After an ass-load of trial and error I got this little trick to work perfectly. The following script allows you to style your most recent post differently than the rest of the posts on your page. It will only alter the most recent post and won't effect the top posts on preceding pages. For illustration's sake I'm calling style for the first post "featured" and the style for all other posts "regular".
Once you've setup your index.php page with the following code, you'll need to edit your style.css page and add styles for .featured and .regular so that they look differently.
I'm including the entire WP loop. Just stick your post script where the comments tell you to!
<?php while (have_posts()) : the_post(); ?>
<!-- EVEN IF YOU'VE GOT PAGEST OF POSTS AFTER THE HOMEPAGE, ONLY THE FIRST POST ON THE FIRST PAGE WILL BE STYLED DIFFERENTLY -->
<?php if (is_paged()) : ?>
<?php $postclass = ('regular'); ?>
<?php else : ?>
<?php $postclass = ($post == $posts) ? 'featured' : 'regular'; ?>
<?php endif; ?>
<!-- NOW THAT WE'VE SET UP THE CONDITIONS, LETS CREATE A DIV WITH THE CSS CLASS FED DYNAMICALLY -->
<div class="<?php echo $postclass; ?>">
<!-- THIS IS WHERE ALL THE SCRIPT FOR YOUR POST GOES -->
<?php comments_template() ?>
<?php endwhile ?>
I hope this helps somebody, cuz it took me hours to figure out!