Ill try to sell them on new steps, taking down the deck would be uneconomical for them unfortunatly. Luckily they know its hideous and are going to paint it so trying to sell them on new steps shouldn't be to hard. Also helps i have a friend that does decking even though steps wouldnt be to hard. Then maybe even cutting the walkway to save them $$ (make up for the steps if they wanted)
I beleive the concurved design would be 180 sf w/o the walk, 160sf ish with the buffer. The one reason i like the buffer is you can see below the deck quite easily
Question. If you ended up doing a simple 4' wide step (i know, ugly) do you build around the step or build under the step?