With this aim in mind, what path would be ideal for me to start researching and implementing?
Ideal for me wouldn't necessarily be ideal for you. Start with learning basic Raspberry Pi and go from there. Think big, start small.
Sounds like generic advice, and it is. It's hard to grasp advanced concepts, like creating home automation, without understanding the basics first. It's counterproductive to point you at a particular method or paradigm for advanced study without laying the groundwork.
You will need to decide for instance what programming language you want to use. Python? C? Java? Or ... Then moving on to hardware specifics on the RPi. You want to use serial communications, wireless, bluetooth, etc. These are only a couple of areas you'll need to consider.
My suggestion is to spend some time just learning and having fun. Do simple projects and build your knowledge up. Then work on fleshing out your project later when you can make more educated choices yourself.
As Adafruit has already been suggested, the MagPi magazine is an excellent source of information, tutorials, software and hardware articles, projects and I suggest it to anyone just getting started. You can download back issues and find lot of useful information: https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/
Cheers and good luck.
Retired IT professional, C programmer and "beardie weirdie".
RPi interests: Developing an Infinite Improbability Drive
“Thinking outside of the box allows you to get rewards outside of your reach.” Matshona Dhliwayo