“In keeping with the idea that it is the male who will use the room the majority of the time, I might incorporate a comfortable chair and a humidor – create a place where the homeowner can smoke cigars,” adds McGowan.
Dave Heigl, director, CabinetWerks Design Studio, in Lincolnshire, IL, reports that his firm did a wine cellar where the client requested just this. “So, we put in a smoke eater and ventilation to take the smoke out,” he reports. “It’s not ideal for the hard-core wine enthusiast, but he wanted to smoke cigars while he was drinking his wine.”
More than other rooms in the home, each wine room is distinctive to its owner, kitchen and bath designers agree.
“One owner’s cellar featured a great deal of German wines, so we kept to that theme with some artwork featuring German vineyards and bottle racking for the long slim (Alsatian) bottles,” reports Art Bogue, designer, Bilotta Kitchens in New York.
“Often, clients have collected ceramics, enamel tabletops, artwork or something exotic from Europe – especially Italy – that they want incorporated into the space,” adds Hamilton-Gray.
The lighting used in these rooms can help to amp up the desired effect, and boost profits.
“I think the lighting in a wine room should always be demure and dramatic,” offers Hamilton-Gray. “I don’t think it has to be a bright room at all. The whole ambiance is created by the mystery.”
Decorative lighting can include wall sconces, and wrought iron fixtures and chandeliers work well for the more rustic-style wine room. “The lighting can be extravagant, because the rest of the room tends to be a bit plain. With the lighting, you’re enhancing the wine stored in it. It can be a great profit area.”
Though McGowan is in favor of very low lighting in these rooms, she also stresses the need for variable lighting. “We like to include recessed cans on dimmers, so if you really need to turn the lights up, it gives you that control,” she explains. Ambient lighting from the ceiling works well, as does low-voltage lighting where the wine is stored at an angle. “This allows for viewing of the bottles,” she comments. “It’s not a harsh light, but it’s bright enough to read the labels.”
Since the wine tasting room has not traditionally been a part of the home, designers and homeowners have had to be creative with regard to where they are being placed. Space is being “stolen” from a variety of areas in the home, and even created by digging out under the house.
Of course, the space being created for these rooms helps to determine how simple or elaborate the wine room is to become. The number of bottles to be stored is also a factor.
“I would say 85% of wine rooms and wine cellars are on the lower level,” offers Heigl. “People just seem to think that’s where they should be. But, in a lot of the houses that we do, people entertain on the lower level, because that’s where the home theater is.”
But for some designers like Hamilton-Gray, basements are not common in the homes she works on, so main-level wine rooms are typical. “We place the room where the family lives, and in proximity to the kitchen,” she notes.
“It could be a living room that you’re transforming, or a library that would act as both a library and a wine room,” stresses Ypsilantis.
Many designers are also creating rooms from lesser-used areas on the main level, such as laundry rooms and even showers.
“I have made countless closets into wine cellars,” reports Bogue. “Since some closets are already in the cooler, darker areas of the house, they can be easily converted into a cheap and effective wine cellar.”
Racks and Stacks
The amount of space available and the types of items to be stored are keys to determining what types of storage will be included in the room itself. In addition, the choice between rustic and elegant comes into play when choosing storage elements.
In traditional wine cellars, racking systems are the key components for storing wine bottles. In a wine room, where wine bottles will be displayed, racks need to be not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing as well.