This was supposed to be my new car--a sweet ML500 Mercedes Benz SUV. Not ostentatiously large, but not about to be blown off the road, literally or figuratively. Supposed to be. But things don't always turn out as they're supposed to. Frankly, this one turned out better! The wife said, "our current car's just fine as is. What we really need is a new kitchen." And that's where it started.We kicked around some ideas, fretted, fumed, set a budget ($50K, ha!), decided we were going to need some design advice and consultation. Called a couple of famous local designers to come over and share their thoughts. Both chuckled at the $50K budget, suggesting clearly that we couldn't really get started, let alone finish, for such a paltry sum.Then we discovered Houzz. What a resource! Rich with photographs, crammed with ideas and suggestion, loaded with product reviews and recommendations, and importantly, a comprehensive directory of design professionals. This is where we found ALISON GLEN! The rest is history, as they say. So let's retrace a bit of this historical path.We had our first meeting with ALISON in May 2013. We had seen some of her Spanish Colonial design work on Houzz, so we weren't surprised at her deep interest and knowledge in the area. We were initially a little surprised at her British accent and origin--but that soon enough became commonplace when we engaged on of her recommended contractors, DUNCAN DRUCE, a fellow Brit who used (almost exclusively) British employees and subcontractors. The house sounded like Downton Abbey for 7 months.One of ALISON's major strengths is her vision. She took our 6 room footprint (kitchen, eating area, pantry, laundry, office, and bath) and turned it upside down, inside out, and sideways, questioning the usage, functionality, and layout of every element. No, sorry, can't encroach on the office. Oops, the bathroom has to stay with its plumbing. Uh oh, the pantry has to open here. Fortunately, another of ALISON's strengths is her flexibility and dedication to accommodating her clients. And we were clients with no shortage of ideas of our own. So we heard her line repetitively said with a grin and a twinkle, "It's YOUR kitchen!"Eventually, her vision for the layout involved removing a couple of "win" walls, swapping sides in the laundry, pushing the stove back to enlarge its space, and opening up the eating nook.ALISON's computer-generated renderings were perfect in detail, allowing us to conceptualize the space in all dimensions and serving as a guide and template for our contractor and his subs.ALISON has a background in the cabinet industry, and not surprisingly, this is another of her strong suits. We went with the Brookhaven series, and she helped us discover the incredible complexities of modern kitchen cabinets. We now have every conceivable useful and functional kitchen cabinet feature: a cooking spice drawer next to the oven, an extraordinarily large spice storage cabinet, wine rack, trash/recycling center, a serving platter cabinet, deep pot drawers, pull-outs, overheads, display windows, fitted broom closet, and those amazing self-close, soft-close doors and drawers. Unbelievably, we actually have spare cabinet space for the first time ever! And ALISON's planning for the layout was perfect: everything is in the right place, just where you need it, without wasted motion.Another of ALISON's highly visible contributions was her recommendation for the tile treatment, both the backsplash feature and the beltline trim. There is seemingly an infinite variety of tile choices and ALISON took that vast universe and reduced it to a handful of plausible, gorgeous samples from which we agreed on style, color, and design. Her selections were based on intricate details and a coordinated overall color scheme that pulled together the diverse design elements into a coherent whole.And here is where another of ALISON's virtues became evident--her cost consciousness! She introduced us to Discount Tile Center in West LA with whom she has a relationship. What a great store with friendly and knowledgable staff, and prices that can't be beat. Hand painted tiles in a Moroccan design were not cheap by any means, but they were indeed discounted.Another fabulous resource that ALISON introduced us to was Rejuvenation Lighting in Culver City. They have a huge selection of lighting choices compatible with our design. Very importantly, ALISON passed along her store discount to us, saving a bundle. And saving a bundle ultimately turned out to be very useful--like virtually everyone else, we sort of went over budget. In the end, we could have bought not just one, but a couple of cars...In short, I'm not certain we could have reached our beautiful kitchen remodel goal without ALISON's contributions. We recommend her unequivocally as a trusted advisor on your next design project.