When we planned the layout of this house we made a specific space for my family’s heirloom piano – the one that multiple generations, including myself, learned on and I was excited to teach my kids (or have my mom teach our kids) on this same beautiful piece in our new home in Portland. It’s a 120-year-old player piano and one of the only heirlooms (besides portraits of ancestors) that I secretly hoped to inherit. It’s been in storage for a long time – at my brother’s house, in different wet garages of different siblings and it needed A LOT of work. But Brian and I really, really wanted it (it’s so pretty) and since no one else did (red flag) we nabbed it. The quote to fix it came to around $8k, but that was NOT including fixing the “player” part of it – just to make it operate as a normal piano. OOF. But it’s an heirloom! We said. It has so much meaning! We made sure that this spot could fit the piano in width and figured it was the perfect way to use this almost dead space as you walk in. Great. We spent another $400 to move it from my brother’s garage into one of our outbuildings (because they were moving) while we awaited the house to be done with construction. I told my parents the plan and they thought I was a bit nuts/naive – not exactly the emotional reaction I had predicted. They said, “It’s so broken, even if you fix it it’s going to have terrible sound – really echo-y and loud because the back of the piano is so cracked that it can’t ever be fixed”. Around that same time, I was at their house for family dinner, my kids banging on the piano in the background, me yelling at them to please stop (my nephew is incredible tbh) and I realized that the charming part of having your house filled with music is largely a fantasy, born out of my own nostalgia when the reality is a lot of less cute on the day to day basis. I was also reminded that I’m extremely extremely extremely sensitive to noises/music or anything that resembles audible chaos in our house (it’s a real thing amongst my friends and I’m often that person in a restaurant or yoga class who asks them to turn down the VERY loud music, which I secretly think everyone is grateful for). Like, I’ve been known to wear the silencing headphones that we bought Charlie for SXSW when he was 2 years old at parties when everyone gets to the shouty point in the night. So no, I don’t think I’m a candidate for a bad-sounding, extra loud echo-y piano in our very open and already echo-y home.
Around that time, but before my full realization, we also booked movers (not piano movers TBH) to move the piano from the garage into the living room. We had to build a ramp on the front in advance. They showed up, tried to move it, and said it was the heaviest piano they have ever moved and that they couldn’t do it. I was obviously very confused, but listen, one guy had a sprained ankle (which was sad on many levels) and I just had to accept that it wasn’t coming in. I told my mom and she said that it was indeed the heaviest piano ever and that she was seriously worried that it would damage our floors permanently if tried to bring it in or ever move it. It seems like all signs were pointing to us not having this heirloom that we were so excited about in our home. I think the loud bad sound was really the clencher for me.
So our options were A. buy a newer piano that had a more pleasant sound, but y’all I don’t love the look of most affordable new pianos and I wouldn’t have the sentimental attachment to it. It just felt like a “meh” decision. or B. buy an electronic piano for them to learn.
Over the holidays we were at our friend’s house who had this electronic piano and we fell in LOVE with it for many reasons that I’ll outline below – so when we got back I found the only one left in Portland, snagged it, and it was delivered 3 days later.
We bought a Roland electronic keyboard that is essentially housed in a wood piano-like frame. It’s about damn time. No weird stand. No light, janky keys. It feels like a real piano. The electronic keyboard industry has finally caught up with modern needs. Do you remember how most houses in the ’80s or ’90s had a piano? And now they don’t? It seemed more like a common childhood thing to take piano lessons back then, no? But real pianos are pretty cumbersome and a real thing to deal with (which is why they are free all over Craigslist and FB Marketplace). Listen, I hear all you piano purists (of which my family was as well) saying that there is nothing like the real thing and I totally agree with you. But sometimes the impracticality of it (sound + size + the constant tuning) makes it a harder purchase to make and we really really want to get our kids going on learning.
If you are like, “wait, you had such a beautiful mid-century piano in your old living room – just find another one like that?” I hear you. But the joke was on me because the sound on that piano was not good (famously bad actually, which is why they are so “rare,” and they stopped making them very quickly!!). So to get a great soft sounding piano you’d need to spend a lot of money or get something that looks generic which is fine, but kinda a bummer to me since it’s so prominent in our living room (full disclosure, I’m being a snob and I haven’t done more than a few hours of research).
Why Do You Like It So Much?
Let me count the ways why so far we LOVE it:
- It sounds and feels like a real piano enough. Yes, the keys are weighted and it felt very very natural to play.
