Unless anyone has any very strong objections, this will be the new layout. It’ll be a month or so before I get all the coding and colors done, but it should be worth it. I took Pam’s advise and created something that kind of suits my personality.
I tried experimenting with creating other photo-realistic effects, but to no avail. Nothing was working. You can see my latest attempt if you like.
The layout isn’t perfect since I haven’t ported it over for the web, but this is a rough idea of what the site will look like.