I would trust a .357 magnum so much more than a .38 special for home defense. I think .357 magnum is the best compromise for the knock down power it has and how much recoil is taken by the shooter. I think that it seems like you have enough handgun experience that you won't have a problem with the recoil of the .357, its stout but nothing you can't handle.
After that woman from my state shot that guy in the face and neck 5 times with a .38 special and he survived, I just don't trust it to take down a threat efficiently. If she had put one .357 hollow point into his head it would have been lights out.
It is common practice with .357 magnums to shoot .38 special at the range because its cheaper to shoot, the recoil is softer, and more practice is always a good thing. If you get a .357 magnum, and you plan to keep it loaded with .357 magnum be sure to practice with it too.