Instead of putting Home at the top and all pages under home, is it possible to have Home on the same level as other pages? Or possible to have more than one top level page? See this example:
All bold pages would be top level pages with their own children.
here is a screenshot of a dashboard, i'm using a simple grid framework + a free admin theme (AdminLTE 2) + masonry for the 'widgets'; i use 3-4 types of widgets, one is a set of shortcuts which is configurable to show on different users, or access levels; this allows individual users to have their own custom set of shortcuts if needed. The other types of widgets are a mini lister, and a formbuilder list; The formbuilder list can display recent submissions to various forms, and is helpful for admins who want to see a quick overview of recent submissions.