- You can control the volume – this is CLUTCH. I love it when our kids bang/play or practice (starting lessons next week). I also love this for me because I love to play but don’t want everyone in the house to hear my mistakes (which are painful to make when I used to be pretty darn good).
- You can plug in headphones – So if they DO want to use all the extra features (which admittedly can be annoying) they can do it with headphones so no one has to hear. You can even hook up two headphones so they can both hear.
- The kids love the extra “features” – This is basically where you play the keys and it sounds like drums, acapella singers, and even gun bullets (not a fan). These are annoying, but obviously very fun for the kids to play. Headphones are key.
- It’s not a “player” piano per se, but there are a lot of songs pre-loaded that you can hit play on. The keys don’t go up and down but it does sound really nice. Would a Spotify playlist sound as good? Maybe. But it’s a fun feature, regardless.
- You can record your own playing and playback, set tempo, and of course, change the type of piano sound (ballad versus concert piano, etc). I don’t really use those yet, but in the future will be fun to play with.
You can see all the bells and whistles below (but they are super subtle and you can even bring the top over them so you can’t see them should you want to see the keys without the buttons).
The biggest, yet not so shocking surprise here, is that I have enjoyed playing again SO MUCH. It definitely took a couple of hours to get my fingers less rusty and I’m certainly not saying I’m good, but it’s been really really lovely to play again. I’m of course embarrassed at how less good I am compared to when I was 18, but if you haven’t done something in 24 years you can’t expect to be good. So that’s why I love having the volume control or headphones so only I hear the painful easy mistakes I’m making as I re-learn how to play.
Plus It’s Pretty And Simple… Design-Wise
We’ve only had it for less than a month so I can’t talk about its longevity or anything like that. But what I can say is that it’s visually very simple and of nice quality, without being super heavy. I’m sure it’s a veneer, not solid white oak, but as you can see it is indeed handsome. I don’t LOVE the bench and will likely find something with more personality as I think that the bench cheapens the whole thing aesthetically. I think what really makes it is the wood back on it so you can’t see all the way through. Does it fool anyone at the beginning? Yes at first! But no, it’s not going to fool anyone who plays the piano. It is electronic, full stop.
We hired a hand model to show you how we can turn up and down the volume (lord those knuckles) so you can see the interface better. Also, the pedals (which you can see below) are great and feel just like a normal piano IMHO.
Price wise we bought ours for $2,599 which included delivery, set up, and box removal (no tax in Oregon). It’s not nothing but we felt like it was a great investment to get our kids going on lessons which is really the main goal. Am I sad to not have the heirloom? In theory yes, but honestly I’m so happy that we get so much more use out of this. I liken it to a wood fireplace versus a gas – one is better in so many ways, there is no denying that, but the latter is what you use and enjoy so much more often. It’s totally a personal preference, but our family thus far is so happy with it. And it’s so lightweight that you can easily put it in a bedroom or in a hallway – we can have total flexibility to put it upstairs and then if it doesn’t work, bring it back down whereas with a traditional piano, you can’t as easily.
I feel like there are a lot of examples of this conundrum – the real thing that is laborious and cumbersome but infinitely better in some ways, versus the “fake” version that is more convenient, less expensive, and doesn’t have the innate integrity of the original. But it’s my perspective that when the aesthetics, cost, and technology start to be pretty darn great, that’s when it’s ok to make the switch and prioritize use, function, and practicality over the real thing. We want our kids to learn piano and this is making that actually happen, with less stress, without spending close to $10k on refurbishing and having future flexibility. But don’t worry, we will be putting the heirloom in the older house on the property in the rec room when we are done with it (ha) – technically you can still play it and it’s so pretty so it will land somewhere, someday.
*Photos by Kaitlin Green
Pretty! We have a great sounding electronic keyboard with weighted keys as well, but ours came with the unattractive base. I’ve learned there are some makers out there of “piano shells,” and also at least one business (in Nashville I believe) that takes old pianos that look good but can’t be made to sound good (or it’s too expensive to do it) and makes them into shells – mostly for professional musicians to use to play gigs with their electronic pianos! This involves stripping the guts out of the piano – it becomes light and easy to move. Not sure this is really an option in most places where there isn’t a big music industry but I thought it was a cool way to save at least the outsides of beautiful vintage pianos which can’t be made to sound good again.
Ahh love this!
What a great idea for preserving pianos as shells for better quality (+ some many other benefits!) electronic keyboards, thanks for sharing that Sara! 🙂
A blog that I love (so funny and original) Victoria Elizabeth Barnes, obtained a “fancy” piano (FREE on Craigslist!) and with her husband Paul skillful carpentry, turned it into an amazing kitchen island!
