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A Passed-Down Piano

January 14, 2014

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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This home is full of interesting angles and indents when it comes to the walls, especially in the great room. The wall in the living room (on the opposite side of this wall is the reading room) has been a little tricky. We always thought it would be a prime spot for some bookcases, but with the shelves we just installed in the reading room, it seemed a little redundant to have more bookcases. So we stuck a bench here and hung a grid of frames for the last month or so until we figured it out.


It’s safe to say I’m glad we held out. We inherited this beautiful piano from Chris’s parents this week and it fits in the space perfectly. The piano was originally purchased by Chris’s great-grandmother, Delilah, and has been passed down from generation to generation.


His parents are selling their home (the one Chris helped his dad build) and downsizing, and with that a lot of larger items they aren’t moving with them. We feel so blessed–beyond, really–to be the recipients of this beautiful piano that not only Chris grew up playing and practicing on, but his ancestors did as well. It makes me want to learn how to play, to teach Greta how to play, but I’ll settle for listening to Chris tickle the ivories until he gets around to sharing his knowledge. Chris’s mom refinished it about 16 years ago and it still looks amazing. That grain. It kills me.


The piano doesn’t have a bench, so we’re on the hunt for something to use there. I’d also love to get a larger plant for the corner–maybe a hanging fern (?) and a lamp. And some sheet music storage. So this once weird wall has a little way to go. But, I did hang a Ribba picture ledge we used in our last home in the stairwell and leaned a few art-filled frames above the piano. Initially, I had the frames leaning on the piano itself, but with Greta and Charly always running around, occasionally bumping the piano–it eased our minds a whole lot more to have them nestled in this ledge.


With Chris being the youngest of seven siblings, it’s a miracle we ended up with the piano. It turns out sticking with piano lessons longer than the rest of the bunch will eventually reward you with a pretty piano for your house. And, well, I guess I get to reap that reward too. #luckiest

Anyone else the recipient of a family heirloom? There’s something about having this piano (or anything that has been in the family) in our house that really makes it feel some much more like home. Finally!

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What do you think?

  1. VL Cook says:

    I revently downsized and was forced to rid of a lot of furniture. But, I wasn’t willing to part with my antique hall bench. I’ll find the perfect space for it in my new home.

  2. […] on the couch in here and watch out the wall of windows and wait for Chris to come home. When we inherited our piano that has been handed down for generations on Chris’s side (which is, obviously, also very […]

  3. […] few months after we finished the reading room, we inherited a very beautiful piano passed down from Chris’s great grandmother. So the reading room went from […]

  4. My piano wasn’t passed down; it was found at the dump! (Story shared in my link).
    I love having musical instruments in the home. Yours is absolutely GOREGEOUS! That wood grain! They certainly don’t make it like that anymore… or if they do, the price is astronomical. Yours truly is priceless! What a wonderful gift.

  5. Jen says:

    It’s funny how siblings can covet different things so it all works out. When my parents down-sized I inherited the farmhouse table that started with my Dad’s parents, then was in our dining room my whole life, and now it sits in mine. My boyfriend and I will be moving into a new house together in a few weeks and my beloved table will fit into the huge kitchen dining space. He is slated to inherit his grandmother’s round dining table which will someday (hopefully not too soon) go in our dining room. We’re purchasing a placeholder until that happens. I love the symmetry that we’ll have the family heirlooms in our dining spaces.

  6. emily says:

    wow! that is a gorgeous piano…I can’t imagine the work it took to refinish. And, I love the shelf above it…so cute. also, love love the new site!

  7. Brianne A says:

    The new addition is beautiful…I told my parents to put their piano at the top of my list when they decide to trim the fat. :) Out of curiosity, is Delilah on your list of baby names? It’s lovely.

  8. We inherited a piano, too! It’s not as old as yours, but we got it from my in-laws when they got tired of it sitting unused in their dining room. It’s about the same color as yours, too, and I have some black and white art on top of it. Haha. Great minds, right?

  9. Yay for hand-me-down pianos! We’ve got mine now from my youth and I am excited for my kids to learn to play. For now, they keep requesting I teach them Mary Had a Little Lamb. Time for a professional teacher!

  10. I inherited my aunt’s cherry piano, it is so, so lovely in our home. She died one week after her wedding when she was 22, we never met. She loved to play piano and played the organ in church, too. It is so special having her piano and her books with her music in it (full-color Sound of Music and 60s Romeo & Juliet music books). Congrats on your special new piece! Greta will cherish it as well… I LOVE having friends’ kids come over and play on it for hours!

  11. Brandilyn says:

    I have my mom’s rocking chair that her and my dad bought when she was expecting me (her first), so she rocked me and my brothers in! It is so special for me to rock Joon in the same chair, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I’m trying to figure out if it would work in our new living room.

  12. Ashley says:

    Love the piano! We also inherited my husband’s family piano but yours is even more sleek! There are some really cute woven benches at Target right now otherwise I’ve seen on Pinterest people just putting an Ikea sheepskin over a bench and using that has a piano bench…it’s super cute!

  13. My other half would be really jealous; he wants a piano for our house. We are lucky enough to have a lot of great family furniture, though.

    I use Feedly, and since y’all have updated your site the posts aren’t showing up in my reader anymore. I can’t figure out if there is something I can do to fix it, or if it has to be fixed from your end.

    • Julia says:

      Sarah, I am so sorry about the Feedly thing. It has been the source of much frustration on our end, too. We are doing our best to get it fixed. We tried something about five minutes ago that will hopefully fix it. But, ugh, stay tuned. Thanks for letting us know! We definitely don’t want to leave any reader behind.

  14. It is on my wish list to some how buy a new piano, refinish an old piano, or somehow talk my mom into upgrading so I can have their old one. My talent is definitely hidden under a rock, deep inside a cave, but I am definitely feeling the itch to start back up again. I love playing the piano, and it is such a useful talent to have in church. Love that picture ledge too!

  15. Sue says:

    My grandmother gave me the set of plates that she received on her wedding day and that she brought with her from Italy when she immigrated to Canada — a young widow at the time with two small children, over 50 years ago — one of the few treasures that made the trip. Being the third of 6 grandkids (and 8 great-grandkids), I too feel like I lucked out!

  16. Lisa P. says:

    I have a piano in my living room that my grandfather bought for me (used) when I was in elementary school. We will be inheriting my husband’s great grandmother’s dining room table. So excited!

  17. Oh, I love this piano! It is gorgeous! We have a piano in our living room and I think it just adds so much life to a room. Especially if you know a lot of musicians. ;) We bought our piano from Craigslist. It was after Christmas and we had been scouring the ads for months for something in our price range. We found one nearly three hours away and drove over there as soon as we could. We didn’t have a vehicle large enough so we had to use our church van. When the sellers found out that my husband is the Associate Pastor of our church, they gave it to us for free! Talk about a Christmas miracle! Ha!

    I’m curious – do you guys ever see yourselves painting the piano? I think it is gorgeous as is, but I know it is super trendy to paint pianos these days. Ha!

  18. Does driftwood count as a family piece? We’ve been scouring the beach for pieces & have some amazing finds that will one day become a shelf, stools, maybe a table & more.

    Some of the wood is over 100 years & the rings are visible. While I don’t know the stories behind the pieces, I look forward to creating stories with our children about them.

    They add a warm heart feeling to our home whose name, Tumwater Shores, literally means heartbeat water shores.

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We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 

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