Challenging Critera - kids, space, $3500 budget

I'm looking for recommendations for a complete main living room audio system (no tv). I'm following advice from Agon amp/preamp forums to start with speakers, thanks to all who helped. I am not looking for "best speakers I've heard" opinions. Instead, I'm looking for recommendations for speakers for my particular application, AND recommendations for pairing speakers amp/preamps/IA's. I do not do chronic upgrades and I'm looking for something solid that I can live with for a long time. Here are the details of my situation:

* I listen to a wide range of music from jazz, 60's psychedelic, drone, metal, hip-hop, ambient and electronic.

* All of my music is digital.

* My budget is $3500 for the speakers AND amp/preamp

* I have a 2 year old. The room is not the main play room, but there is some activity. I do not want to use stands. They will be relatively protected, however I do not want cones near the floor if possible.

* The living room is 12X18 and there is a large (9 foot) opening to a dining room that is 12X14. I will use this system to listen in both rooms.

* I do not have space to have the speakers 2-3 feet from a wall. Under the Mantle, there are book cases that are basically 18 inch cavities loaded with books. If i get floor speakers, this is where they will be placed.

* The living room has a mantle that is 4.5 feet high and extends the length of one of the 12' walls. The mantle is 18" deep. I have a pair of B&W 602 s3 up there now. They sound thin.
Under the Mantle, there are book cases that are basically 18 inch cavities loaded with books. If i get floor speakers, this is where they will be placed.

What are the maximum dimensions for the speakers that will fit in the space?
to clarify, if i get floor speakers, I'll place them in front of the bookshelves, but i don;t have a lot of space before intruding on the living space. The bookcases are on either side of a fireplace. There are 3 shelves in each case. the dimentions are 14"High X 18"deep X 36" wide. I've considered putting my B&W's sideways in the cavity, but haven't tried it, so they're just sitting on top of the mantle.
Since you're starting from scratch, I suggest you consider active speakers.

Take a look at the KRK VXT8

They'll run you about $1200/pair (, have a front port so should probably work OK on a shelf and may make enough bass to be satisfying.

Then add a Benchmark DAC1 Pre for $1600 (or HDR if you need remote volume control).

Balanced interconnects from Blue Jeans cable.

This should give you a killer system within your budget and I think meets your criteria. You can add a sub once your child gets a littel older.
A front ported tower like the Paradigm Studio 100 or Studio 60 might work for you.They are always available here on Audiogon at good prices.You might want to think about a really good integrated amp instead of separates.This would also eliminate a set of ic's and a power cord.Just a thought.Good luck in your search.
Tpreaves, what amp, preamp or integrated would you suggest with the Paradigm's?
anthem works well with Paradigm - Paradigm owns them. Also, I've had decent luck with Rotel and Musical Fidelity..
I'm using B&K with my Paradigms and love them. The Paradigm dealer I go to uses B&K, Marantz and Anthem to audition their speakers. You can usually fine good deals on B&K.
This is a nice set that might interest you.Your budget will probably cover the shipping costs also.I have no affiliation with either of these sellers,just trying to help you out.Resell will be easy on these if you find out you don't care fot them.Enjoy.

intergrated Top of the line NAD integrated does all music well.

speakers Top of the line Studio Series,latest version.Sounds great with NAD equipment.
What are you using for a source? Computer, iPod, CD player? This will determine in large part what you should put behind it.

Agree with the idea of front ported speakers. In addition to the Paradigms, for floor standers I suggest these at around $2,000 or less:

-Aperion Audio 6T (Internet direct),

-B&W 683 (big), Focal 816V,

-Monitor Audio Silver RX8 (new product), and

-Rega RS5.

These all sound good, are more or less tolerate of placement near the rear wall, and are good looking IMHO.

For electronics also around the $2K price mark I suggest:

-Solid State integrated amp look at Cambridge Audio Azur 840C v2, Exposure 2010s, or NAD C-375BEE (new, good and cheap), Naim Nait 5i;

-Hybrid integrated look at Vincent Audio SV-236 MkII or Jolida 1501A;

-Tube integrated look at PrimaLuna Prologue two (this would match especially well with the Focal 816V speakers)

-Separates, I suggest Parasound P3 preamp and A23 amp or P3 plus the Odyssey Audio Stratos amplifier (Internet direct).
Correction, Cambridge Audio Azur 840A v2, not 840C
A set of used Gallo 3.1 Refs will run you under $2k, so you'll have $1.5k left for electronics. They'll do a good job filling your space with good sound, and if you leave the covers on them, they'll be protected from your 2 year old. Since your back wall is covered with books, you won't need to pull them, or any speaker, as far from the wall as you would if the wall was a flat hard plaster surface.