The initial idea – https://victoriaelizabethbarnes.com/repurposed-antique-piano-kitchen-island/
Completed – https://victoriaelizabethbarnes.com/diy-kitchen-remodel-repurposed-antiques/
Emily, so glad you are enjoying returning to playing the piano!!
This link has more on Victoria Elizabeth Barnes’ amazing DIY kitchen remodel. Her blog posts were where I first learned about induction cooking, hers is actually an induction countertop which is “invisible burners integrated in the kitchen counter”. She has a very unique blog voice and is soooo funny! 🙂
I love this idea! Repurposing something beautiful that is beyond functional repair.
Comes at the exact right time — on the lookout for an electric piano! Could you let me know the model you have (the link does not work)? Many thanks!!
It’s Roland’s FP702 https://www.roland.com/us/products/hp700_series/hp702/
They make a nice set of electronic drums too!
Thank you Pam!!
It’s so good to see Handy again 👀
(This is referencing the hand stool, nothing to do with Emily’s hands, ha, got to be careful around here)
I think you made an excellent call. Much better to make new memories with your kids than feel obligated to try to make something work purely out of nostalgia. Our houses should hold our treasures but they shouldn’t be museums. Aesthetically it’s perfect in your space and it sounds like functionally it’s also the right choice.
It’s so nice to see your house coming together, definitely can see it transforming from a “project” into a “home”.
Another important advantage of electric keyboards is that you don’t have to tune them! My husband is a good amateur pianist. He prioritized the piano action over the look 🙂 but he much prefers the action and sound of our electric piano to the average real piano. Also, now that my kids are learning to play, I think the music fantasy is real! My kids (only 7 and 9, not that especially into the piano) sound lovely to me and do often plop down at the piano to play something (and of course, my husband). It’s magical to hear music filling up the house.
Yes! My nieces and nephew are all very good for their ages, 9, 11, 14. They live in a downtown area where people walk by a lot. Every time they have a family yard sale tons of people comment on how much they enjoy hearing the piano while passing by. I loved hearing them play while I was visiting, plus my sister is super diligent about them practicing and wow does it show.
Music spilling out of a stranger’s house is one of the most magical parts of city life. 🙂
Ah what a great post!
Beautiful shots (GORGEOUS model you hired 😊) and I love that you’re taking this up again Emily!
I was always Team “Real Pianos Only” until last year when our oldest started lessons and we learned that our real piano was terrible quality and not worth fixing.
When I asked his teacher (who is AMAZING and owns several pianos from a baby grand to a high-end electronic) for advice, she recommended electronic!
Since then I’ve been mulling this over so this post gives me a big confidence boost in that direction. And the idea that we could get one that looks good enough to live in our living room is a whole new angle.
Thank you Emily!
yes, for the kids this is a great way to begin….but it is just as important that you are experiencing so much joy and a return to a skill and practice from your hx. That is priceless.
Play on mom!
I have had an electronic piano in a “regular” piano frame like this for 20 years. (Like, it has a spot to insert a floppy disc, LOL). They are GREAT! And you do get a better sound than on a cheap piano, and you don’t have to tune it. My son has had so much fun growing up fooling around with the different bass beats, organ vs. piano effect, etc. He takes another instrument but has taught himself songs on this through youtube and plays it often, just for fun! Highly recommend. Your kids are going to love it.
Meant to say, ours is a Roland also – so I would speak to the longevity. No maintenance and sounds as good as when I got it as a gift from my mom. She knew I wanted one to keep playing but was still in the “moving a lot” phase of my life – it came with me to two apartments, my first house, and now the house I live with my husband. I do think yours looks nicer – they have improved on the “box” for sure. But feel good about your purchase – you will never regret it!
We have an electric keyboard, it’s super ugly. Yours is beautiful! Who knew such a thing existed?
We inherited ours, so I guess it is a family heirloom. It was top of the line about 30 years ago. Our kids love it bc it makes ALL of the annoying noises. They play crazy games around this thing- I think they are spaceship captains maybe? It involves lots of jumping around and dramatically smashing keys. So I’m glad it’s not precious.
My husband grew up with piano lessons (which he hated) so he has dreams of our kids taking them. He plays guitar very well, but he doesn’t want the kids to start on that for some musician-sounding reason that I can’t remember.
