With all that in mind -- do you have any recommendations on the best way to light the space? I would like to have light on my tasks as well as having a more attractive quality to the general lighting (the fluorescent casts a sickly light over everything, it's very depressing). What I'm hoping for is recommendations on types of lighting that would work best -- track lights, recessed, whatever? I think pendant lights would clutter the space, which is quite small, and might make taller visitors want to duck, too.
Based on what you describe, we'd suggest the recessed lighting for two reasons - one, it is an update in keeping with current lighting trends for kitchens and two, it would most likely work the best with the ceiling height you have.
We found the above before and after photo of a kitchen that goes from what looks to be a florescent fixture to recessed lights as an example. We also ran across a good guideline for recessed lighting layout if it is the only source of built-in light for a room, such as yours - they should be no further apart than every 25 feet of floor space.
Any suggestions or input for Deborah? Please let us know in the comments...