Hello there TOH community!
My partner and I bought our first home in July of 2012. It is a 1912 one and a half story Craftsman and it has seen its share of shoddy renovations. The interior does not seem to have been updated since the 70s (other than carpet and linoleum being installed at some point in the past decade) and we have dedicated ourselves to renovating and updating it to bring out some of the most charming aspects of this old home. The lathe and plaster walls were all in terrible shape so room by room we have been ripping them out and installing drywall. This itself provided interesting challenges but nothing quite like the stair case to the master bedroom.
This stair case has been a point of contention between us as we cannot agree upon the best solution. Removing the lathe and plaster has caused a 1/4"-1 1/2" gap between the stair case and the wall. We now have no idea how to close up the gap, reface the stairs and make them look good.
He wants to install laminate, quarter round and dry wall on the inside of the half wall; I want to remove the risers and treads, install 1/4" as a faux wall-string and replace the risers and treads, then paint them.
He thinks my idea would be too difficult, he doesn't think that the risers and treads can be removed. I don't think that his idea would look good. I want the stairs to look good; he wants the stairs to look better.
Ideally we would have ripped out the stairs and rebuilt them but we thought we could work around the problems and ended up boxing in the open string stairs with a half wall.
We would be thankful for any advice.
Pictures at: http://pinterest.com/prairiebliss/stairs/