So this is not an answer to your question, but a suggestion.
Instead of shoehorning Episerver into the old way of working, have you considered just designing a number of versatile blocks for the client?
That way, they could have a very limited number of base page templates (blank canvases, really) and just compose pages using the available block types.
It would give them a lot of creative freedom, ensure consistency, and avoid introducing unmanageable tech debt.
Ok I know this is a long shot but...
For a while we have been using Episerver at our company to a moderate degree of satisfaction. What keeps coming back as an 'issue' is the fact that we have to program new pagetemplates each time, so we need a programmer to setup the MVC parts for a Content Manager. Now I know it's part of the direction Episerver has taken, but still we try to figure out a way to make it more accessible for less tech-savvy people to build their own page templates or even small sites.
So what we did is use the old-school approach of creating contenttypes in Episerver through the admin interface. And by linking a Razor-View to a generic controller, some routing, we were able to manage this. Everything works fine, up to the point that you want to use dropdown-fields or checkbox-fields in your pagetype. Somehow these fields don't work in this setup. The dropdown shows up in the page, but the values that are entered in the Admin interface don't show up.
Does anyone have any idea how to get this to work. I know i can program my way around it, but the trick would be to not get a developer in there to build your own simple pagetemplates.
Any help would be great!
Thanks in advance,