Looking for advice/ideas on creating some type of hinge or folding mechanism for the bottom half of my basement staircase. The basement is a cellar with ~6 foot ceilings. This is just my height and the space is somewhat usable - I put some gym equipment down there. The ceiling above the staircase is obviously much higher, and the small amount of space with high ceilings that would come from having the bottom part of the staircase out of the way would be a really huge plus.
I couldn't care less what the final result looked like cosmetically, but if I tore out the bottom part and replaced it with something like a store bought folding ladder I'd be worried about reattaching at the time we sold the house and failing inspection.
Is detaching the stairs as easy as getting out the nails that attach the stringer to the wood next to it and moving it as one piece? Any simple ways to free it up and add a hinge to fold it underneath the top part of the stairs? Any better ideas?