I have a 50 gal reef and a 50 gal planted... I and I am seriously considering converting the reef into another planted tank. Like you Silent Running, they are both in my living room, so they have to look good. It's not really maintenance that is the issue... it's just the fact that I feel that planted tanks are more "natural". I think that the plants and animals that we put into planted tanks are happier and more "at home" than those in reefs. There is less electricity involved and it just seems more "right". They are very "refreshing" looking if that makes any sense. I think that the pruning of plants actually makes planted tanks more maintenance intensive(especially since you had a Ca reactor and didn't have to dose Ca each day), definately more than a soft coral reef. If you are into SPS corals though, there is definately less stress and potential for catostrophic failures if you go with plants.
As far as your setup, have you considered Eco Complete instead of Flourite? It is completely black, and it seems like people regret the red color of Flourite after a while. If you mix Flourite with gravel you will still see it after a while once you start pulling plants out. You also don't have to wash it at all. I am not sure what advantage it has over normal gravel chemically, but it seems to give great results. I have yet to hear anything bad about it other than the price, and I think it is about the same price as Flourite. Just my $.02...