the guitarist in my band has followed a very similar path to you aaron; building pedals from schematics on the net and then tweaking them to his own designs. He's built me a couple of great little boxes, a Fuzz that's based on the fuzzface but smoother sounding (imo) and a sonic maximiser clone but with more input and output options. I've not spoken to him in a while but the last couple of things he was working on were a blue driver inspired distortion and a stack-in-a-box clone.
Another friend doesn't so much build pedals, but he mods/glitches a lot of pedals to get some whacky, and some not so whacky, results. infact, i gave him my broken ART Tube MP a couple of weeks ago and i've told him to try and turn it into some kinda valvy distortion box. He also made me a little variable voltage starver that goes in line between the mains and the plug socket. On distortion boxes it's incredible as you can achieve the half dead battery sound without having to carry a huge stack of half dead 9v batteries. i've not played with it on anything else but he assures me you can get some awesome sounds out of standard stomp boxes but just starving the voltage a bit (although he tried it on a some crappy casio keyboard he was glitching and he managed to fry it after a couple of minutes of the most ludicrous, messed up sounds ever)
I wish i had the patience/skill to do this kind of stuff, but as i don't i have a lot of time and a lot of respect for the people that do it
In the world of music there's no right or wrong, however there is "tried and tested" and "experimental"