Built-in cabinets/shelves in bonus-room knee wall
I'm new to this forum, but looking at existing threads reveals some very helpful people!
Here's the story: We need more "active storage" in our bonus room, which serves the function of office, playroom, and guest room at various times. By "active storage" I mean storage for stuff we use on a regular basis (toys, office supplies, craft supplies, etc.)
The bonus room has 4.5' knee walls on both sides, with open space behind. What I want to do is build storage into the knee walls. I am able to get behind the wall through an access panel.
Here are some of the issues I'm thinking about...
1. What kind of storage? I'm planning on some open shelves for books and display, and cabinets with doors to store the craft stuff and toys. I'm also thinking about an open shelf that would be a good size for an LCD TV sometime in the future. I'll probably move an electrical outlet and cable jack that are currently on the wall into this shelf.
2. What material to use for cabinets? I think we are planning to paint the cabinets (rather than staining). I'm leaning towards MDF (cheapest) if it can be primed/painted decently. The home stores also have 2 different types of birch plywood... one is around $28 a sheet and one is $42 a sheet, but I couldn't really tell the difference (different material inside?)
I am also investigating using some of the off-the-shelf ready-to-assemble Mills Pride cabinets from Home Depot. If they end up not costing much more than building myself it will save me some time.
3. Cabinet doors - For the cabinets that need doors I will plan to buy doors... either Mills Pride or from somewhere online. Any recommendations?
4. Insulation - Currently the insulation is in the knee-wall. How should I insulate the cabinets? Can I wrap them in fiberglass batts with the paper against the cabinet as a vapor barrier? What about using foam sheets instead -- what would I use as a vapour barrier with the pink foam sheets? How many layers (what thickness?) of foam could/should I apply? (I do have access to be able to insulate the cabinets after they are installed in the opening.
5. Removing studs --I am fairly certain that the knee wall is not load-bearing and here's why I think that: The bottom plate 2x4 of the wall is installed on top of the flooring. The top plate 2/4 is nailed to the rafters. If the wall was part of the rafter design I would expect that the each stud in the wall would be attached directly (via nailing plate or something) to each corresponding rafter and joist. Am I way off base here?
If you can't tell already I am not a pro by any means. Most of my knowledge comes from watching shows like This Old House, Hometime, and a bunch of different things on the DIY channel for much of my life. I built a deck that turned out pretty nice, so I'm confident I can do this as long as I plan out all the details beforehand.
Thanks for any tips or advice! I'll add photos if they will help.