If you have 96" high ceilings 36" high wall cabinets wiil be 6" short of the ceiling. Total height to the top of the wall cabinets is typically 90". On 42" high cabinets total height of the wall cabinets hit the ceiling, 96". From the top of the counter top to the bottom of your wall cabinets there should be 18" of space, to allow for appliances etc.
Remember to take measurements of windows, doors and any other wall obstacles. Measure widths, heights (Trim to Trim) and their locations on walls. You can only install cabinets on blank wall space. Also take note of electrical and plumbing fixture locations, in you are planning to reconfigure you kitchen layout. If reconfiguring your Kitchen or bath these fixtures may have to be moved.
NOTE: There are exceptions to every rule. These measurements are design standards. Distances between counter tops and wall cabinets can vary depending on how level your floor is, how square, level and plumb your walls and ceilings are.