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How did you fit an organ into your house?

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  • How did you fit an organ into your house?

    What’sin your music room?
    This all started with the wife needing a practice organ at home. We found a suitable instrument (an Allen MDS-16), took measurements, and decided that yes we do have room for 1 more instrument (barely). I’m starting this thread in the hope that someone may get some inspiration from how we made it all work AND that others will chime in with their solutions to a problem that is pretty much unique to organists. In our case, the organ had to fit into our existing music room along with a grand piano, cello, and still leave room for chamber group rehearsals.


    Step1 – build a platform/dolly for the organ console so it can beeasily moved for cleaning and maintenance. Platform needs to be aslow a profile as possible, have casters that do not mar the floor,and have a finished appearance suitable for a home setting. A construction drawing is detailed in the file OrganPlatform.pdf. The photo 1OrganPlatform.JPG shows the finished platform. 2OrganOnPlatform.JPG shows the platform with the organ on it. The Allen speakers are wrapped in an off-white grille cloth that matches the decor and installed on a plant shelf at the 9 foot level. Thankfully, we have 12 foot ceilings.




    Step2 – make some space. The photo 3MusicRoomB4.JPG shows just how“cozy” the music room has now become. Yes, It all works, but maneuvering around takes utmost care. Getting into the file drawers behind the piano for sheet music is a real issue. After much head scratching and doodling, a plan begins to take shape. Since the lateral file drawers are not an efficient (or convenient) format for storing sheet music, they are the first casualty. A storage room adjoins the wall behind them, so, why not cut a hole in the wall so the back of the organ console can be accessed via the store room leaving the front of the console protruding into the music room only as much as necessary. Music storage will then move to shallow bookcases on the opposite wall. As crazy as this all sounds, after checking the structural requirements and drawing up plans, a building permit is readily obtained and we’re (gulp!) ready to go. Music is boxed up and removed (probably the most difficult part of this whole project) and the file drawers are torn out. A tarp is hung to minimize dust and debris getting into the house. (See 5MusicRmConstruction.JPG) I won’t go into details on how I constructed the “hole in the wall”. If you already know how, I would bore you, if you don’t, we haven’t enough space in this forum to give the subject justice. Suffice it to say that after about a month of work, the organ console (on its platform) is slid into its new home. (See 6MusicRmModsComplete.JPG) See next post... forum limits 5 attachments per post.


    Step3 – new music storage bookcases. Found an on-line source of custom cut and finished customer installable kitchen cabinets. The delivery truck arrives, and after about 2 days work, we have storage cabinets. Another few days of final touch up, and we’re done. (See7MusicRmStorage.JPG)


    All in all, we’re pleased with the results. While not exactly spacious, the setup meets our needs and the organ doesn’t look like an afterthought. :->
    Attached Files
    Last edited by smithge31419; 07-22-2018, 03:45 PM.

  • #2
    More photos.
    Attached Files

    Comment


    • #3
      smithge31419,

      Thank you for sharing your music room/organ room experiences with us. I especially appreciated your platform design. Your organ must be in the T-style console, as the D-style console requires a 66"x66" platform.

      You can check out prior threads of building platforms here:
      I really like your platform--it is classy, low-profile, and quite nice. It fits the decor of your home well.

      My needs are a bit different because I'm moving them around frequently, and often they need to clear a threshold. However, for your situation, it's nice to see the adaptations you have made.

      I do have one question--Are the cabinets on either side of the organ, as well as the ones near the main hallway where you store your music? I'm building a practice space right now, and I'm at the point of deciding storage possibilities. If those cabinets are for music, it looks like the doors make for a cleaner look than open shelves (like I was considering). The doors also prevent issues with dust & debris. Do you find the music next to the door hinges is a bit difficult to retrieve?

      Thanks again for sharing your plans and photo! Very informative.

      Michael
      Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
      • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
      • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
      • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

      Comment


      • #4
        That looks awesome. How far does the back of the organ extend into the storage room? What did you use for infill between the opening and the organ? I would really like to see pictures (or an explanation) of how the music cabinets are organized. I have a filing cabinet for my music but over time the music ends up stacked in a mess on the organ. I would really like a better idea.

        My wife wishes we could do something like your setup. The organ definitely dominates the living room (11ft x 14ft with 8ft ceilings) in our house. Sadly, we can't embed the organ in a wall like you did. Maybe, someday we will have a house that we could do that with.
        Click image for larger version

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        Last edited by samibe; 07-22-2018, 09:21 PM.
        Sam
        Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
        Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

        Comment


        • #5
          An ingenious solution. Just for my curiosity: why did you choose to build the organ into the wall and not the bookcases?

