One of the great things about a house is the endless opportunities for change. Walls can change color, an old chandelier can become a new pendant light and an enclosed staircase can become open. Making these changes on your own home can not only improve the value but also give you the opportunity to take full control of the work. Opening your staircase may sound like a challenge, but you can complete the project in a weekend.
Mark the wall you intend to remove at the base of the staircase to match the height of the existing stair rail. If you don't have an existing rail, mark the wall at the height that you desire. Make a similar mark at the top of the stairs at the hand rail height.
Use an electronic level according to the manufacturer's directions to mark the wall between the mark on the bottom of the staircase to the mark at the top of the staircase. Make identical marks on the other side of the wall so you have a guide on both sides.
Remove any doors, jambs, rails or other impediments from the wall before cutting. Use the drywall saw to cut the drywall along the guide marks you created. Remove the cut drywall.
Cut the framing underneath the drywall, using the reciprocating saw at the same level where you removed the drywall.
Cut a 2-by-4 piece of wood to match the length of the short wall that you have just created. Fasten the wood to the top of the short wall, using the wood screws to create a solid cap. Use the wood shims where necessary to keep the piece of wood level. Cut two pieces of the wood veneer to cover the side of the wood cap and the top inch of drywall.
Create a decorative top for the 2-by-4 cap, using a piece of 1-by-6 wood. Cut the wood slightly longer than the short wall, mitering the edges to create a straight edge at the end of the wood once it is put in place. Secure the top using screws.
Attach decorative molding to the underside of the decorative top for a finished look.