I know exactly where you're coming. I've gone through my share of nasty sounding laptops.
I would recommend a Lenovo X220
, since this is mostly a workhorse machine for you. The X220 is an excellent machine with some fan noise under load, but that noise is relatively smooth, easy to ignore. The standard HDD is quiet enough under all conditions. It's a great 1366x768 12.5" screen. I got the slightly pricier IPS panel (Premium HD option), which has excellent viewing angles. Light, small, durable & powerful with a big enough screen for web page work & image editing (for me, not for long periods, but you probably have younger eyes & fingers).
There have been some user reports of electronic whine (typically from motherboard or power supply electronics) but mine does not make a peep of that type of noise. For quiet laptops, this is the #1 issue imo.