Personally, I quite like it. Well, parts of it. I think it has promise... I don't
think it needs a background texture - sometimes backgrounds can take it the wrong way, but of course it depends on what background you need.
Whitespace is good, but you have to use it correctly. I think that your site has a whitespace problem simply because you have not set out thinking about the whitespace, and making it a feature, and that becomes apparent...
I think that I would recommend using more
whitespace around some elements, such as the bar on the left, which would narrow the space in the middle... however, at larger resolutions, you will always have some trouble because of the liquid design you have used. So... how about deciding how much whitespace to use, and setting a fixed width for the page? Then define the page edge somehow. Part of the trouble is that there is not a lot of text to fill up that area. That's what leaves it looking rather empty, which makes the viewer think 'bland'... it's amzing how even the addition of fine lines to define areas etc. can make a difference!
Oh, a word of warning. Stay away from 1280x1024 - it's a BAD (but unfortunately, popular) resolution to use. Instead, use 1280x960. Why? Aspect ratio... 1280x1024 gives 1.25 ratio rather than the 1.33 ratio shared by 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1600x1200, 1920x1440, etc. etc. Personally, having two 19" monitors, I have 1920x1440 on the left and 1280x960 on the right, which I use for previewing.
So, not bad overall, but more thought is needed on fonts, colours, images, etc. It does look a bit unfinished, and it doesn't flow quite right yet. I look forward to seeing the finished result
::] krycek [::
PS - What redhead said, too