I like the idea for kitchen counter. (AW) DIY wood plank kitchen table picture step by step ~ would also be really really awesome for kitchen counters! Stained black with high gloss protectant over them.
add wood wallpaper to the kick plates of the stairs. Those rolls are expensive but you would only need one. Not practical with white treads though, it will be stuffed up from black shoe soles in no time.
Lights integrated into stairs. Late at night, the stairs can be lit (and safe) without ruining your night vision with bright overhead lights. Would also be a great way to really highlight a gorgeous staircase.