You will need a general contractor and an interior designer to have the best design possible.
Why you need a contractor.
1) The contractor will pull your permits
2) He or she will know what you can and can not do structurally and according to code
3) He or she will schedule the workers and use subcontractors who are skillful and reliable.
A note here. Things will never take place according to the schedule, you CAN count on that. Try not to think of it as a time line in which events take place but an order in which they ‘sometimes’ happen.
Why you need a designer
1) A designer looks at the big picture. How are all these pieces that you are choosing going to look together? What style and mood are you trying to create? A contractor will most likely give you a blank stare when you tell him you want “country french” or “metro” style.
2) Designers look at the small details.
It does matter how much storage space there is and it matters what type of hardware you put on the cabinets, details make the room.
3) A designer can come up with alternatives when what you really wanted is not possible in your budget.
4) Designers come with their own trusted contractors.
5) It is beneficial to you to hire a designer that is not affiliated with the contractor. If the designer is hired by you they will be a watchdog for you if they see work being done that isn’t up to snuff.
With both the contractor and the designer you will have someone to help you figure out the cost of the project and help walk you through it.