In the article Value of Kitchens & Baths Tied to Social Meaning, Study Says [KBDN] :
While everyone knows that a new kitchen or bath increases the value of the home, today’s consumers aren’t just remodeling to improve resale. Nor are they investing in these spaces purely to improve aesthetics or even functionality.
Rather, consumers today are finding increased social meaning and value in the kitchen and bath, and choosing to remodel for reasons that are as much emotional as physical.
The remodeling sector remains active  even as the housing market cools. Perhaps the idea that potential buyers may opt to improve what they have rather than upgrade through a new home sale is taking hold.
The study showed that the two most expensive areas in a house to renovate have distinctive social values which impacts design:
Kitchens are command central. Who runs the kitchen controls the house.
Bathrooms are just the opposite – they are about retreat and sanctuary.
The study was completed by Applied Research & Consulting (ARC), a New York-based research firm. Its tough to call this report objective but its still interesting.