First off, many apologies for the lack of posting in the last few months...Mom visited for a month, then another two months of slow progress due to unpacking and a general need to be social. :)
I finally figured out how to tackle the stair issues. It turns out all they needed was time -- 3 months of time to dry, that is. After sitting for so long, the stain had finally cured and was a lot easier to seal (without the color rubbing off!)
Here are some progress shots...
I had to cover the stairs in paper while the stain cured, otherwise they would have gotten mucked up with all the traffic. Also note that the dining room walls have been painted!!
Once they were finally ready (read: once I was finally ready), I put 4 coats of sealer on each tread, making them nice and shiny!
Yesterday, Kirkwood stair came out and installed all the decorative trim and the ballusters! (See the gaps at the top? Yeah, they sent too many short ballusters and not enough long ones...so they'll be coming out to fix that soon.)
I've been so used to the stair being open that I think it will take a while to get used to the ballusters. They definitely change the look and the feel of the steps. The upside to them is that they keep the cats from leaping off the stairs and onto the dining room table.
What do you think?