I took a similar approach with my bags. I settled on "mostly" Ortlieb (rear Bike Packer Plus bags, one medium rear rack bag) plus the Arkel Big Bar Bag. I sourced the Ortlieb bags from Wayne at TheTouringStore.com at very reasonable prices (below suggested list price, and with free shipping). I found the best price on the Arkel bag at PedalThePlanet.com (online arm of a bike shop in Lexington, KY).
I did extensive research last year before committing limited funds to purchasing gear, and feel that I was able to afford two "best in category" items: the Arkel handlebar bag and a Brooks saddle (B-17, British racing green to go with my green frame). Arkel does a great job of explaining and selling the features/benefits of their products. Read the description for that Big Bar Bag and tell me you don't want it!
In practice, the bag is as good as advertised, but I have to say sometimes it feels like it weighs a ton LOL. And I really like the Ortlieb bags both for commuting and for touring.
Have fun shopping, buying and using.