A very scary "during" picture from another angle:
During the stripping:
And after sanding (and paint! and floor refinishing!):
The flash isn't terribly flattering to the color. Imagine it richer and with more golden tones. I tried to get one without the flash, but my tripod is AWOL, and I'm not really in the mood to go searching. Suffice it to say that I'm really happy with how it's shaping up. It'll look even better once we put the missing bits of woodwork back on. There are a few spots that are less than perfect, but that happens with any old house project, I think. I'll also have to get some wood-colored paint to touch up the spots of paint that absolutely refused to budge. There are also a few spots where the old shellac/stain remains, and the new stain matches just about perfectly. If you don't know where to look, you'd never notice.
And I remembered the other day that we bought woodwork at the Habitat ReStore that will match what we have and fit around the window at the bottom of the stairs... Maybe I should start sanding that too. 'Cause woodwork really adds something. Like making it look like less of a crack house.
I'm so excited! We may actually finish the entire living room renovation/restoration before I die of old age!