…and dreaming is for free.
At the very beginning of the project there is no need to limit your imagination. Leave the budget conversation for the next phase. This is your only chance to dream without limitations. It’s surprising how many questions that at first appear as “yes or no” choices can be resolved in much a more satisfactory way with little imagination. Actually, it is very rarely that we are facing only-two-fixed-options decisions. Don’t write off red mosaic tiles that you are looking at for months, but can’t afford for your kitchen. Instead of cladding the whole kitchen, you might end up using only 3 square feet of them as an accent above the sink.
And, don’t forget to involve all stakeholders. Stakeholders in this phase are people who will live in the home and use the space. I don’t think there is a way around involving everybody. You might not like what they have to say, you might need to compromise, but if you don’t, it might haunt you for a long time. This is the time when you can afford to do it without other pressures of the project, budget, construction…