and the system rebalanced for both supply and delivery. While moving the stuff can also be a DIY job, you need to have a HVAC expert determine if removing or relocating the runs will compromise the temperature control of the now open space. Open spaces are more difficult to heat and cool, and the locations and sizes of the vents are different than for closed spaces.

Then there is the flooring between the two rooms. I see carpet and vinyl. Are you planning to unify the space with one type of flooring? You will have to do something as the transition space between the two where the wall was located will now be without flooring and need to be covered. One or both of the floor coverings will have to be replaced, even if it's just a temporary patch of the now exposed former wall space and you wait until later to replace both rooms flooring with the same type.

You've already spent 5-10K and haven't even gotten to the actual kitchen reno.

That leaves 15-20K for a kitchen reno. Part of that will need to go towards updating the electrical as the codes for that have changed and you will need to bring it up to date.

It's doable with DIY and a lot of time to chip away. Look at Aristokraft or Shenendoah or American Woodmark cabinets. You can get those under 10K for the space if you don't go crazy with add ons like glass, tall cabinets, or gobs of inserts.

What's NOT doable is the "destruction without a plan in place". Not unless you want to be living in the middle of construction for the next year! It pays big dividends to get the experts you need involved early, and to develop that plan. So, make an appointment with a structural engineer and find out about that beam!


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

The most disappointing threads here are the ones where people post that demo has already begun and they need help figuring out how to put it back (or they've been living with it torn up for months now, etc.), cabinets been ordered (even being delivered tomorrow), etc. Unnecessary work and limited options never help -- the project or the budget, and you will tire of the mess even if you know exactly what you are going to do and it goes smoothly.

A strong second to the don't start demo until you have a plan. Addendum to that for those who didn't built their house would be to do small pokes, hidden holes and do what you can to verify things like open spaces, what's behind a wall, joist direction, etc. to minimize the surprises when demo begins.


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RE: Got prelim design & don't like it

Are you planning to keep your existing cabinets? It's good that you have your appliances already, but you can save a lot of money if you don't need new cabinets. I think it would be hard to do a remodel for $25K with new cabinets and the changes you're talking about.

There's a big piece of information we don't have -- whether or not the wall you want to remove is load-bearing. I would suggest reaching out to an architect to come to your house and do a bid. You don't have to use him, but it would be the easiest way to get a preliminary professional view for free regarding the cost of removing the wall. You could hire a structural engineer (and you may need to at some point no matter what), but a directional "yes" or "no" on this point will help you budget. A lot of times you don't need a structural engineer to determine whether a wall is load-bearing. If they can just take out the wall then it will help you meet budget.

If you focus your budget on the structural and related issues in taking out the wall (structural, electrical, flooring, paint) then it will help given your budget. You may be able to add other nice-to-haves over time as additional budget allows.


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