Wine cellars may be considered a luxury, but they are increasingly becoming a must-have in the high-end houses in Jason Kirkpatrick’s Centerville, Va., market. Full cellars with humidity and temperature control start at $75,000, says the president of Kirkpatrick’s Construction.
Erik Lemire, remodeling manager at Teevan Construction, in San Francisco, says that his clients take wine collecting seriously, usually opting for basement storage. The key, he says, is to do your homework and to bring in experienced subs who you include in decision-making.
Credit: June Stanich
Kirkpatrick worked for a wine cellar builder, so he’s well-schooled in all aspects of storage. Though cellars are not a high-profi t item, he enjoys the challenge of designing them.
Credit: June Stanich
Made by Hand
Jason Kirkpatrick of Kirkpatrick’s Construction prefers to make custom racks — he can control the quality and maximize storage — including large diamonds for magnums or threebottle trapezoids. He only uses hardwood, such as white oak, because it doesn’t hold moisture and won’t rot.
This wine cabinet was an afterthought in a row house kitchen remodel, so Teevan Construction had to use custom racking and cabinetry to maximize storage. “We had to install a fl at frame to shrink the wall thickness to gain a few more inches for the depth,” says remodeling manager Erik Lemire. The double-pane doors are sealed with weatherstripping and highpower magnets. The HVAC subcontractor installed the condenser unit on the roof of the row house.
Matt Cook says that architecture and aesthetics are the driving force for cellar design, with most homeowners opting for a European theme with Tuscan or French country details such as stone, stucco, wrought iron, and rustic wood.
To create this Bordeaux vanity ($1,298) by Native Trails, artisans disassemble an oak wine barrel, cut it down in size, reassemble the slats, sand the wood, and apply a finish that includes wax to seal and protect the wood. Options include a copper vanity top with an integral sink made from hand-hammered recycled copper; a choice of two marble tops; and a granite vanity top. Sinks are sold separately, and matching mirrors using wine-barrel wood are also available. nativetrails.net
Credit: DiMasi Digital Design
- TEMPERATURE CONTROL “[Basement storage provides] almost an ideal temperature to store wine,” says Matt Cook, division president of Finished Basement Company MN . He says 30% of his clients choose cellars with cooling units, which are more expensive and require a higher level of construction detail, including moistureresistant cement board, such as USG Corp.’s Durock, behind the drywall to prevent condensation. For smaller spaces, Jason Kirkpatrick uses a split ductless HVAC system (cost-eff ective), placing the condenser outside to prevent noise and vibration in the cellar.
- DOORS AND GLASS Designers recommend using double-pane glass and exterior-grade doors with weatherstripping and a threshold for temperature-controlled cellars.
- INSULATION Kirkpatrick uses closed-cell foam insulation from Demilec, which, he says, “acts as a vapor barrier for humidity control.”
- OFF-GASSING Kirkpatrick adds Odour Zapp t o his stains, paint, and primers to eliminate odors that might seep through cork and damage the wine. He does not use urethane-based finishes, stone floor sealers, or regular cleaners for the same reason.
- STONE Make sure the wall framing will hold the weight of real stone, Cook says, or use cultured stone.
- RACKSThough custom racks help maximize storage, rack kits are more cost-eff ective, and many are available online.
- SEATING Ask clients if they want to include a seating or serving area.
—Nina Patel, senior editor, REMODELING.