In reply to:
I thought that they should be at a minimum of 1' above ear level
the key word left out there is 'optimum'. one foot above the head is the optimum placement, but in your case, you can only work with what you are given. if you dont want to mount on the ceiling, the then the 36" stands are your next best option.
with the quadpolar design of the QS8's, you will get a pretty good dispersion of sound.. i think you could almost put the QS8's anywhere and be OK.. thay are just really fantastic speakers.
the full metal bracket(FMB) sold on the axiom site is a quick and versatile way to ceiling mount.. you can directionally adjust the speaker and it mounts very easy.. unless you are just totally against it, you might want to rethink the the ceiling mount deal.