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Unfortunately, I don't have credits or sources for either of these photos. We're leaning toward the bottom design and I have requests for estimates out now -- one using walnut, another using oak (that would be stained a walnut or ebony color).
Before I go, I should also mention the finish of the wall around the stairs, as seen above. It brings the wall flush (or almost flush) with the stair casing. Here's a better detail shot of that, and another great set of stairs, from the guys over at BUILD Blog: