I liked all the advise you gentlemen gave Marline. You have her interests at heart. However, there is no substitute for a pro at her right hand. Sure, budgets are an issue. But, if design is not, hire a structural engineer. Not that they do not have an eye for beauty, but they are schooled in materials and methods and can give a very welcome hand "and" provide the necessary drawings for the City Building Officials. A good builder, and I mean good, will know how to deal with the local environment. Some of the best and architecturally pleasing projects I have been involved with were totally administered by the builder. As an architect, I have been there for clients when they did not need me. I believe this is one of those projects where "others" can look out for her best interests, make sure she is safe, and keep prices down by not allowing mistakes.