I've switched to one of the new Blogger templates. This is called Minima. I hope it's subdued enough for you. It's aggressively mellow. Why it seemed better than the old template ("Tekka"):
1. Tekka had an inexplicable interest in dotted lines and an irritating sans serif font. It was nicely minimal, but Minima is more minimal.
2. Minima, being one of the new Blogger templates, has that nice "previous posts" list in the sidebar.
3. Minima isolates and colorizes the titles in an appealing way. The text is not black but gray in a way that is pretty. (It does have the downside of making me feel that my vision is failing, and since my vision isn't so great anyway, that's a bit of a pain. But it's not that far from black, so I'm going to see how that wears on me.)[UPDATE: I adjusted some colors, and made the text black.)
One thing I've got to deal with is the way the blog title at the top is in a box with the blog description, which calls so much attention to the blog description that I had to delete what I had and am not trying to figure out what to put there. I'm going to have a quote, I think, but I haven't decided on what yet. I was going to try to get something from "My Dinner With Andre," but what I had was too long and rambling. ("Do you want to know my actual response to all this? I mean, do you want to hear my actual response? ... I enjoy reading about ... what people said ... and what people said about what people said ... And I just don't know how anybody could enjoy anything more ... I'm just so thrilled when I get up and I see that coffee there just the way I wanted it. ... Isn't it pleasant just to get up in the morning ... and the Times is delivered?" I like that for a lot of reasons and think it says something about blogging, but it just didn't look right in the box.)
One other problem is that the posts begin with the lines separated by a half space, but if you do a blockquote, not only is the blockquote single-spaced but the regular text after the blockquote is single-spaced. If anyone knows how to fix that, please let me know.