I had this idea that my son begin guitar only after piano lessons, and then maybe acoustic not electric. Anyway, what really happened is he began electric guitar lessons at 8 years old, went to a conservatory for college, and is now a working musician in LA. Which might be why your husband doesn’t want them to start on guitar haha!
This even makes me want to revisit playing the piano. What a fabulous–and fantastic looking–solution. Yay Hendersons!
And, dang, I need that light fixture somewhere in our house…
I’ve had a roland electric piano for 6 years now. It’s moved 3 times and it’s great!
I think you chose well for your family. My husband is a very advanced pianist and we got a baby grand just for him years ago. Now our children are playing and it is definitely a value to our family that they be able to play music. I loved sports as a kid, and tho they offer some long term benefits, the ability to play music is something you can benefit from the rest of those life. How many adults do you know who say they regret quitting? 🙋♀️ IMO, do not let your kids quit if you want them to play, it’s definitely one of those things children do not have the perspective on to understand why they should keep going even if they think they hate it. My sisters kids have all been playing since age 6 (now 9,11,14) and if they hadn’t pushed them to keep going they wouldn’t know their son has such a natural gift he could be a composer. That said, our piano has required a lot of work and maintenance; it is definitely a big commitment and not for everyone. But because my husband plays for his own enjoyment it is worth it… Read more »
I don’t know how you parted with that MCM acrosonic piano (from my cold dead hands). Those actually have a beautiful sound and are highly regarded and collectible. How unfortunate that someone misled you about its ability to be tuned and to sound nice. (Seriously, just Google the model and you can hear piano experts weigh in on the beautiful sound they have and why up until the 1970s that was the piano to have).
Also, this was a bit stressful to read about all of your issues with sounds. Have you tried meditation? Just seems like you are harboring a lot of anxiety and neuroses (be nicer to yourself, your knuckles are totally normal looking!) Music is joyful, volume up!
People on the internet are WILD, y’all. 😂
Susan, as an anxious, neurotic, sound-sensitive person, I can tell ya… being told I’m stressful to others or to “try meditation” has never (ever!) helped me in any way. To be told this by a stranger on the internet would probably make me cry. I’d challenge you to refocus on how kind it is of Emily to share her authentic self with us and try repaying that kindness with equally kind comments or just silence. I’d like to think you’re usually a lot nicer than this.
I read the blog for design content, I find the neurotic parts, extremely grating and to your point, I probably shouldn’t say anything or be reading the blog anymore as it increasingly leans in that direction of being a lot of long-winded anxiety riffs. (Seriously, do Emily and Brian just sit around all day kvetching about the travails of having to lace and unlace boots or fold clothes into a dresser? I just can’t with their constant complaining about life’s basic tasks) I try to avoid people who are super anxious and need to control everything and complain or whine or get the music turned down at a fun bar or restaurant at the expense of everyone’s enjoyment. Maybe that’s my version of being sensitive to noise? The world is an amazing thing to experience and having people who can’t be present bc someone is tapping their table nearby or their coffee isn’t hot enough are not my people. But point taken that there is no need for me to actually tell those people how I feel, much like I don’t want to know that my toddler’s joyful, uninhibited singing at the grocery store annoys you or anyone else. The… Read more »
Susan, I’ve never been more anxious then when I read this comment by you. Extremely rude and very weird. Are you OK?
You’re right, it is tiresome to read about whining and complaining. Thanks for demonstrating.
Susan, It seems like you don’t like Emily’s personality, her design choices or her personal choices. I strongly suggest you never read this website again. Anxiety is a real thing many people to deal with, but so is misplaced anger and resentment– Good luck finding peace.
I have the NIOSH app on my phone and most restaurants are way over the level that damages hearing. And as the mom of a daughter with congenital hearing loss, I do ask that the piped music come down to manageable levels. It doesn’t impair your ability to enjoy the music – in fact, its better as now the rest of the patrons are no longer having to shout over the loud music.
In a public place, a toddler singing ‘joyously’ loudly, can be another, equally entitled, patron’s nightmare. Especially if they’re at the end of their private tether.
I respect vigorous debate with a ranfe of strongly-held views (clearly), but your comment is selfish and constructs mean intent.
Yet here you are.. kvetching, when you could simply just not.
This tiny minority that sees the need to bash Emily and her choices every post is starting to really just get abusive. The team should just delete these posts. No one should be subjected to abuse like this every day.
