Thursday, May 17, 2012 2:22 PM EDT
Continuing our series on DIYs from Saint John’s Opera Bistro makeover, today I’m going to show you how to transform an old piano — not to affect the sound, of course, but the look. Upright (or, vertical) pianos are things of beauty, to be sure, but they take up a great deal of physical and visual — and sometimes mental — real estate. If you have a piano eating space and creating clutter, but aren’t ready to part with it, consider giving it a new and colourful lease on life. (Note: If your piano is a cherished heirloom, this do-it-yourself is probably not for you.) All design ideas were conceived and carried out by Punch Inside, Creative Director, Judith Mackin.
Opera Bistro’s piano, after the makeover. Photo by Hemmings House.
• White alkyd paint for piano, black alkyd paint for bench
• Décor (optional): cut birch, frames, loose music sheets, vases
STEP 1: Brush Up!
This DIY’s pretty straightforward. For the first step, simply paint the entire exposed piano body, and the piano stool, with alkyd paint — oil-based, and very resistant to wear and tear (great for high-traffic areas) — in the colour(s) of your choice. Apply the recommended number of applications and make sure each coat is very dry before applying the next one.
Opera Bistro’s piano, before the makeover. Photo by Judith Mackin.
As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, we went with white and black paint, in keeping with the logo and the motifs throughout the made-over restaurant. Also, by painting the piano white and the bench black, the bench could serve as a piece of furniture in its own right in addition to a visual counterpoint to the piano.
STEP 2: Accessorize!
While accessories are not technically part of the makeover, they do have their function, beyond event he aesthetic. An unoccupied, flat surface in a high-traffic area is a magnet for clutter. Accessories stake a claim on the space, make that space beautiful, and keep it that way. For our piano decorations, we used birch of various widths cut to various heights. (Grouping similar objects of varying size creates the illusion of depth of field.) For fancy occasions, add tea lights and dim the electric fixtures!
Detail: Tord Boontje “Thinking of You” vases, mixed with chopped birch and tea lights. Photo by Hemmings House.
Here’s a great idea for a thematic accessory: Instead of putting sheet music on the piano, turn your sheets into works of art by framing them. We added whimsical silver vases (Tord Boonjte “Thinking of You” vases, available at Tuck Studio). Similar to the piano paint, the colours and texture of the vases (the birch, too) continue our black-and-white Opera theme.
Detail: Framed music sheet on piano shelf. Photo by Hemmings House.
Guests might suspect that you got a new piano. Certainly, with a little bit of creative effort, you’ll be giving your old one a new lease on life. Best part: If you could play it before, you can still play it now!
Next in Judith Mackin’s DIY makeover series: How to create your own eating nook