Central HVAC thermostat recommendations?

I am looking in to adding my central heating and air system into my HA fold (hassio), but of course I need to buy hardware to pursue this journey. I have zwave, zigbee, and of course wifi. I 100% want this to be all local and cloud free (my vpn works fine as a cloud replacement :wink: ). I have no problem adding a c-wire if needed, and would prefer a unit that looks ‘old school’… plain white box with small LCD preferred over any ‘look what I got’ color touch screens. Any recommendations? …pro/cons/alternatives welcome!

So far I’ve been leaning towards Radio Thermostat zwave offerings… the ct101 looks good. I am having trigger anxiety over buying it though, after reading so many ppl’s issues with getting everything to work (like outdated mfg codes and missing heater toggles). Most such reviews look over 1 year old though, so I want to believe that by now the ct101 is more or less plug n play (I mean, pnp by normal HA standards… I just want to have access to all the entities I need to automate things… so on/off heat/cool and set point is adequate). I heard the ct101 may have issues when the zwave goes down, but that there may be a workaround to that.

I would especially appreciate comments and feedback on the current overall experience with rt thermostats. I wonder if hassio is now using updated ozw quirks or whatever and the ct101 may just work 100% out of box? …or if not maybe a short story of the workaround(s) needed with the current hassio release?

Also, I’m a maker type so even DIY esp8266 with dht22 (LOL) is doable… just don’t want the wife to poke fun at a 3d printed enclosure when friends are around. So even if it isn’t a ‘thermostat’ per se… I’d like to hear about it if it blends well in a ‘traditionally styled’ home.