I am a professional musician and I can’t stand constant barrages of sound and extra noise or loud noise… it’s like being at work constantly 24/7. Often in my downtime I listen to… silence
Emily says she walks around social events wearing visible noise cancelling headphones. That is just on another level then not wanting to be in a hotel kitchen during clean up or whatever. But as someone above said, this is obviously just not for me anymore. I’ll miss true design posts like yesterday’s, but best to sign off 🙂
You have the option of curating what you read here, scanning posts to see if they interest you and moving on if they don’t, in other words taking responsibility for your experience here instead of expecting the blog to cater to your preferences. I actually appreciate when Emily shares “real person” information and I too suffer from sound. I was relieved when Emily realized that having kids pounding on a real piano could be a horrible addition to the house. The keyboard piano is amazing!
I disagree, Emily sneaks in all kinds of body image and eating issues and other anxieties when you think you’ve come for a simple design post or are scrolling social, its suddenly guilt about eating chips and salsa or whatever. My main complaint is it has bled together so much it is impossible to curate. This post is a review of an electric piano from the title, but Emily even negs her own knuckles. I do share and support close friends with their anxiety, but I don’t love it when a stranger lays all their problems at my feet. Increasingly her blog posts are unedited and unfiltered and if her core audience appreciates her honesty and wants to hear about it, then that’s great. I don’t think it’s healthy to be blindsided with disordered eating comments or the minutiae of her thought processes when they are so negative. Every post is laced with so much negativity toward everything from weather, to noise, and so on, and reading this today, I realized how much negativity I have to wade through and absorb to get to the point of a post. So I am choosing to stop reading it. And I understand… Read more »
It’s possible that in certain situations, like with the knuckles, that Emily is trying to cut the trolls off at the pass, acknowledging her knuckles so that a half-dozen photo cops don’t feel obligated to point out that her knuckles are scuffed. I’m not offended by your feelings but I am also not offended by Emily; all the examples you give are ones that I just glossed right over while reading with a few exceptions that I just let go. I think that any time an influencer brings followers more deeply into her personal life, she’s going to have some readers who are thrilled to get to know her better flaws and all and some who are going to find out she’s not their cup of tea. I hope you can find a design blog that suits you.
This isn’t a train station. You don’t need to
announce your departure.
That is my take as well Alice. I read the personal explanations and self-deprecations in all Emily’s posts as attempts to forestall criticism in the comments. Sadly for her it is apparently futile. She is damned if she doesn’t explain her decisions in minute detail and also damned if she does. She is damned if she doesn’t weigh in on non-design issues and also damned if she does. Every decision she makes, every post she makes is picked apart to death. I’ve been reading this blog quite regularly for the last 2 months or so and I’ve been taken aback at the ratio of critical comments on Emily’s posts, compared with other contributors here, and also compared to other blogs. I suppose most blogs suppress them and I can see why.
Emily I think it’s clear you’re screwed either way. Since that is the case, feel free to err on the side of not explaining or apologizing for: your choices, your feelings, yourself (unless you want to).
She’s probably a highly sensitive person (it’s not a clinical condition) like 30 percent of the population. She’s a creative too and most creatives, psychologists and others, are HSP. Highly sensitive persons enjoy music, but puting too much stimuli at the same time can be overwhelming. It’s not related to anxiety or neurosis. It just is that some of us need, for example a quiet space to fully enjoy our meal or be able to read because our senses ( and it’s a strength) can in a much intense way absorb stimuli. We also notice a lot more around us than a typical person. It has downsides like being overstimulated or needing quiet after a noisy day. But it also gives us many advantages like I said. And some people might not be sensitive to noise. They might be sensitive to touch or to light. It’s also not as intense or painful effect as it could be on someone who has autism. But being more sensitive to stimuli and noticing more is what defines us.
Please have compassion for the different kinds of people in this world. Everyone is unique.
That’s exactly what I thought, Lane.
I’m a HSP and my friends and family ‘get’ it. I tolerate the volume, until I can’t and then gently ask/seek it to be turned down. Not off. Down. Everyone’s happy.
I think Emily’s wearing of headphones is really considerate of everyone else.
It’s unfair to shame someone for being real and vulnerable.
Susan, are you a piano restoration expert? Do you even know what all is involved in ‘rescuing’ a piano? When the sound board is broken or the case is warped, etc., sometimes it’s just freaking beyond repair. As for the rest of your diatribe, bugger off.
I would love to have you do a roundup review of all of the new types of earplugs that are out there now, Emily. I’m intrigued by the ads I’m served up on IG for earplugs that quiet background noise so that you can have a conversation in noisy places, earplugs that diminish the eating sounds for those with misophonia or whatever it’s called, etc. Sounds like you’d be a great person to test these all out and report back to us!
