If Slashdot is ugly (and it is), why are so many of its "characteristic" elements supposed to be retained? One of the first things I'd do in a redesign is drop the #006666. And why not let users submit new icon packs? Once again, the icons currently in use are pretty horrendous, and yet the criterion is "Make it look pretty while still using our shitty gifs.
So let's see: The redesign has to keep the same title font, the same top-left curve, and the same green; it must have white content areas, because it must incorporate the lovely set of circa 1999 icons. What exactly are you expecting?