Thank you to everyone for the thoughts and ideas.
CyFree, I too found those statistics on the Remodeling site. I found them very useful and was glad to see. They had statistics based right down to the county I live in in Massachusetts, so it's worth considering. Of course, the value of everything related to real estate is going down, but it is good to look at the data anyway. The lowest return on investment was about 50% over all the categories listed. So I think the data is worth taking a look at, if only to educate myself.
I am moving forward with the renovations. I have a fantastic contractor/engineer who I trust and who has been very patient with my little peccadilloes while putting our plan together.
Thank you all for your ideas. I appreciate them - all good considerations.