I second this!! Great suggestion.
Also the piano is super cute. Great alternative to the heirloom that’s in poor shape!
I theoretically want to inherit my moms beautiful grand (!!) piano that my brother and I took lessons on for years. I love when I go over to visit and the sound of my mom playing fills the house. I’m just so attached to it, and I don’t even play anymore. But then I’m like… where the hell would I put it? It would take up my entire living room with no room for furniture! So hopefully she keeps playing it for years and years and I’ll deal with that when I am old and rich and have a giant house (ha).
Hi Andrea! I haven’t tried the Loop Engage (for social settings/talking) yet but I got their Quiet earplugs for sleeping and I’m OBSESSED. Two months or so in, they are a huge huge improvement over foam earplugs (which made my ears hurt by morning) and the various other fancy ones I’d tried (Happy Ears, etc.). If you’re intrigued by the Engage, I think they have a pretty good return policy, though I actually got mine on Amazon during a sale around the holidays.
I have tried a couple. The Loop earplugs are nice, but because they go in the ear canal, they start to irritate me. I can’t wear earbuds, though. I can wear the Loop earplugs for short lengths of time.
Loop Experience Pro Earplugs -… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0968HW8GY?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
I prefer silicone earplugs that just cover the ear canal. They go in the outer ear. However, the Loop ones come with a case that make traveling with them easier.
Mack’s Pillow Soft Silicone… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003LZQGN6?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
I tried some other silicone earplugs that are reusable, but I don’t remember what I thought of them. Clearly they didn’t make an impression.
ROVAZO – Reusable Silicone Ear… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F3LN5QV?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share
I love the white oak. Also, it’s nice to know I’m not alone in sound sensitivity. I think part of it is motherhood—so overstimulated all the time, so my threshold of tolerance is lower. But seriously, why do they have to play the music in restaurants so freaking loud? You can’t even converse with your dinner date.
Kimberly – this is one reason I suggest people download the free NIOSH app on their phones. It instantly shows dynamic decibel levels and when they are in hearing danger zones. It’s a nice impartial third party that states an area is too loud without it relying on personal opinion. And it impacts restaurant staff who are going to suffer permanent hearing loss over their lifetime due to consistent noise abuse in the same way unprotected construction workers, etc. will.
So true and a great resource.
Thanks for sharing that, Cris.
I’m going to look for Australia’s version.
Emily the piano is beautiful, I also get pretty overstimated by sound at times. It used to be way worse, before having kids a TV on in the background would grind my gears. 5 kids later, I still get overwhelmed but my tolerance has gone up. It’s a refiners fire sort of situation I guess. I find that if I just go outside and take a minute or two of deep box style breathes I can normally recover my cool. Also, I know this is going to be controversial, but my husband is a smoker, he’s a software engineer and it is just part of who he is, and how he handles stress, anyway, I find that when box breathes don’t work, a small glass of red and a few drags off his cigarette or spliff at the end of the day can be really helpful. Generation self medication over here.
Why not lower the stimuli or find a healthier way to cope with stress? Some people are highly sensitive persons, actually a lot of people are. It might be helpful to know that and look into it.
That’s nice! I learned when I was a kid but I stopped because I didn’t like practicing! 🙁 But now I have had thoughts of playing again and electronic is the only way to go, for me. So it’s nice to see a piano like this! Enjoy!
That upper left art is by Kirill Bergart: https://counter-space.com/art-by-kirill-bergart. The lower left art is by Hagar Vardimon: https://hagarvardimon.com/art/lonley-houses-2013/
And Hagar Vardimon prints are available for purchase here: https://happyredfish.bigcartel.com/
source for the artwork on the upper right?
The wood piece? I see it behind the newly reupholsterd chaise in this 2020 post https://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/living-room-update-ideas-2020, but no source. I did find the artists for the large square neutral painting in the center: https://ninosstudio.com/collections/paintings
yes! i’ve seen it may times, but can’t find the source.
Sorry, I can’t find it either. Here are two vaguely similar things: https://www.rootandshoot.co.uk/shop/p/cedar-forest and https://makgoods.com/collections/all-products.
Found this amazing wood piece (again, not the same, but I had to share): https://www.blackwellwoodworks.com/store/blackwell-woodworks-geometric-wall-art-architectural-wood-panel-wooden-building-with-many-windows-janmadelgado-drawing
Oh so many thoughts on this!
