The Imperial Cult quests in Ebonheart are actually pretty fun, and surprisingly rewarding in terms of the enchanted items, free spells, alchemical apparati, and skill books you get. I think these would be best to do early on in your game when you can really benefit from some of these items, for not much effort. Though they were all rewarding, the Lay Healer ones were the least interesting, as all except the first one had no special interactions on the quests, only fetching 5 units of various alchemical ingredients (the first of the set had an entertaining special interaction with a farmer), and I just ended up going back home each time to fetch the required ingredients. I'd recommend just reading the page or pages describing his quests and just make a list of ingredients to bring him all at once, so you don't need to go back and forth if you already have the items as I did.
Iulus Truptor's quests all have special interactions with NPCs, though of course you can choose to skip the trips if you prefer, and just pay him the alms yourself for the first three quests, but as I said before, I enjoyed the interaction. His later ones have you requesting donations of items, which adds a little variety and takes you to places you might not otherwise go.
As mentioned before, the Shrine Sergeant quests are the most classical adventuring quests of the lot, such as tracking down a thief, quieting a haunted house, slaying a witch in an egg mine, etc. Once you've advanced far enough in rank (which is very quick with all these easy ingredient turn-ins and the in-town alms collections), you can also start doing quests for the Oracle, which are also adventure-style quests.
I also finished collecting the last of the propylon indices. Unfortunately, the last of them was located in a stronghold that was infested by some creatures that I'd never seen before, aside from the ash zombie (one of which I had encountered when stepping briefly into the Ghostgate to finish the Temple pilgrimage quest). One of the first three...people...I encountered in that stronghold, either an ascended sleeper (looks like a sort of Lovecratian tentacle-faced thing) or a dreamer (naked dark elves) hit me and infected me with corprus disease, which I had no way of curing. Blight or common diseases I can cure, but not this one. So, that meant I had to go a little further in the main quest...just one more mission for Caius, and I was cured. Now I can put the main quest back on the backburner.
Balmora Expansion home
For quite a while, I'd noticed the house in Balmora added by the expansion called "Balmora Residence", which had doors locked higher than I could unlock. It seemed likely that this was meant as a player home, by the name, but I couldn't find a key hidden anywhere. I eventually went to the local spellmaker and made a spell to unlock doors up to level 100 (which is any door), and went in (though I accidentally got a bounty for it). I found it was a very nicely designed interior, with a spacious kitchen and a workshop, which is what I needed for my crafting. However, when I went upstairs, I found a maid who accused me of not belonging in the house and urging me to leave. The grammar was incorrect in her lines, so it was clearly added by a mod.
So I reloaded a previous save so I could figure out how to obtain the house properly. I dug into the pack of readme files that comes with Balmora Expansion, and found the readme by the author Jolard, with the mod named Balmora Manor. The readme file was no help at all in figuring out what to do. All it said was that it adds a quest for the maid. So I tried downloading the standalone version of that mod, whose readme file was no better, and opened it in the construction set to see where it was supposed to start. I still couldn't find anything, and also noticed some differences in it, such as a trapdoor leading to the Mages' Guild, which isn't in the BE version.
But, I did figure out enough of the names in the mod to find them in the BE mod when I opened that in the CS. Turns out the quest begins at the Overseer's manor. Is this added by BE too? I couldn't find any reference to this Overseer in the UESP wiki. Anyway, I had spoken with the Overseer before, but he never said anything about a quest he had for me, but his dialogue seems to be a little buggy. I went down and talked to his wife about one of the usual topics like "Latest Rumours" or something, and she mentioned the Overseer was looking for someone to do a job. I went back up and talked to him again, and this time he offered me a quest, promising a nice, but unspecified, reward. It seems that you just need to talk to him twice before he'll offer you the job, and talking to his wife isn't necessary.
It was a simple ancestral tomb clean-out quest, just outside of town, though one of the spirits seemed a little tougher than usual, and one of the items was cursed to summon a dremora lord which killed me the first time through. But after turning it in, the Overseer gave me the key to the manor. So, to get into the Balmora Residence, you have to find the Overseer, talk to him repeatedly until his buggy code makes him offer you the quest, and then do the quest.
Workshop and kitchen for crafting
I saved at that point, because I wanted to do a little renovating to customise the kitchen and workshop to optimise it for the crafting system in Complete Morrowind. I added a few cabinets for materials, replaced the kitchen stove with the CM functional stove (for bread, pies, etc.), and added a CM cauldron (for soups, porridge, poison brewing, etc). The rest of the cooking is done with portable items, which I carried from my tower. The only thing the kitchen is still missing is a sink. Even without running water, there should at least be a basin that people can manually pour water into, and maybe a well pump.
Anyway, then I moved on to the workshop, which I rearranged a bit, and set it up in three sections. One is the tailoring area, where I installed a CM loom, some containers, and a couple of tables and shelves, on which I placed the items I had collected while playing, such as the sewing machine, shears, spools of thread, loose cloth, and bolts of cloth. In the second section I installed a CM forge and anvil, for smithing and metalworking, and a couple of small tables. I also have two small cupboards under the table that divides this section from the third section. The third is the main work area with a large table with shelves, as well as cabinets and a CM hearth for pottery and glassworking. Glassworking is not likely to be something I'll be doing, as the raw glass is very expensive, and the items made from it are nearly worthless. Clay is cheap, though. This large table is where I'll do the carpentry, wickerwork and fletching, and display my crafts from all these sections on the shelves. (At least the good-looking ones.)
Although most of the skills associated with this crafting system are added by the mod (such as cooking, tailoring, etc.), smelting metal ore affects the vanilla game skill of smithing. This is fine with me, though, as smithing is not one of my major skills. A word of warning about power-leveling your crafting skills (that is, gathering a large amount of raw materials and crafting them all in one session) -- some of the crafting failures actually injure you a bit. Sticking yourself with a needle, or spilling a little molten metal on yourself. Keep an eye on your health so you don't die of crafting!
No, I haven't abandoned my nice mage tower, but now I have a proper workshop and a roomy kitchen in my second home. :)