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If I remember the previous incarnation of the site, congratulations on the redesign – I find this version much more attractive.

Understanding that this is probably a preliminary design, my initial reactions…

1) Regarding a color scheme, I like the rich brown and light yellow combination. Maybe make the scalloped header area the same rich brown. And when you get around to styling links, you could incorporate the same brown into, for example, hover states. On the other hand, the gold of the site name looks good against the black, so maybe you’ll want to keep that. You could play around with a gradient from black to the rich brown to see how that looks.

The gray isn’t working for me; maybe it’s too neutral. If you want to stay with grays (and that’s not a bad thing to have behind photos) try some with just a hint of warm or cool color.

2) I agree that the gray behind the main image isn’t very effective.

3) Definitely think about your font choices.

4) Congratulations on having your CSS validate. Your HTML has 3 inconsequential errors, but they’re easily fixed by replacing “&” with “&”.

As I said, a big improvement over the first version.