That advice makes a lot of sense. I don't know exactly what the type of framing is called, but basically from the outside going in it's brick, building paper, wood studs, then drywall (no lathe), then the plaster. I'm pretty confident with my carpentry skills, so the creative route sounds like a good option.
Originally, when I bought the house, I thought about tearing down the walls, but my girlfriend (who I bought the house with) wasn't nuts about the idea and the ensuing dust. Not to mention, trying to convince her to upgrade the electrical wiring will be a challenge. Risk of fire will be a good bargaining chip though.
Our next big project is a redo of the kitchen, so at the very least I think we'll get a panel upgrade out of it, and I don't see how I could do the job without taking down the kitchen walls.
My taping skills are poor, but slowly getting better. We're planning on redoing a room behind our garage this summer, and based on how that goes, I will then reconsider taking the walls down.
That's kinda cool (albeit dangerous) that they ran gas lines to the lanterns.
I do have a fair amount of time now. I'll post back if/when I make progress.