Lost files and configurations

I logged on and then connected two usb drives to use partimage to back up a disk partition from one to the other. I ran partimage as "root" via the terminal and incorrectly sent the image file to the / disk, which filled the disk completely.

The next time I tried to log on the computer didn't seem to take my password. I tried a second account to the same effect, then booted into the safe terminal mode (as root) and assigned a new password to my personal account. When I still couldn't log on to the user account, I again logged on as root, then discovered that the entire / disk was filled. So I deleted the large partimage file (in terminal as root), then could log on as myself.

Here is the problem. Everything from my desktop (I run Gnome) was lost (all files on the desktop before the problem) as was the desktop itself (configurations and desklets). I'd REALLY like to recover some of the files --- I can always re-do the desktop, but I have no clue where to begin or how to start once I get there. Do you have suggestions? Thansk.