First – thank you for this post! We currently have two not-so-nice-looking keyboards in our house, as both of our kids take lessons. I struggle as a designer with 1. my kids having fun (well one is having fun, the other is like an angry kangaroo) and learning, and 2. the aesthetics of it.
I am also super sensitive to noises! Everywhere. I was at Nordstrom Rack a few weeks ago and they were blasting music. But like, really bad music. I had to pop in my ear plugs. And I could still hear said bad music.
I forget what else I was going to say – so I guess that’s it!
“…the other is like an angry kangaroo”
This made me laugh so hard. Shout out to angry kangaroo kids and their moms everywhere.
I’m more interested in that adorable sweater.
The ivory one with the striped cuffs is The Ranch Cardiagn by The Great. https://www.saksfifthavenue.com/product/the-great-ranch-zip-cardigan-0400017390782.html
Hi Emily! I also *really* wanted a piano for our new home that we bought in October of 2020. I played piano as a child and there is something nostalgic about a piano in a house. I had the same conundrum- do I pay ALL this money to move a piano and get it tuned and in the end it may be crap OR do I just get an electric piano that isn’t quite as aesthetically beautiful, but will sound good and is ultimately cheaper?! I found a keyboard in a similar wood/box set up to yours that sort of looks real, but is for sure a keyboard, for $300 on Craigslist, and just went for it. It was the BEST decision. Immediately my son (7 years old) and I (37 years old) could start taking piano lessons and now we are just over a year into our lessons. We take them together (him 30 mins, me 30 mins) once a week and my dreams of having a home with piano music in it have been realized. I too love that we can turn the volume up or down, but I wish I had the headphone jack. That’s smart! My… Read more »
Melissa this is so encouraging! Thank you!
Oooooo! I want to see if this would fit in the small space I have available but I can’t find dimensions.
Check under “Specs” here: https://www.roland.com/us/products/hp700_series/hp704/
Off-topic question here: who is the artist who made the wood sculpture that hangs on the wall above the piano? I first noticed it in your last living room and it’s so cool.
I love this and you’ve likely inspired me to copy you once we move to a proper house from our flat! BUT, fyi to all the purist readers out there – my professional musician pal (flautist to be fair) has a Yamaha proper piano with some kind of rig I don’t understand the technology of that lets it be quiet/headphones!!! I’ll ask and post an update when she replies. Always seemed like magic to me.
Can you please link to the beautiful wood art? I’ve seen it before in your previous living room and I’m always looking for a source. Please and thank you!
I love this piano. I’ve been covering the Roland 704 since Studio McGee put it in their home. (That’s the first place I saw it.) So happy for you. Keep on playing on!
Yes! We did the same. Bought an electric piano to learn 3 years ago and JUST bought a “real” piano, but kept the electric and put it in my son’s room so he can practice at 10:30 pm like he likes to do. 🙂 I really like the wood look of yours.
My mom has that same mid-century piano, and I agree that the sound on that sucker is loud! We used to lay felt over the strings to dampen the noise. Being easily overwhelmed or sensitive to sounds is actually a pretty common ADHD trait. I have ADHD and I regularly use noise-cancelling headphones to drown out “kid noise,” and although I love the look of an upright piano, I just can’t let go of my electronic piano and that sweet, sweet volume control knob.
Was just about to comment the same! Both myself and my two oldest children have ADHD and the noise sensitivity is REAL. My daughter (12) was actually diagnosed with Auditory Processing Disorder about 4 years ago, which has a high incidence of comorbidity with ADHD, so I’ve just assumed that my noise issues stemmed from something similar.
One of my favorite childhood memories was listening to my mom play ESPECIALLY her mistakes. It’s good to see your mom be human and push thru things and keep trying. (Also, we teased her because she talked to herself during her mistakes which is now charming).
Just some food for thought.
We have a vintage electric piano in a kids bedroom (regular piano in the living room) and I love that she can pound away at nighttime after we’ve all gone to bed!
Kinda off-topic, but you might enjoy the movie The Fabelmans – the mother, played by Michelle Williams, is a fabulous pianist. Really lovely family drama.
Love this! I wanted to buy a “real” and “pretty” piano and finally went to a piano store and learned same as you – the pretty ones don’t sound great. I wanted to share what I landed on as a possible next step for you – I have an electric Kawai upright piano. It only came in lacquered white or black, but I had the black professionally sanded so it’s matte. Great sound and looks pretty good, but the finger prints are horrible.
A piano only lasts about 100 years before the sound board dies. See The Piano Book.
