I have been designing web pages since 1994 when the web was still young. I remember submitting my first web page to Yahoo! when it was still so small that I got an email that evening from them saying thanks for the submission and then mentioning something about the web site. It was nice when the web was more personal and friendly. The growth of the Internet has also led to being more impersonal, which is too bad.
I've never been particularly inclined graphically, but I've tinkered around quite a bit with web design and sometimes I've been fairly pleased with what has turned out. I first used Paint Shop Pro for some photo manipulation and then I used PhotoShop for a while until the demo ran out. I have since moved to The GIMP for all of my graphic needs.
As far as finding designs, I have used web sites that I like as templates. I used ibm.com to help design my Coin Collecting web site and I kind of like how it turned out.
I got the original design for the Chesney Hawkes web site from Elated Page Kits but I ended up changing so many things I took off their link from the bottom because none of the original page kit remained. They have some very nice looking sites, but a lot of them are fairly graphic intensive so they are harder to tweak if you want to customize it. If what they make works for what you want, then you can have a really nice looking site right away, but rarely is that the case for me. (I like to customize things)
My home page (the one you're looking at right now) has gone through many different designs. I didn't save all of them but I've compiled most of them for your viewing pleasure. The older ones were before browsers could even support tables, so don't be too harsh in your criticism.
Updated Oct 25, 2016