Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Grandma's Piano

Back to the living room re-decorating.  14 years ago, my grandmother gave me her piano.  I was the only child or grandchild that had taken piano lessons, and had any musical talent.  That being said, my musical talents are very slim, but I enjoy sitting down and playing a little, as long as no one is home to listen!  Anyway, she wanted me to have her piano then, so that after she was gone, no one else would lay claim to it.  So we rounded up a few strong friends, and moved it to our house.  It was a light blonde wood, that at the time, matched my living room pretty well.  The front legs had a little curve to them, that also matched my queen ann style tables.

Over time, the "blonde" had turned rather orangeish, and after painting or staining everything else in the room, the color of the piano was really bugging me.  I threatened to paint it for a few years, but never had the nerve.  Finally I had enough and decided to tackle it.  When I was a kid, my parents bought an old upright piano off someones porch for $75, took it apart, stripped it and refinished it.  So I knew what I was up against.  I don't have the patience for stripping, unless the piece is really awesome.  I just planned to paint it a creamy off-white.

I proceeded to dismantle it, and for the most part, pianos are designed to be taken apart rather easily.  I took off the top, front pieces, knee board, and all the keys.  I laid them in order on the floor, so they would go back correctly.

The dust inside, under the keys was horrible.  I gave it a good vacuuming, then lightly sanded the surfaces to be painted. 

Ready to paint.  I didn't take any pictures while I was painting, only the finished product.  I decided to paint the body with Rustoleum Heirloom White, and stain the top with Dark Walnut Gel Stain.  I've used the gel stain on my fireplace mantel, family room end tables and a few other pieces. It's amazing stuff.  You don't need to strip the existing finish, just rough it up and start staining.  I'll do another post about it and show you my family room re-do, and how to apply it. I just laid drop cloths around it, and painted it right where it stood.  The piano turned out great.  I am so happy with the change, and  glad I had the courage to try. 

 Here's a peek while it's going back together.

And here it is, all done. 

 After painting, you really need to wait a few days or week(s) before setting anything on the new surface, as it takes awhile for the paint or urethane to cure.  I learned the hard way by setting a TV on a dresser in our bedroom.  There are little rings where it sat. :(   Lesson learned!!

The picture on the piano is my grandmother, holding a rose.  So appropriate, I really loved her a lot.  She is the only grandmother I knew, and I spent lots of time with her.  She was a grown up child, (in a good way!) and loved to play with her grandchildren.  We went on many trips and camping adventures with my grandparents, and I can still get teary eyed thinking of them.  I'm sure she would be happy with the results.

Thanks for spending the time to read this, and feel free to leave any comment or questions.

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  1. I love this makeover and would love to do my big upright but my Sil is a musician and frowns upon it!! Great job!

    Hugs Giggles

  2. Karilyn,

    what a wonderful tribute to your grandmother. Love the picture of her on the piano.
    thanks for sharing at catch as catch can.

  3. Beautiful transformation!! Found you over at MRL!

  4. What color did you paint the top part of the piano? Is it black? Or brown? I can't tell from the picture. But I LOOOVE it! I just bought a piano and I'm ready to paint it. Just trying to get ideas!!!

    1. The top of the piano is walnut gel stain. It is amazing stuff. You don't need to strip the finish, just rough it up and brush it on. The first coat doesn't always look great, but let it dry really well, like a day or 2, and after the second coat, it looks great. It's easiest to do on flat surfaces, but I've used it on most all my old country oak pieces, and now they look new! I have also put it right over paint, with great results. I'm planning a post about it soon.

  5. Hi! I have the same piano! Really!
    Your refinish looks great!
    My piano's finish isn't in as good shape as yours. Thank you! I'm bookmarking this for when I start my project.