Mind you - I'm not saying that this is "better" or "more successful"... it's just the playing style that suits me
Other players - other styles... and that's good that way. It's just fun comparing styles once in a while...
Even if the both of us have the most different approach on this game, I can find, I very much agree on this. That's also a reason, I like this page so much. It's interesting and fun to see how other people play. There's no best way. Everything is right, if it leads to your personal "goal" for that game.
Discussing houses: An important fact is, that you can build a vanilla stone house from the start, without the detour of upgrading a wooden house. If @Tom Sawyer
choose to make the red houses as an upgrade from some other simpler building, you would not be able to build any right away. A pity! I'm a big fan of the red houses, but I don't think, I would build many in such a case.
And, yes. Occasionally I upgrade houses but I avoid it, if I can. As you might have understood; I dislike "spoiling" resources; materials and manpower. It's rare, that I demolish and move any buildings. As you have seen; normally I never concider aesthetics. I put buildings in a long term, efficient way from the start. If I demolish any, it's because I need the land for expansion.
I do build roads early, if I find, there's a reason for it, (to connect an important stockpile to a port or an important barn to a market...) but no stone roads. The stones are much too valuable early in a game. At some point later, when I have a lot of stones and enough spare builders, I often put stones on the main roads, where most people walk. But this will take 20 years or more.