I know the amount of time it takes to setup a website yourself, and to maintain and regularily update it, even when starting out with some sort of template...

I build my website also myself using a probably more rudimentary, yet flexible, approach using JAlbum, Dreamweaver and a custom designed JAlbum template (called skin). Has caused me some headaches, but in the end it was worth it, although it doesn't function as slick as yours in some respects.