Firstly, a little introduction about my web experience. My largest outside-work project is Magic Hat. It is a site for magicians to learn magic, with over 50 thousand users. I started it in 2004, and since then have gradually (or not so gradually) being changing it. We’re now at the 8th major redesign. It started as a good way to learn PHP/MySQL/HTML, so I didn’t touch any content management systems, and wrote the entire first 3 versions with linux’s best text editor, vim! I then treated myself to using Eclipse, which saves a lot of work – Ctrl + Space and your website’s done (I wish!). Then I chucked in a phpBB forum, modified it and my site so that they’re nicely integrated. Finally, I changed to using smarty templates, which has made changing the look of the site in the last few versions significantly easier – would highly recommend it.
So, you’ve probably gathered that I’ll happily reinvent the wheel many times over, but hopefully for a good result. Magic Hat is very dynamic and has lots of complicated features that I don’t think would have been feasible to get working in something like WordPress without having to learn and change most of WP.