Your idea of stucco may be the best bet. It would hide the current deterioration, stop the flaking process (if applied correctly), and not add significant thickness to the outside wall surface. This means that your doors and windows would not have to be moved outwards as they would with some types of siding.
The trick in all this is finding the right kind of stucco product and the right person to put it on. You’ll need to track down professionals who claim to have the know-how, and then verify that they actually do by asking for at least three references from each one, then checking them out. Success depends on finding an appropriate stucco product that’s designed for this application, stabilizing the current brick surface, then applying the stucco in a way that will last.
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