Beautiful piano! I have a serious question that maybe someone here could answer, how hard would it be for an adult to learn to play the piano with an electric one similar to Emily’s? I never had the opportunity to learn any instruments as a kid, but my son is learning cello this year in school and it’s reignited my childhood dream of learning piano. Anyone have any insights to share?
You can totally do this! Yes, kids’ brains are more agile for learning stuff, but adult brains are more experienced, so there are some concepts you’ll pick up faster than if you were a kid. Plus you won’t whine about practicing since you’re already motivated 🙂
That’s reassuring! I’m not very musically inclined but I think in this case being an adult will probably help!
You should absolutely do it! I’m a piano professor and PhD student in Musicology and I have taught students of all ages – music is for everybody! It takes adults a little longer, but that’s mostly because there are so many other priorities crowding our brains! The best thing you can do is find a teacher who supports your musical goals and can encourage you to find joy in the process. And unless you are a professional musician, the best piano to learn on is one that you like to play, you can afford, and fits in your house. If you become serious in your studies at some point, you can always re-evaluate your instrument situation, but especially when you are a beginner, just get something that sounds and feels good – and get a comfortable bench! Best of luck!
Thanks for the encouragement! I’m going to research some pianos/keyboards and see what I can find and hopefully get started on this dream!
I LOVE the look of this keyboard so so much but the price is too high for me. In case anyone else felt the same, I did a quick search online and found some great alternatives to this between $300 – $700 on Etsy and also from Donner.
Very pretty! I’ve been looking for a new piano and hadn’t considered electric. I have mostly dark wood in the room and darker HW floors. . Would the light oak be a good choice for me? I don’t like the rosewood and love the lighter oak color.
loved this! We bought our house a year ago, and it came with a piano. Specifically an 100yr old square grand piano. It’s a BEAUTIFUL instrument, but short of a $20k+ restoration, it will never sound good again. We jumped through hoops with three different experts, and finally came to the conclusion that it is now a piece of furniture, and no longer an instrument. But, I can’t bring myself to get rid of it?? It’s been in our house since the house was built! We’re also facing the same conundrum with a pool table in the basement…upside of that is it has been restored. To keep the history? Or replace with something that functions?? I don’t know the right answer, but really appreciate your sharing!
I have a Clavinova 505 that’s 11 years old. I use it for my voice students. I play it and I love the functionality. While you don’t have to tune it, please check with Roland to see about having it serviced annually. Dust accumulates in between the keys, not to mention little pieces of paper (post-it note, cough drop wrappers!!), eraser shavings, etc. It’s a beautiful instrument and I’m so glad you’re playing again. 🙂
We inherited a very good electric piano when my dad decided to upgrade his (he plays for several hours a day) and it’s wonderful to have in the house. My kids are still young and in the “make up their own songs/press all the buttons phase” so having both a volume control and headphone is amazing – they can be as nosy as they like and not disturb the rest of the house. They also like to “practice” their songs (noise) with the headphones on so when they are ready to “have a concert” it’s a surprise for the listener
My grandma bought me an electric piano when I was 10. I loved learning and playing on it as a kid. I especially loved using headphones as I was learning a piece so no one had to hear my mistakes. Although it is not as beautiful as yours, I still have it and still play it and it still sounds amazing (no tuning required). I think its a great choice!
From a practical point of view, the decision to get a digital piano completely makes sense. Have you however seen the Kiyola KF 10 from the same brand? It’s magnificent and I would have thought a perfect fit for your esthetic. https://www.roland.com/global/products/kiyola_kf-10/
That one is great too. But you can’t style the top of it: no place for lamps or plants.
Digital pianos are the best option for the vast majority of people these days. You can get a nice keyboard style one with weighted keys for under $200 and even the highest quality most expensive ones are a fraction of the cost of a “real” piano. They require no maintenance, they don’t need to be babied in regards to temperature and humidity, and as you point out they’re pretty easily movable.
We almost got a Roland but at the time they didn’t have any really attractive ones so that and the reviews tipped me over into the Korg G1 Air which looks very similar to yours but is a bit curvier. It sounds amazing and I enjoy being able to switch between different pianos and organs to fit the music that I’m playing.
This post prompted me to look into the realistic life span of our beloved family piano. It’s been shifted from house to house without every really ‘fitting’ anywhere and has been out of tune for years. The reality, it turns out, is that it will cost thousands, £4k ish, to tune, something we’ll never be able to justify. This post was the nudge I needed to look my relationship with the piano square in the face and accept that it’s time to say goodbye. Thank you