Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Look what we did

Like many other housebloggers this week, we're entering a contest that asks us to show off one of our proudest DIY achievements. Hmmm. There are several projects we've done that just seem like herculean tasks and that made such a difference in the house and/or our lives, but I wonder if we're partly starry-eyed about them because of just how tacky things were beforehand?

So for the contest, we'll go with my Dad's favorite achievement of ours: the piano window seat.

It's in pdf version here, but in case you haven't seen that one, here's the short story:

After we restored our dining room, we knew we should put in a window seat to cover the radiator. Also, when we stripped the wallpaper in the dining room, we saw clues that there had been a window seat before: a mis-matched moulding under the windowsill, un-finished baseboards, a ghost of a line of stain where the seat was, and a series of truncated floorboards. We weren’t sure how it should look, or what to build it of.

Coincidentally, we had been trying get a piano that came with the house out of our basement. The basement was probably built around it, because there was no way to get it out!


So we carefully dismantled it, ending up with a nice array of mahogany. We stripped some pieces of the ubiquitous white paint, and an idea began to form… we reconfigured the piano into a window seat, using almost every scrap of the limited material, plus a few new 2x4s. The piano sides (double-thick pieces) became the seat lids, which open; the panels from the front of the piano became the facade; the remaining pieces were the frames; the piano hinges –well, obviously were used as hinges.


We melted off some veneer from a scrap and applied it to endgrain pieces for a finished look. A little trimming and staining and we were done, with hardly any leftover pieces!



This post was written for Houseblogs.net as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by True Value. Also see: www.StartRightStartHere.com

10 comments:

Karen Anne said...

I remember thinking how super that looked (and how ambitious you were, oh, to be forty years younger :-), but doesn't the top get hot when the radiator is on?

NV said...

OMG! What a great idea and an amazing finished project. Extra points for creativity!

Beth & Dave Kn├╝rdmann said...

Do we get a vote in this contest? or do we have to let that ol' DIY guy make the final decision. I can't imagine anyone else has such a great pdf of progress and ideas. Let us know---we'll stack the deck!

sarah said...

Karen Anne - it just get slightly warm, not hot at all. We have hot water radiators - if you had steam radiators, I think you'd want to make sure there was plenty of space. But the boiling point of water is way less than the flash point of wood, so no problem there. In the winter, we open the seat flaps to let the heat out better, and close them when we have company!

Jason said...

What an imaginative repurposing - but what did you do with the keys?

sarah said...

Hi Jason - we determined (using all the methods we could find short of sending them for testing) that the keys were ivory, and we sold them on ebay to someone who was restoring a victorian-era piano. We just can't throw stuff away, you know. Especially precious materials you can't get anymore. Very, very little was completely useless. We put the legs on the side of the road & someone took them for some other project, I'm sure.

Karen Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen Anne said...

I didn't even know there were hot water radiators, learn something every day :-)

This is making me nostalgic for the double decker I grew up in, and its radiators.

Sandy said...

I dont' think there is better heat anywhere than heat from a radiator! I can't remember where, but I read another blog (quite awhile ago) that made a window seat out of a piano. It really looks lovely. It's great that nothing was wasted.

Deux Hirondelles said...

IMHO, you should get bonus points for doing this project with recycled wood!
I will be perusing your reno blog at length, and wish you success in this contest!