Might want to have a dabble in this then: http://www.linuxfromscratch.org/
I know Marjorie from support has dabbled with this a good bit.
Thanks for the link, Jonathon! People always say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, but this dog isn't as old as people think!
I've run quite a few distros on the desktop but always fell back on Ubuntu because for the most part it just worked. Ever since they introduced the Unity interface I was turned off. The last release with all Amazon advertising in Ubuntu really turned me off.
TBH, Windows 7 just work for me - I don't have any real issues with but prefer to run Linux just for the security aspect. I'm going to check out SolusOS though.
I used to be a very regular distro hopper, a couple years back. But I noticed I never got too far away from Debian, without drawing back to it. I'm wondering what the NextGen SolusOS 2 will be like, using the PiSi package manager, after getting so used to APT for all these years. But yeah, I've run Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Debian, Mandriva, Mint, Mint Debian Edition, openSUSE, PCLinuxOS, etc. I landed on SolusOS, a year ago March. and that is where I have remained.
Dan, just remember, SolusOS is currently in a state of flux. SolusOS 1.3 Eveline was based on Squeeze, which is now 'oldstable', since Wheezy's release. So, if you do download SolusOS 1.3, you will need to be sure you lock it against Squeeze, to prevent it from trying to upgrade itself to Wheezy. Which would turn it into a brick.
I am running SolusOS 2 Alpha 7 on all my machines, which was based on Wheezy. But since the direction has changed and the decision was made to do a ground-up build of the NextGen SolusOS 2, the Alpha 7 .iso is no longer available.
As for the direction Ubuntu is heading, it is pretty obvious a lot of -untu users are looking for something better. I'm like you, Unity has nothing to attract me. I love the Solus Desktop Environment (or Consort), because I still have all the GNOME 2 feel, but with GTK3 components.