Really, what happened, is that we came to an agreement with a new contractor, Trent Steffen of Pallet and Palette, to assist us on the project. He's an interior designer and general contractor, with impeccable taste.
(Note: I'm still doing most of the work, but I've come to realize that I need to speed things up; and the place where this would make the greatest difference is in rough framing. One inexperienced guy working alone, means I would probably spend two or three months framing.)
So, leading up to this point, the Future Missus and I have been talking a lot about the look and interior design. The future Missus knows what she wants, but in a few instances (kitchen, master bath, paint colors, lighting), she knows that she'll need some help getting from ideas to reality.
In particular, the kitchen was mostly a lot of ideas; but when she looked at cabinets, the prices got overwhelming fast (think $150-$250 a foot). If you look back to our kitchen plans you can see that we have a pretty substantial U-shaped kitchen with an island. That's a lot of feet. And the only option we seemed able to afford were $60/ft plain oak cabinets from Home Depot. They would require a lot of work (putting in glass fronts ourselves, paint) to look decent. She felt pretty stymied.
Enter Trent in his black leather duster, driving his black Cadillac.
We asked to meet with Trent and get his advice on the kitchen. The Future Missus and Trent had a meeting of the minds, and chose colors for the kitchen. He suggested IKEA cabinets. He said they were great quality for the price. The Future Missus's only concern was that she wanted cream colored cabinets, and IKEA only has white. But Trent showed her how you can warm up white a lot with the right lighting and she was sold.
So off they went to IKEA to plan the kitchen. It was a 3 hour job, and she said at about 10 minutes in she realized that had she been on her own, trying to put this together, she would have been in tears. You see, IKEA has this software to build your kitchen (which doesn't work on Macs btw, and is a general pain in the ass to use online anyway). In the store it works pretty well, and you can save your design for later. And of course, when you are ready to buy, it makes it easy to give the design to an IKEA kitchen employee to make your master buy list.
So they picked out the cabinet faces and got started. This white cabinet in the middle (Lidingo) will be the perimeter cabinets.
And this walnut color (Liljestad) will be for the island.
And here's the layout they put together in a few hours! I'm stoked, I really like it.