Monday, May 4, 2009


Thank you to the Washington Post for including this post in your Blog Watch, May 7, 2009!

When it became apparent that music would be an integral part of my children's lives, I purchased a gently used 5'10" ebony grand piano. Although my house is not large, I have an unusually long living room; the piano fits beautifully into the space and is the true focus of the room. In fact, my children refer to the room as 'the piano room' because that is truly the primary purpose of the room - for music. In my search for a new home, one of the first things I look for is a good place for the grand piano. I also notice when there is a piano in a picture of a beautiful room, because so much about the owner can be determined by looking at the placement of the piano in the room.

I really like this room because it is not a huge cavernous space, but instead is more intimate. It has a great balance of furniture - not too much, not too little. I think it is very effective to have a round ottoman positioned under a piano; it can be tucked away, provides a nice soft effect in contrast with the glossy black piano, and can be pulled out for additional seating. Notice that the piano is positioned so the opening faces the biggest part of the room, which is best for the piano sound. Interior design by Christopher Maya.


This is one of the most memorable pictures of a piano in a room (from Traditional Home); the bay window looks like it was custom made with a piano in mind. However, the opening of the piano is facing the window - it should face out into the room for best sound. Interiors by Nancy Bernstein.

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I think this picture must have been stretched out with a wide angle lens (it is from an Atlanta real estate listing); I have seen this room in person, and it is not nearly so elongated. I like that there is a separate area of the living room for the piano; it allows the piano some breathing room.


This is one of my favorite images in the 'piano file'. The room is not designed around the piano; the deep nature of the room and the placement of the fireplace allows for room for both ample seating and a piano. The piano is to the side, but is well placed in the room, and provides a nice bit of contrast in the light room. It helps that this piano is smaller - probably a baby grand, which is defined as 5'2" and under. A medium grand is 5'3" to 7'2"; anything larger than that is a concert grand. Design by Ingrao, image via Cote de Texas.


This living room has a great mixture of seating, and is very well balanced. It seems like the perfect place for a piano performance! Interiors by Bellacasa Design Associates.


This piano, from an Atlanta real estate listing, is tucked into the corner. I suspect that this piano is rarely played both because of the floral arrangement on the piano, and because of the piano opening into the corner. The piano looks great as a piece of furniture, but it is not positioned well as a musical instrument. I wonder if some home owners and designers think that pianos look better when the keys can be seen?


I have a few pictures of pianos that are adjacent to dining rooms. I think this is a clever idea - it would be great entertainment during a dinner party (particularly for pianos that have the auto play feature. Image via Cote de Texas.


Another room where the piano is adjacent to the dining room. This is such a great use of space to me, mainly because my own dining room is so rarely used. Interiors by Bellacasa Design Associates.


This looks like a piano that get played on a regular basis. The piano opens into a good sized room, which is ideal from a sound perspective. Interiors by Albert Hadley, image via Habitually Chic.


The piano in this room is somewhat hard to see at first, as it is tucked into the corner and closed. Keeping a piano closed when not in use is a good idea for preventing dust accumulation on the soundboard. This room is from a townhouse in London that was once the studio of the great portrait artist John Singer Sargent; it is now owned by Sir Evelyn de Rothschild. Image via W Magazine (see full article here).

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Another room that has not been designed around the piano, as the room is so deep. Image via Traditional Home and Wind Lost.


This room, designed by Anne Coyle, has several seating areas, one of which is focused on the piano. I like the placement and position of the piano in this room.


Beautiful space, and gorgeous piano. But, the piano really needs to be turned around so the piano opens into the room, not the wall; the projection from the piano will go right into the wall instead of the room. As a side note, I love the look of a bold, dramatic painting behind a piano; to me, it is a good balance to the size and scale of the piano. This painting is particularly effective as it is somewhat evocative of piano symbols. Interior design by Atlanta based designer Alissa Portman.


A beautiful home designed by Brooke Giannetti, with architecture by Steve Giannetti. The large living room spans the back of the house, and is divided into several seating areas. One of the seating areas is focused around the piano.


This room was decorated by Carole Weaks for a showhouse a few years ago. The bay window is the perfect place for the piano, and the piano is positioned well with the opening facing the room. Although some people (and designers) may prefer the look of seeing the keys, sometimes function needs to be chosen over form.


I have seen this set up in a few pictures - there is a transition spot between two areas (sometimes living and dining, in this case two seating areas) and a piano bridges the gap. Image via Traditional Home.


Here is the dilemma when you have a small house but a large piano! This room is not large, it has a lot of furniture, plus a grand piano. It looks a bit crowded to me. The scale of all the furniture in a room like this must be carefully considered when a grand piano is involved. If you have a grand piano, a room like this should be primarily a music room instead of trying to be both a living room and a music room.


This room has been seen so many times on the blogs, but have you ever noticed the piano tucked into the corner?


This picture in a recent Elle Decor was featured prominently in many design blogs. I admired it along with everyone else, but did not even notice the piano until I had seen this picture at least five times. Of course it is fitting that there is a piano in the house; it belongs to Lindsey Buckingham, who is part of Fleetwood Mac. The designer is Kristen Buckingham.


The contemporary architecture fan in me just loves this picture. Can you imagine the view when playing this piano?

Creating this post and looking through all of these pictures has been so inspirational to me. I love seeing how home owners and designers place pianos in their homes; whether they are used regularly or not, grand pianos have such beautiful and graceful lines, and really add such a great quality to a room.

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