Still kicking this idea around.
But I've gotten a few sources of inspiration.
One is this little truck I found on that other forum.
I like the idea of parallel front leafs with the axle over the leafs. It solves a lot of problems for me - locates the axle while also providing the suspension, and it is compact in that it stays in line with the frame rails. The axle I'm currently planning on using (Cherokee) is front steer, and the arches would protect the tie rod and provide a place for a basic bumper (to meet requirements for getting it inspected as a home built)
I think if you z'd the frame to raise the rails high enough to clear a live axle, it wouldn't look all that bad. The grill would hide the pumpkin if you pushed it a bit forward. I'd probably build the whole thing a little higher, but I really don't need huge ground clearance - traction and weight distribution are my biggest issues.
I also found this article Steve Pierce Builds an All-Weather Deuce - Street Rodder Magazine
about a guy building an all weather hot rod.
Inspired by the way he packaged everything inside the frame.
although I don't think a divorced transfer case would be necessary.
Might necessitate going with a four cylinder to clear the front driveshaft while keeping the crank centerline in line with the rest of the drivetrain within the frame rails, but a small six would be a bit shorter if it would clear. The guy in the article offset the engine to the right, which is also a possibility, but one I'm not sure I'd want to make (although it would probably help balance the vehicle when it was just me driving).