Good ideas on the vintage Denver episode, juliet73! Yes, I believe the open shelving above the sink is totally impractical and merely a dust catcher.
No big deal but they found an existing gas line later in the episode. Uh, I wouldn't open that wall protrusion! It's probably holding something, e.g. the stack ??? Open it up and you must deal with whatever issue arises. You break it, you bought it!
Hated the flooring, too. Perhaps they should have used flooring consistent with the home's existing flooring and threaded it in. More $$$ but anything to make the home feel larger. To that end, yes, they needed consistent colors.
Good idea for the 2 tier countertop. Instead of moving the plumbing (more $$$), they could have left the sink on the other side and made it a large, 1 level, work island.
Instead of buying the giant frig, why not go with a slightly smaller version, building it in the same general area with a few narrow pantry cabinets? That way, they'd have a counter above the d/w for clean-up.
I believe that place had 3 doorways and 2 windows. Given the added d/r light, they could close up the window to the left of the stove (or reduce its size) and build the counter around that corner. The sink could possibly go there, under a smaller window, using the existing plumbing.
This house (1,476 s.f., pm me for the listing) was too small (my opinion) for a formal dining room. I'd remove the entry-way door* but use that doorway to access a round / bar table in that area for dining. It'd be close to the dw and could be utilized during the day as an entry table.
Then, the d/r plus l/r becomes a great room. Possibly the interior doorway between those rooms could be widened. * During the holidays or staged to sell, it could easily be set-up as a d/r, if necessary.
In the early 20th century, that entryway would have been considered and used as an add'l room.
Not sure the b/r layout change was worth the add'l cost. And, yes, hated that two-tone!
65K wouldn't be enough for that home! (Doesn't surprise me b/c they did a kitchen and bath plus add'l work and would have been charged city labor rates.) They did indicate they'd "touched every room". Not sure if it was included in the 65K but the listing confirms they painted the exterior before HHR filmed. Guess they ignored the no alternations before filming HH rule.
*ETA - the door and any wood or the wood frame could be repurposed elsewhere in the home.