Discourse allows for a choice of the “front page” I think most Discourse forums use Latest, some Categories and few, other pages.
In my experience, in a lot of cases CSS can be easily used to alter a pages style,
There are a few settings and Admin -> Customize options that can be used.
And there are quite a few plugin-outlets that can be used.
In extreme cases it is possible to over-ride template files - but - IMHO this is not the wisest approach. The template files are a mix of HTML and “mustache” placeholders. Any time Discourse core changes you may find things broken when you upgrade. Even if not a maintenance nightmare, the chore could get old fast.
AFAIK some have alternate static pages, but I don’t know the details of how they may have done things.
If you have a good grasp of CSS and HTML you may be able to come up with something that satisfies your wants quite easily.
If you know a bit about the Admin UI options better yet. In fact, knowing the Admin UI well may mean you don’t need to know any HTML / CSS - there’s a lot there.
Else you may need to know some Ruby and / or Ember.
Do any of these pages closely resemble what you’re thinking of having as the “front page”?
If so, it’s a simple matter of putting the one you want as the first.