Bagstone: Focus on enjoying that part of the experience as long as you can, without checking wikis and such. I've played terraria for about 600 hours the last two years (it's like gaming crack to me), and the first part - before you know how to rush the item tiers, semi-exploit the bosses and combine items into builds - is by far the most rewarding part. It's really an exploration game as much as a farming/building game.
I wish nothing more than to be able to unlearn everything and start over.
Re: houses, it is indeed possible to make them entirely safe. I.e. build them high, and use lava at strategic places; just not so high that a wyvern can spawn in hardmode - you can tell that roughly from the treetops in the background image. It is even possible against goblin armies and blood moons, if you use wire to make traps.