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If the Contractor says the post is needed, there's a good chance that it's needed. Your only other options is to hire a Structural Engineer or better yet, an Architect who has access to such 'resources' AND can help with the design. It's what they do for a living and in many, MANY cases, it's $$$ well spent. (I don't think you've 'renovated' too many homes to know what your options are and what the Codes are and so on.) Trust your instincts. Spend some $$$ and hire a Pro that's an expert in the area in question.
At the same time, there are some very strong beams that are made these days that span quite a distance. Again, this is where the SE and Arch. come into play. Besides, they may have some interesting ideas to 'play' around with a post and beam. Oh, to answer your question, the aforementioned Pros can, most likely, have a sketch drawn (using a CAD computer program) showing you some 'ideas'.) Of course, it will cost you BUT it's $$$ well spent. It's a WHOLE heck-of-a-lot cheaper now, than later.
My best to ya and hope this helps.
Jay J -Moderator
PS: God Bless America!