The time has come to start making some real decisions.  We've finally gotten some bid numbers back from the contractors, and for all of you who warned me... you were right.  More time, more money.  Ugh.  But, as promised, I'll be sharing all of our battles here because I want you to know how we go about making the decisions were making - even the ones that aren't so fun.

We are sticking to our guns, though, we didn't set out for this project to overspend, overdo and break ourselves, we are doing this to make our family life better, to make the time we spend at home more enjoyable, easier and more beautiful.  It is our goal to remember that with every decision we make.  (And writing it here is going to keep me in check... I hope!)

I truly believe that your home should be your safe place, a place that comforts you and brings you peace.  There is so much to battle out there in the world, and I want my family to feel love when they walk in here - whether that means a giant comfy sofa, a fluffy bed, wood burning fire or a something delicious from the kitchen.  We do our best to keep our home a positive place, where defenses are down, judgement is forgotten and love rules all - not that kitchen cabinets and upholstery can do that alone... but maybe it helps set the stage.  I do, however, think a really good soaking tub can do that.  I'm serious.  Top of the list.  As I've reminded my contractor ; )  Bathroom details later this month.

So, back to the decisions at hand.  By the way, this post might actually turn into the most contradictory post ever, as I'll be debating cabinetry for our kitchen.  For those of you that want to hit me over the head - yes, I know this is a huge privilege to begin with.  I get to pick out a kitchen, from scratch.  A complete and utter dream come true.  Don't worry, the privilege and the blessing is not lost on me.  I'm loving every minute of the planning - and not afraid being creative.  And realistic.

Here we are, back at the first floor plans.  When we got the initial bid back, I got out my red pen.  Where would I be willing to cut?  I'm always up for creative solutions (but finding a contractor that is up to the same creative thinking has been more of a challenge... It is interesting how their solution is always to start cutting square footage).  Because I am a realistic person, I compromised.  I didn't cut out the mudroom (as recommended), but instead brought the entire back of the addition in 2ft, which adds up to 180sqft from the upstairs and downstairs - a real savings.

Shockingly, we actually like this much better.  It brings the baking counter (the counter under the windows facing the backyard) closer to the rest of the kitchen - something many of you suggested.  We also decided not to pour the basement underneath the new addition - just a crawlspace.  We have a basement now that is currently unfinished, so we'll just be finishing that space instead.  I know, it would've been nice, but we're keeping it real here.

Also, by not needing the new basement stairs, I gained a lot more space in the mudroom.  So, the powder room is now going in there (away from the dining room area - another thing many of you mentioned).  This also gives us more room for the dining area, and we gain a closet.  It does make the library a little smaller, but smaller equals "cozy" in my book.

Now onto the big decision at hand.  The kitchen cabinets.  To be fair, we haven't actually gotten the bid for our cabinets back yet.  I'm just preparing myself.  As it turns out, every kitchen photo that I happened to pin features inset cabinetry, which happens to be one of the most expensive kind.  Ugh.  Of course it is.  As Mike would point out, this is usually the case - like when our contractor suggested we do some carpet instead of wood in some areas to save money, and I said, how about wool berber?  To which he then replied that the price just went from $12 to $25/sqft.  You get the point.  

This is where I need your input.  On one hand, I know that we want to "do it right," but as I said before, I don't want our decisions to burden us later with huge overages and strapped budgets.  But, we want to do it right... right?  What do you think?  What would you do for your own kitchen?

Here are some "creative" solutions I've come up with :

- Cut the hutch by the fridge.  This would cover the upgrade amount for the inset vs. full overlay on the rest of the cabinetry.  But, we'd be little short on dry food storage in the kitchen - most of it would be in the mudroom.

- Do inset on the uppers, and overlay on the lowers.  (photo example below)

- Cut the hutch by the baking counter - just do open shelving.

Here are some inspiration photos that I keep referring to, for your reference.

My all time favorite.  This is the inspiration for my "Baking Counter/Nook."

This is where I think the inset on the uppers would look great.  Also love the glass-front doors, brass pulls, creamy color, big window...

Inset.  Brass pulls.  Wood tops.  Glass uppers.  Bracket detailing.  Big window.

Inset. Simple and classic. 

Here is a sample of full overlay.  I really think it looks great here.
These are inset uppers and overlay lowers.  A great option to get the look on the upper glass-front doors.
A great example of a Shaker Style full overlay kitchen that looks great.

So, what are your thoughts?  Compromise space or style?

Off to get ready for our neighborhood Easter party - so Springy here, I can hardly stand it!