ergophobe - 4:29 pm on Jun 3, 2010 (gmt 0)
I don't know why it's empty, but if I understand you correctly, you'll need to use mod_rewrite and route requests accordingly. In my experience, this becomes a headache if you're trying to get WP to handle everything but the home page (no problem if you want WP to handle everything but a sub directory).
Basically, you want to do the following in your .htaccess or httpd.conf
If the request is for (www\.)?example\.com/? rewrite to page-home.php
If the request is for page-home.php do nothing
If the request is for anything else, rewrite as usual to index.php
So all the checking gets done before WP gets involved at all.
If at all possible, though, look for a plugin that does what you want or figure out a way to use the WP static home page functionality.