NOt that complicated!
Bees will live most anywhere. We took a colony from a six inch pipe in the ground a few weeks ago. The bees (pests and diseases aside) will thrive in any configuration of Langstroth hive you can imagine (many other hive designs too).
The issue for many is lifting the weight of each section of the hive. I chose eight frame deeps with a medium on top of that for the brood chamber. That worked just fine for me. I can add a deep next year if I want two deeps for the brood chamber. This year, the queens worked both the deep and a medium for the brood chamber in two of my five hives (the others were late splits).
Some bee strains (read Italian) can produce gigantic brood chambers. My bees don't. They are Carniolan/Italians crossed with my local sperm doners. Don't be too concerned about a brood nest that is all over the place. The queen will usually make the brood nest in a predictable and organized shape and position.
Many beekeepers prefer one size for all equipment, providing universal interchange. That means one size for all hive bodies and one size for all frames.
Bottom line: Its an individual choice, there isn't any wrong answer in the thoughts you outlined above.
Last edited by Lburou; 10-14-2012 at 12:47 PM.
...We don't see things as they are, we see things as WE are...