Steinway & Sons piano conversion to a day-bed
We recently completed a fun and interesting project where we were approached by a young family that had inherited a beautiful 150 year old Steinway & Sons piano. It had been passed down for 3 generations in their family. Unfortunately the piano could no longer be tuned and didn't serve any purpose in the house other than holding great sentimental value.
Looking for another function for the piano, the clients dreamed of converting the piece into a usable piece of furniture...a day bed for the whole family to enjoy. They had been waiting to find someone they could trust to take on such a project and that is where we came in !
I always like to begin with some quick sketches to get ideas out quickly. I put my concepts to friend and designer Jason Sorensen who had introduced us to the client. He quickly came back with some reference images of a Christian Liaigre chair for inspiration. From there the design leaned towards a clean lined, sleek piece of furniture with an interesting contrast to the antique frame.
1st version of design idea Christian Liaigre chair as inspiration
Immediately I though of my sweetheart Jason Coons, a master carpenter for the wood portion project. He is a patient perfectionist and was the best person to perform the wood surgery !
I will leave it to him to talk you through the deconstruction and alteration of the piano:
Well, I suppose this story started with a long look at the piano in question. It was a beautiful piece, handcrafted in the mid to late 1800's. It was in remarkably good shape despite it's age, except for a few little dings here and there along with the expected patina of age. I was really taken by the fact of how well made all the little components of this beautiful instrument were. Truly a beauty.
The honest truth is that at first the task seemed a bit daunting to me and not just because it seemed to me that what I was about to do was a crime on some level and that some day there would come a reckoning. Not to be put off a good challenge though , I accepted the task and prepared for whatever was to come of it.
I began by extensively researching this particular model to familiarize myself with it as much as was possible to aid in the deconstruction process. It was critical to go about things surgically so as to retain the integrity of all the main components such as the piano body itself as well as the soundboard and inner workings. This was necessary as the client wished to keep them to use as art pieces in a prospective future project. After it was de strung and all the guts were removed, packaged and labeled, it came to the removal of a lot of very solid material. There were also hidden in the layers of wood several delightful metal slugs about the size of a finger that I discovered with my various saw blades. None of the blades liked that and a few of them quit the job. It took some time.
The height of the piano as it was was an issue as it was too high for its intended new use. This meant we had to lose some height in the legs. I routed out the necessary amount from the top of the legs so that the body of the piano would now drop down into the legs as opposed to sitting on top of them. I also nipped a few inches off of the feet to lose a little more. It wasn't quite enough so I also had to rout out an inch of the deck to allow the cushion to drop in a bit lower. This left us with a comfortable overall seating height of 23". The top edge of the legs also required some carving to lose the hard flat edge and give it a nice organic flow to match the existing shapes. Here ends my part in the transformation.....Upholstery and Refinishing...over to you.....Jason
We concluded by lining the inside of the body with brown velvet and create 2 cushions that snugly fit into place. The backs and arms as one cushion with varying densities of foam so that the back would have structure as well as comfort. Complimentary toss pillows to finish it off and voila!