I realized that to strip the banister and newel posts I would have to remove the carpet, which I did yesterday. So, taking some expert advice from Sarah at Bangor Bungalow, I gave up on the Murphy's and paint thinner and switched over to the real stuff. I decided to splurge and got Peel Away 6, which you see at work now. I don't know yet how it will work but I am already pleased by the lack of caustic odor and drippiness. I will give it 24 hours and we'll see how it turns out. Keep those fingers crossed.
In other renovation news, I am giving up on the dreams of the 1920's-style bathroom. It seems silly to tear out all of our tile on our walls and in our shower, which is in really good shape, and to waste the tile we bought last year. On top of the plumbing issues I shared the other day, I think it's best to just go with a vanity, get our tile done by Miracle Method along with the tub, and maybe just add an accent strip of glass tiles to punch it up a bit. I bought some samples today from cooltiles.com (the place from where I bought the accent tiles for the kitchen) so we'll see what we can put together; it just makes more sense/cents this way.