I look at it as the box I live in, so Im gonna make it comfortable for my family and I.
That is exactly how I feel! But if you don't have the money, you don't have it. $50k plus is a big chunk o change, especially to be over budget. I'd tell her to redo those plans within the budget you specified - after all, if you're going to pay her, she better do her job. I suspect she may be feeling you out for cash, to see what you really have. I mean, it's definitely in her best interests, and you can't blame her really... every business is out to make money. But she needs a good sit-down and make her understand.
I personally would give her the plans you like and say... "I like this. Now make it work within our budget." Even if it means leaving out the bar - plumb it and add it later. Ask them to install conduit for you but not add the wiring for your fancy stuff. I find that I get stuff cheap if I buy it, but ask a professional to put some wire in the cost jumps like 1000%. Maybe go shopping and provide the stuff they need and have them install it. I was in a fancy lighting store the other day - wall sconce, $180... same wall sconce @ home depot, $35. I ended up going to the deconstruction place, buying a wall sconce from the 80's and repainting it - for $4.
We told her to completely stop working on our project. Hopefully she will get the hint that we just don't have money coming out of our asses. I would tell her to do it over but I don't want to incur one more cent on the design until we have a better handle on everything.
I'm definitely open to doing what you have suggested - put in the plumbing for a master bathroom but maybe not finish it for a few years and use it as a closet in the meantime - same thing with the basement bar, etc. Anything we can do to just get the physical space now. We have plenty of time to make it "nice" over the next 30+ years or however long we stay.
For example, the 20'x25' space on the second floor for the master bathroom and bath seems HUGE. We are going to also add a nice walk-in closet but even after that it still seems like we have a lot of wasted space.
Sorry if this has been addressed, but why not make some of that space a big outdoor terrace with a hot tub?
I don't think there is that much room! Also, I would never use a hot tub and my wife would probably use it less than me. An outdoor terrace is an interesting idea though. I'd probably just need room for a chair and I'd sit out there all the time.
Anyway, we have been doing some saving since November and we are thinking that we are going to explore going forward with everything. The lead time to even start is 9 months (we need a variance) and assuming neither of us lose our jobs, if the build takes another 6-9 months from the starting point we are at the end of 2012 and by that time we will be able to save up the difference... although I am not sure how I feel about spending so much in general but I'm sure I'll love the extra space. We have decided to go with these plans with maybe a few small tweaks (the new rooms are off the back of the house (top of the drawings)):
- convert separate 2 car garage into 1 car garage
- new basement in addition area/excavate existing basement 2-3 ft. to level of new basement
- basement will be completely unfinished other than plumbing (cinderblock/slab)
- Second floor bathroom will be redone to be much smaller than existing
After tax season ends on Monday we will begin getting estimates from various contractors. I'm nervous but excited.