I went ahead and took the plunge. I hired a...glup...interior designer. Her name is Joyce. Joyce has her work cut out for her. I like Joyce a lot. She didn't laugh in my face when I gave her a budget that was clearly from watching too much Design on a Dime. She calmly looked at me and said, you will need to double that number. When I picked myself up off the floor and listened I understood why. This isn't HGTV. Bastards.
We talked for almost 2 hours. She measured and asked a lot of questions. Yesterday I went to her studio to see the plans. I almost cried because it was so beautiful. It was like she crawled into my head and designed something that was warm, inviting and DOG friendly all the way. The colors and textures are warm shades of brown, red, greens, etc. The whole feel is 'earthy' I love it.
As things start coming in I will post before and after pictures. Hee, hee. SO excited.