From the category archives:


20110630-095300.jpgClockwise from left: The Finished ‘First Lady Piano’ at the Steinway & Sons factory in NYC, The Blue Room at the White House, Detail of the final embroidered medallion used to create the Piano Bench fabric

Collaborations can be so rewarding, especially when you have an opportunity to work with other professionals who are at the top of their field. This was certainly the case on a recent project involving Steinway and Sons, Artist Rick Muto and Embroidery Artisans at Penn & Fletcher. The concept for this piano was conceived by Performer-Singer-Pianist Michael Feinstein as a vehicle to raise money at an auction for the Alzheimer’s Foundation. Titled “First Lady Piano” because it would be personally signed by all the Living First Ladies.

Steinway & Sons provided the baby grand piano and shipped components to Decorative Arts Studio in Rochester, NY where Rick Muto designed and painted a beautiful spring-time image of the White House framed in branches of cherry blossoms. The color palette for the imagery was inspired by famous White House’s Blue Room. The staff at Robin Muto Interiors researched fabric resources to upholster the piano seat. We discovered that the original fabric was custom made by Scalamandre, who offered to reproduce the fabric. The amount of fabric required to create the seat cushion did not justify the costs of setting up looms to weave the pattern. As it turned out, the perfect shade of blue silk was found at Brunschswig & Fils and the gold medallion motif was embroidered by Penn & Fletcher from detailed drawings done by Rick Muto.

For additional images on the design process to create this piano, please see the previous blog.



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‘First Lady Piano’

by Robin Muto on July 4, 2011

in Design Team,Historic,Interior Design

Here are some images of the design process for ‘The First Lady Piano’.  You can see more of these images and the finished piano by going to the next post titled ‘A Little Red, White & a Whole Lotta Blue’.


Clockwise from left: 1) Concept drawing for the ‘First Lady Piano’ by Steinway and Sons, 2) Concept drawing for the ‘First Lady Piano’ Bench, 3) Design by Rick Muto for Custom Embroidery, 4) Embroidery Selections by Penn & Fletcher

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East Ave. Kitchen Project – chapter five

May 10, 2010

~Chapter Five: Wining and Dining~ Old house restoration is often a balancing act between creating a museum and creating a comfortable home.  Just as there are levels of skill based designers and craftspeople today, so it was with the past.  Even famous architects do not always produce great works. This kitchen was originally design for […]

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East Ave. Kitchen Project – chapter four

March 26, 2010

~Chapter Four: The Big Squeeze~ Renovating an historically significant home can be difficult since often times people feel a sense of stewardship rather than a sense of ownership of such properties. Finding the right balance between charm and function usually boils down to sacrificing one thing to gain another. In this chapter of our kitchen […]

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East Ave. Kitchen Project – chapter three

February 27, 2010

~Chapter Three: Romancing the Stove~ One of the challenges in designing this kitchen was finding the space to add a center island and additional counter space with stools for casual dining.  The existing kitchen and laundry room were to remain as two separate rooms.  Since we were not building an addition to the kitchen, we […]

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East Ave. Kitchen Project – chapter two

February 6, 2010

~ Chapter Two: No Turning Back Now ~ Let’s face it, some people like to cook, but we all love to eat. As they say: “food is the great equalizer” (I love that expression).   The dining experience is the main event bringing friends and family together.  Not only do my clients love to cook but […]

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East Ave. Kitchen Project – chapter one

February 3, 2010

~ Chapter One: In the Beginning ~ Once upon a time there was a very nice couple who lived peacefully in a beautiful house set into a lovely landscaped yard in Rochester’s prized East Ave historic district.  They loved to cook and entertain their friends but unfortunately the existing kitchen was not up to pare.  […]

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Democrat and Chronicle – A tour steeped in history

May 16, 2004

Rare two-day event will open doors in Mt. Hope neighborhood.   By Todd Grady Staff Writer (May 28, 2004) – The Mt. Hope/Highland Preservation District is considered by local historians to be one of Rochester’s most treasured areas. Next weekend, the doors or gates at 13 sites in the district will open to give people […]

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