So -- here is where I'm at so far. I've built a few face frame free-standing cabinets for the wife and I generally like their classic appearance. I think I'm going to go for face frame with inset drawers and doors -- I realize this will be more work than overlay style drawers and doors, but as you all have pointed out it's my cabinets and should suit my taste :-) (this style will also match our interior custom cabinets, not that it really matters).
So, after a long evening on Sketchup last night this is what I've come up with. Quick note that these are all 36" wide and 22 1/4" deep. When I add the 3/4" face frame and 1" overhang from the bench top I will have 24" depth from the wall. Carcass is all designed from 3/4" birch plywood (big box store stuff, not baltic), and face frames are soft maple which I happen to have in the shop.
Model #1 - Lower Base Cabinet -- note the dado for the bottom panel and the rabbet for the back panel. Those design elements I picked up from a cabinet-making article I read in Wood Magazine. I intend to use a combination of glue and pocket screws.
Model #2 - Here is the Lower Base Cabinet, with a basic face frame added -- this could be used with a single drawer up top and open space below. It is also the basis for the next 2 models.
Model #3 - Here is the Lower Base Cabinet and the basic face frame with added stiles for double drawers and double doors
Model #4 - Here is the Lower Base Cabinet and the basic face frame with added rails for 2 additional deeper drawers