1970's wall opening solution
I am looking for a solution to this ugly wall opening with spindles. I don't want it closed up, because the living room on one side will seem smaller, and on the other side, I like looking through it from the kitchen to the front window, especially when expecting guests. I thought of removing some of the wall to make a half wall to replace the stair railing to the basement, as those are not to code anyway and are unsafe. Need a creative solution to keep things safe, yet more modern. I'm also afraid if a small child stands on my couch, they could fall through the opening to the basement stairway.
I'm considering making the stair railing solid drywall with wood trim on the top, to reduce some noise from upstairs, and thought of cutting out the wall to blend with that (not a supporting wall).
Thanks for any ideas - much appreciated!