We bought a house and remodelled it extensively. The new kitchen and bathrooms were the biggest part of the work but we also repainted, added new lighting, new hardware, and generally changed the place around. It was expensive and took a lot of time and energy but the result is great. We're very happy with our home.
We worked with a designer for about a year, Randall Koll Lifestyle & Design. And while the resulting design is mostly good some of the things he did caused a major project management and payment mess. I wouldn't work with him again. The main life lesson I learned doing this house project is to always be in control of the money and top level contractor relationships. No matter how much you like your architect or designer a lot of things can go wrong. But if you always know who's doing the work, who you're paying, and how much things cost then you can retain control.