Great Spaces: A Clever Way to Store Wine

This magical closet under the stairs isn't a holding cell for Harry Potter. It's a wine cellar.
Boyle Case 28724

Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

As Sheila and Brian Boyle were looking to downsize from their Potomac, Maryland, home in 2016, they spotted a townhouse in central McLean that appealed to them, in part, because it had an expansive lower level that could accommodate their Steinway grand piano, and where Brian, a concert-level amateur pianist, could host recitals.

But the clunky, ’80s-era bar that ate up the center of the lower level had to go. They asked designers Samantha Klickna and Elena Eskandari of Case Design/Remodeling to craft a more functional wet bar along a rear wall, and to find space for their 300-bottle wine collection. “My husband’s quite an oenophile,” Sheila says.

They pictured a storage solution that was a step up from the wine cellar they had built themselves in the other house: “We wanted something a little more sophisticated, and very cool looking.”

An unused closet under the stairs became the obvious spot to tuck away all that wine, but it required a retrofit. While Eskandari designed a new bar area, Klickna transformed the closet cavity into a temperature-controlled wine cellar lined in walnut, with brushed-gold pulls and hinges on the two sets of glass doors—echoing the same materials in the bar. To make the most of the shallow space, she found a peg storage system that could display the wine in rows three bottles deep. She lined the back wall with LED lights and textured tile from Porcelanosa.

“We wanted the light to capture some of the dimension [of the tile], so you can really see the depth of it,” Klickna says, noting that the tile also covers some unsightly structural elements along the bottom of the storage niche that couldn’t be removed. “We tiled everything to make it look like it wasn’t there.”

The Boyles now enjoy a comfy bar and a wine display that’s adjacent to a TV area where they watch movies together; just two steps down is a larger space where they host piano recitals that can spill out into a back garden. “It’s a very entertaining space,” Sheila says. No doubt.

Related stories:

Great Spaces: Not Your Average Wine Cellar

Great Spaces: Mudroom With a Bar

Great Spaces: Patio Paradise

Categories: Home & Design