Thanks for your responses. now that I have looked closely at the design, I tend to agree with both of you. I was designing with coding in mind, last time I did a complicated design mock up, I had trouble converting it to HTML but anyway your comments are greatly appreciated : )
You don't have to do complicated designs to make it unique. Little touches here and there can make a huge difference, look at this forum for example, it's basically the same as any other vbulletin board but Greg altered things like colour, logo, reply button that sort of thing to make it unique.
The design itself is rather beautiful, things are easy to find and the functionality of most of the site is clear.
As long as the site is not too long then the navigational system looks to be suitable. If you are having porblems converting this type of site design to HTML then I suggest you take a look at the 960 grid system which can be found at 960 Grid System.
listen to these guys mac, they know what they're talking about, I've learned a fair bit from these guys. I know from the responses I got on my own site, and now I don't know whether to laugh or cry at it but always helpful none the less.