Transition metal oxides (TMO) offer the materials physics community a 'laboratory' for understanding condensed matter science based on magnetic, electronic, superconducting, and (multi-)ferroic platforms. The foundation of this understanding has rested on a model applicable primarily to third row TMO in which spin, orbital, and electronic degrees of freedom are coupled but nonetheless stand as discrete and identifiable orders. The introduction of spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in the heavier TMO analogs dramatically reframes this discussion. I will discuss recent work in our group at Argonne that represents our start at exploring this new framework, spanning work from the 3d to 4d to 5d series. The focus will be on developing and exploiting materials design strategies that allow us to explore key issues such as geometric frustration, phase competition, and the interplay of electron correlation with SOC.