I decided to go with a standardized server rack so that I could locate my (future) switches, servers and other components in one place – namely a closet. I’ve ordered a 13U table top/wall relay rack from Primespec, More here
Debian stable was the right choice for this server’s particular purposes. It’s well-tested, robust and should handle my webserver, database and file serving requirements. It can also act as an AFP server for my MacBook Pro, which subjectively seems to perform much better than SMB sharing for networked iTunes libraries.