It is a sad statement of our business these days that most contractors do not want to do anything complicated or which requires fabrication. It is best to avoid those types which is easy as they will keep trying to get you to do it their way instead of your way. This is your home and it should be done the way you want it! If there are any changes recommended by the contractor they should relate only to the structural aspects such as having adequate support or working with the plaster walls.
You can be your own designer here and do just as well as pro but you need product knowledge to do that. You also need to know the techniques needed to deal with odd situations such as cabinets and shelves projecting into doorways. The web has tons of pics of how others do this so browse around and get ideas. Old houses were largely constructed on site so the carpenters built to the space whereas today the space is built to standard dimensions of pre-made cabinets, shelves, appliances etc. Not many of us want to take on the custom work involved when easier money can be made elsewhere but we are out there if you look hard enough for us. We will give you what you want and we love these old houses and know how to handle the non-standard stuff.
This is your home and you're going to have to live with your choices for years so make them well and make them the way you want things to be- otherwise you'll end up hating yourself or changing things later on. Accept no less.
Thank you, Phil. I love what you wrote. It gives me the encouragement to look harder for someone who wants to work with us to help make the kitchen we want. I didn't think simple shelving could be so difficult.