My mom’s great-great grandfather Jacob Zech and his brother were piano makers from San Francisco in the 1800’s. Â They made grand pianos, upright pianos, and even some beautifully unique square grand pianos.
For as long as I can remember, we’ve had one of their masterpieces in our living room… a 9 1/2 foot concert grand, hand-carved from Hawaiian Koa wood. Â Â
In 2007, a piano restorer from Santa Cruz purchased an old Zech piano and fully restored it during the Dot-Com Boom, hoping that someone in San Francisco would want to purchase it as a lovely piece of local history. Â However, the economy began to turn and he was having trouble finding a buyer. Â He also got a new job and plannedÂ to close his shop, so this pianoÂ had to go. Somehow, he found out that my mom was a Zech relative, and even though she already had a piano he contacted her to see if anyone else in the family was interested.
I tend to be a bit on the sentimental side, and it suddenly became extremely important to keep this newly rediscovered Rosewood beauty in the family. Â So I convinced Ryan to take the drive to Santa Cruz “just to check it out” Â (haha!). Â We brought my mom and Ryan’s mom along, and when Ryan’s mom played it, she cried. Â Neither one of us play (unless you count the brief period of time when I took Suzuki piano lessons around 9 years old), but we wrote a check that evening, and made plans to have it moved to our home in Modesto.When we moved to Chicago we feared that shipping it cross-country (twice) would destroy it, so a friend of ours generously agreed to keep it in (what used to be) his dining room while we were gone. Â That was seven years ago.
Matt was ready to have his dining room back, and we had come to our senses a bit (considering we’ll be inheriting my mother’s piano when the time comes) and decided to try to find a new home for ours. Â We offered it to family members, but no one was interested. Â We even tried selling it to a nearby winery whose owner has a love affair with antiques. Â He suggested getting it appraised, and we were dismayed to find that in the current market (which is practically non-existent for a piano of this size) it’s only worth about $1500. Â Eek!
That’s when my mother-in-law stepped in and admitted to her growing affection for this massive piece of furniture. Â Despite already having two grand pianos and a harp in her home, she agreed to have it moved into her living room. Â I was worried she’d regret her decision, but it’s lovely to look at and will be lovely to play once it’s tuned up. Â We’re grateful to be able to keep it in the family for at least a few more years, and we’re looking forward to having the boys put it to good use as soon as Grandma starts teaching them how to play 🙂