I feel like we are moving so slowly on this reno, but so many people I've talked to seem to think the opposite. One friend who has just recently completed a year long reno said that it took her about a year to do all the planning -- before they even lifted a hammer! Anyway, we have done quite a bit of surface demo on the first floor and basement. Without the permit, that is all we can really do but we wanted to move things along and Gigi wanted to see what was behind the walls and ceilings. After a few discussions with architects and with two architectural technicians, we have decided to go with the latter since I have already done the space design myself and have a good idea of what I want. The fee difference is about $30-40,000 compared to $3-4,000. This is the main reason for our decision! The designer we are going with is also a structural engineer and he will design the beams and supports for us as well as do all the permit drawings. We're all pretty happy with this direction now.