After a general thought process and pondering the advice given, I've decided I'm not going with staples or finishing nails or whatever. Stainless or brass screws all the way. I'll explain exactly why below. So thank you for those thoughts.
BentSailor, yup, Blender rocks. Been working slowly through the tutorials for the latest version. Much nicer to look at then 2.49 etc. Works well, got a hull put together but it's tough to get just right. Will take a lot more time to get that all together.
Anyways, on to the big news. Demolition has begun! Made it down to the boat for a few hours and got to this point:
This picture shows how far down the counter and cooler will make it. There should be about 20 inches of space to stick your legs out to sit next to it. About 6 good feet to sleep there if need be too. I never sleep there.. but somebody might.
and one more from another angle:
As you can see, the PO decided to paint and didn't remove anything. It was a horrible paint job anyways, they even painted a brass lamp half way around, see this post: The Periwinkle and Stargazer Blog: Restoring the brass reading light on Stargazer
Anyways, when taking out all the god awful shelving in place I discovered many finishing nails and a few long staples holding parts of it together. Rusted of course.. so that's one of my main decisions to just not go with them and use stainless throughout. All the brackets holding the shelving together were rusted right out with some just crumbling away when I went to take the screws out..
I ran out of time, but the next thing I'll be doing is taking off the vinyl that's on there, that top plush burgundy thing that covers the bolts holding the boat together and putting some templates together to make a mockup of the galley and cooler together. That way I can make sure my sizes are correct and it will all look as expected.
Managed to get some nice mahogany for the shelving and trim and I'm really looking forward to getting a move on with this. Gotta still figure out a good fabric shop to get some vinyl to go back on the ceiling behind the galley and stuff too.. so much to do. I'll keep posting away if people are paying attention. Thanks everybody for your advice so far, it's made a big difference.