You're right Brian as far as Autopoles are concerned, you are limited by the ceiling height. But I have 12' ceilings and can use Autopoles at my place. And I don't know the maximum height of available 2X4 lumber, but if there was such a thing as an 18 footer, then timber toppers would work even in your studio.

The problems I've found with using stands are these: 1) when the stand is up high enough to create a background high enough to shoot someone standing, then they are usually somewhot tipsey, and 2) there always seems to be just one exact postion for the legs where they neither sit on top of the background (where they inevitably end up on the edge of the frame) or end up denting the curve of the seamless.

There are also brackets that can be mounted to the wall that accomodate crossbars, that's even something you could make on your own without spending a ton of money on "real" photographic paraphanalia. And when your're not using the brackets for a background, you could always hang a nice fern....a liitle green always looks good in the studio room. ;-)