          Comment


          • #6
            Answers to questions

            Here's some clarification that should answer the posted questions.

            The cabinets immediately to each side of the organ are deep enough to store traditional organ music that is printed "landscape". Also good for large 3-ring binders. The corner cabinets are even deeper. The left hand one is used for storing the spare cello and second cello case. The right hand one contains my CD collection. The "wall" of cabinets opposite the organ are sized just deep enough to hold a 3-ring binder. Individual cabinet width was limited to 27 inches so that the doors do not intrude much into the music room when open. Music is organized generally by instrument and genre. My wife has cataloged it all in a searchable spreadsheet, so the standard practice for finding a selection is to look up the Title/Composer/Artist...etc to find the location. Each publication has a sticker detailing where it is stored so it gets returned to its proper home. This is really handy for finding a particular selection that is contained in a collection. The stiles on the cabinets don't protrude much, so getting the music at the end of each shelf is not difficult. Music that is being actively worked on gets stuck in the cabinet just to the right of the organ. When no longer "active" it goes back to its "home". Yes, this takes some discipline, but we sure don't waste much time trying to find music.
            See photos 10MusicCabinetOpen.JPG and 11OrganCabinetLeft.JPG.

            The Organ protrudes about 9 inches into the storage room. I constructed a lightweight filler out of 1/8-inch plywood and square molding that slides onto the organ and pushes up against the wall. It is lined with some leftover carpet from the platform so it doesn't scratch the organ. This allows the organ some freedom of movement and yet the whole thing looks built-in. See photos 8OrganBackside.JPG and 9OrganFrong.JPG.

            The decision to make the hole in the wall just for the organ was dictated by cost and project complexity. The wall is a structural wall. The organ hole could be constructed with just an 8 foot long 4x8 header beam. Burying the cabinets into the wall would have required a much longer (and larger) beam. If we had chosen that route, we might as well have knocked out the whole wall.
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for your clarification. I like your thin carpet padding. That is great idea for keeping the organ from getting scraped up.
              For your 3-ring binders, do you keep the music in page protectors or just 3-hole punch the sheet music? Do music books get placed next to the binders or do they get punched and added to a binder?
              Using a spreadsheet to organize all of the music is a brilliant idea. I'm going to try that for organizing my much smaller music library.
              Sam
              Home: Allen ADC-4500 Church: Allen MDS-5
              Files: Allen Tone Card (TC) Database, TC Info, TC Converter, TC Mixer, ADC TC SF2, and MOS TC SF2, ADC TC Cad/Rvt, MOS TC Cad/Rvt, Organ Database, Music Library, etc. PM for unlinked files.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by samibe View Post
                Using a spreadsheet to organize all of the music is a brilliant idea. I'm going to try that for organizing my much smaller music library.
                A spreadsheet is meant to make calculations. To organise collections you need a database or a dedicated program.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Havoc View Post
                  A spreadsheet is meant to make calculations. To organise collections you need a database or a dedicated program.
                  Unless you know how to use a spreadsheet for those purposes. Filters become your best friend.

                  Michael
                  Way too many organs to list, but I do have 5 Allens:
                  • MOS-2 Model 505-B / ADC-4300-DK / ADC-5400 / ADC-6000 (Symphony) / ADC-8000DKC
                  • Lowrey Heritage (DSO-1)
                  • 11 Pump Organs, 1 Pipe Organ & 7 Pianos

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow ! That is an absolutely Elegant solution to fitting an organ into a smaller room ! And very nicely done too. Excellent job all the way around. From conceiving the idea to making it a finished project.

                    I have to say that I have never considered that method, but I really like it, and actually may use it at some point.

                    I see it looks like you moved the latches for the back panel of the organ from the inside to the outside. That was one of the first issues that came to mind when you said you could access the inside of the organ from the other room. One could just leave it off in that situation though - no one would know.

                    Does that console have internal speakers ? Or is that a speaker finished in white up high on the wall on the right side ? Allen external speakers are big, and hard to locate in homes sometimes.

                    The platform looks very nicely done too. In my previous home I had hardwood floors like you do, and I just put my ADC-6000 on squares of commercial carpet ( carpet upside down ), and it sild very nicely when I needed to move it around.

                    The things we have to do to make organs fit where we want them -- If there is a will there IS a way !
                    Regards, Larry

                    At Home : Yamaha Electones : EX-42 ( X 3 !!! ), E-5AR, FX-1 ( X 2 !! ), US-1, EL-25 ( Chopped ). Allen 601D, ADC 6000D. Lowrey CH32-1. At Churches I play for : Allen Q325 ( with Vista ), Allen L123 ( with Navigator ). Rodgers 755. 1919 Wangerin 2/7 pipe organ.

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