Goran dropped me an email to share an alternate perspective on headstocks.
"regarding the ergonomics of the tuning process - my opinion is that reverse headstocks are more hand-friendly. visual connection is jeopardized but one gets used to the tuners location after a while. few years ago i had jackson guitar with reversed headstock and after a a while i really enjoyed tuning that guitar."
Perhaps on a subconscious level, it is consistency I seem to prefer. I've owned and built many instruments over the years with mixed tuners (top and bottom of headstock) — and I always adapt — yet they remain an irritant. Perhaps bottom-mounted tuners would scratch my itch?
"i think tuners should not be located too close to each other - that makes tuning more awkward. starfish has perfect distance between tuners. also the shape of the tuners (and weight!) is important - they have to be ergonomic. the shape of those sperzels on starfish is also perfect."
I do like Sperzels, although the (mounting) threads strip easily. Use caution. I will agree Starfish is/was my favorite guitar to tune.
"...also i must say that i liked more the first headstock for orchid that you are building. the new headstock looks also very good but the first one is more minimalistic, unique and cool."
I chewed on that one for a while, but ultimately decided on top mounted tuners for Halie specifically because she is a relative beginner and visual contact will aid precise tuning. On a darkened stage, I want her to be able to see and confidently predict tuning results.
We'll save more complex tuning for the pros...