WordPress - newbie confusion alert
I've not really used WP before but now I have to learn it and quickly too :( I have been coding with PHP and building my own CMSs - but I find WP a bit/very confusing. ( Partly the terminology 'Blog' 'Post' etc - I don't want to blog.. just build a website! )
Short story: my client has had a home page and content page designed and wants it produced in WP. I told her that the design wouldn't be exactly as she has designed it as it will need to fit into a WP template. ( I found one that's not a zillion miles off ) . But - I'm starting to wonder if I've given her bad info - that you can in fact build any page and have it as part of a WP theme/install / whatever? Is that the case? If so how do you edit the page through the CMS?
I'll try to get you started. You can make a WordPress site look like anything you want. Yes, you have to start from some kind of theme. This can be an existing finished theme, a blank starter theme, or you can create the theme files yourself and start from scratch. First thing for you to do is familiarize yourself with the theme file structure and each file's purpose. This will get you a LONG way.
Once you've chosen a theme to start from, and coded the general look and structure of the site, you can start to theme individual pages that may look somewhat different from the general structure. The way to do this is to create a file (I usually duplicate and rename the page.php file) and rename it to page-templatename.php - 'templatename' being replaced by whatever you want to call the page. Then in the page you add a php comment at the top saying Template Name: You Template Name Here. From the WP backend page editor you can then select this template from the page template selection on the right.
Take the time to do the due diligence of learning the file structure, you will be well on your way with the other experience that you have. Lean on the wordpress codex: codex.wordpress.org