Turns out the chimney won't work in the location we originally planned for it -- there's no way to route the flue other than smack in front of the second-floor dormer, which is 1) asthetically crap and 2) illegal, since the dormer framing contains flammable elements. So, we are talking about going back to our original plan of a small wood-burning stove. We abandoned that idea because it was first gong to be located in a corridor that was far too close to a foot traffic lane -- I had horrific visions of a kid or a guest carelessly bumping into a white-hot stove -- but now, Todd points out that the kitchen-side corner of the family room is an ideal location: simple to punch a hole in the riser for a flue, out of the traffic pattern, and not directly underneath a second-floor dormer. Visions of a cozy little nook with a small box stove, a basket of kindling, and a rocking chair are filling my head. Plus, a wood stove can still be used for heating & cooking when the power goes out, as I think is going to be inevitable in late winter when the ice storms hit.
Mike points out that wood stoves can be so efficient that my little fantasy of a rocking chair next to the stove may be laughable. He grew up in a house with a wood stove that would actually drive people out of the room, it got so hot. He also remembers a Portland silver thaw (ice storm) that knocked the power out for three weeks when he was about ten. His family was the only one with hot food for blocks around. :)