help finishing stairs and landings?

im at a dilemma.. hope someone can shed some light.

there are a set of stairs going from 1st to 2nd floor that were covered in carpet. its a newer construction (1995), and workmanship wasnt the highest of quality. plywood was used everywhere under all carpets. now, for floors, i plan on adding hardwood directly on top. thats straight forward. the problem is withthe stairs and 2 landings.

first – the treads are pine(?), with a lot of paint overspray, but i am sanding, then staining and polyeurethaning them, with white risers and ballisters. downside is that they are framed (dadoed?), so no exposed sides. this will have to stay for now, i cant afford to redo the entire staircase. i think once done, itll be a big improvement over the carpet.
(more…)