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high desert. small house.

The Piano Arrivith: 1985 Kawai US-50

Once upon a time, when we were moving out of our home in CT, we moved a piano by ourselves.  At the time, we had been planning on building our tiny home in CT.  Our middle stage involved selling our house and moving into a rental.  This new abode was only a mile down the street and we would save $200-$300 by moving the piano ourselves.  (I think the truck was $20-$30 and the dollies were less than $20.)

This is our old house - The upper floor of the garage was somewhere between 400-430 square feet, about the same as our entire house now. The home itself was 1516 square feet and that did NOT include the full basement (which was primarily used for ping pong and laundry...in that order).

This is our old house – The upper floor of the garage was somewhere between 400-430 square feet, about the same as our entire house now. The home itself was 1516 square feet and that did NOT include the full basement (which was primarily used for ping pong and laundry…in that order).

The organ dollies we used were essential in making this a straight-forward and safe (for both the people and the piano) operation.  Many places rent them (such as this place) and for a pretty penny, you can purchase them (such as the ones offered here).

We backed the rental truck as close to the door as we could, extended the ramp from the truck to the landing and rolled the piano in.  Our tie-down operation was not all that reassuring but it got the job done.  I rode in the back with the piano in case I needed to do any emergency saves (what was I thinking?!) and Brian drove us.

We did the same process at the nearby rental – we backed the truck up to the doorway.  This was trickier than the first time because the house had an exterior door, a 4 foot deep sun-room and then the main door.  The two doors were offset by about 6″ so we had to get the ramp lined up on a diagonal while also keeping it flat.  This required innumerable attempts backing up the truck.  Did I mention we were also doing this in the dark?

I can't find any pictures of the rental we lived in for 2 months so here is a photo of our lovely yard. This is less than half of it - we had 3 acres with lots of garden beds and a great climbing rope.

I can’t find any pictures of the rental we lived in for 2 months so here is a photo of our lovely yard. This is less than half of it – we had 3 acres with lots of garden beds and a climbing rope.  Great privacy from all those trees and excellent space for frisbee with dog or human.

By the way, our rental house in CT was about 1,000 square feet and we lived there for 2 months.  Prior to moving in, we spent 6-8 months selling stuff.  During our 2 month stay, we sold more junk and gave away whatever we didn’t want prior to the major move.  You can see all of our remaining stuff crammed into an 8x8x5 u-box in this post.

After deciding Silver City was where we wanted to build, we rented a 450-500 square foot mobile home, stayed there for 4 months and then moved into a 450 square foot apartment.  We lived there from April 2015 to July 2016, essentially the window of time during which we were building.

When we were originally considering downsizing, I read many websites that suggested moving into progressively smaller homes.  I thought that was ridiculous and would result in an exhaustive waste of time spent moving.  However, our transition to our current home unfolded in more or less that manner:  1500 sq ft ….1000 sq ft ….. 500 sq ft …… 450 sq ft ……. and then 450 sq ft house.

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So here we are again….We purchased a piano and *could* have moved it ourselves.  The factors encouraging us in the direction of doing it ourselves started with estimates from two (third party) moving companies that said it would cost a little more than $1000.  WHAT?!  Additionally, a 3 hour transport operation is a whole lot different than a one mile deal AND it would require an entire day of our time.  The truck would also no longer qualify as an ‘in town’ move and would cost $200 + gas.

When the dealer came through with his mover (a professional piano guy) quoting $450, we immediately agreed.

So, the piano…

We had a very satisfying sales experience with John, the owner of the Simon Gallery of Fine Pianos & Fine Art (website here).  We contemplated waiting and visiting more dealers and setting up some craigslist appointments.  But the time involved in driving everywhere just didn’t seem worth potentially getting a ‘better deal’, if there was even one out there.

The Boston piano was newer and very nice but ultimately, the Kawai was a better fit.  In addition to its lovely sound and feel, I like the big music desk and the pedals are perfectly suited for my degree of ankle dorsiflexion.  My previous piano, the Kawai UST-8, and the Boston 118 we played at John’s, are both ‘institutional’ models with big castors that elevate the pedals a little more than ‘home’ pianos.  It made it really hard to play before and influenced how long I would want to play in one sitting.

After doing some research, I came across this post and this post (the second one says it is about a different model but if you keep reading, you’ll find both links are talking about the same one).  The fervor and enthusiasm in the way the author’s describe their playing experiences on the Kawai US-50 match exactly how I felt when I played it.  After consulting my childhood piano teacher, who then went over some details with a colleague of his (a local Kawai dealer), I decided that this piano was the one for me!

Our Tuesday night prep:

We organized and sorted the tools, removing certain items to the shed and leaving others in a pile near Brian's desk.

We organized and sorted the tools, removing certain items to the shed and leaving others in a pile near Brian’s desk.

As seen from the other side - the box tower to the left of the dog crate contains items to be sold or donated.

As seen from the other side – the box tower to the left of the dog crate contains items to be sold or donated.

The piano wall!

The piano wall awaits!

The piano arrivith:

The mover had a pickup truck and a custom made, enclosed trailer that looked like it was from outer space. They backed the trailer right up to our steps and moved the piano onto their ramp.

The mover had a pickup truck and a specially modified enclosed trailer that looked like it was from outer space. They backed the trailer right up to our steps and moved the piano onto their ramp.

After getting it up the steps (featured image at top), this was probably the most intense moment. They had to turn it up and onto the landing and then navigate it through the door.

After getting it up the steps (featured image at top), this was probably the most intense moment. They had to turn it up and onto the small landing and then navigate it through the door.  The guy inside the house was the owner and was an absolute piano moving magician.

And it is in place! They swung it off the dolly with the greatest of ease. After the careful positioning of the trailer, the piano moving and placement took less than 5 minutes.

And it is in place! They swung it off the dolly with the greatest of ease. After the careful positioning of the trailer, the piano moving and placement took less than 5 minutes.

I should have turned off the light but I was too overcome with excitement to think about what would make the best picture.

I should have turned off the light but I was too overcome with excitement to think about what would make the best picture.  Wow, the piano even matches the induction burner.

Wow, check out the perfectly placed outlet and light switch.

Wow, check out the perfectly placed outlet!  It’s almost like this wall was designed with a piano in mind!

2 Comments

  1. woohoo!

  2. Very Nice

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