Hickory Wine Cellar & Home Theater

It started out as a simple wine closet, a small room to be built-in the corner of an unfinished basement. My customer has simple tastes and he really just wanted an improvement on his simplified (non) design that had left his wine collection in a closet under the stairs. In it he had a wine room cooler on the floor that was running with the exhaust pointed out the semi-shut door. I don’t think it really helped the quality of the air, but it could still qualify as a wine cellar, at least in very loose terms. No matter what you call it, it needed some sort of upgrade to take its rightful place in this custom Ladue home.

As I mentioned, he has simple tastes, but apparently his wife does not. On my second meeting with him, he pulled out a photo book with a lavish French theater that his wife had found and said that since we were going to build something downstairs and he had the extra room, he would like to add a theater to the mix. It was a giant jump from where we started, but I did not argue.

The theater room quickly took shape with our new directive, and the wine cellar followed, becoming equally involved and in a French country style, which called for the racks to have more of a furniture feel. The nine pieces, the arched entry door, and the two beams in the wine cellar where made from a batch of hickory logs that I recovered from a tree service a year earlier. It turns out that about twelve months is the perfect amount of time for hickory to get very wormy and nicely spalted.

Much of the racking in the wine cellar is traditional, with ladder racks holding the bulk of the collection, but each piece of furniture displays the wine in different ways, from individual bottles to entire cases. One of my favorite little details that I commonly use now in other wine cellars is adjustable shelving. I know it doesn’t sound earth shattering, but in a wine cellar the shelves can be used flat for case storage or offset with a tilt for displaying individual bottles. The shelves have a strip across the front which is flush on top and forms a lip on the bottom, which when flipped over keeps the bottles from sliding off and crashing to the floor. The tilted shelves are especially helpful for holding and displaying odd-shaped and larger bottles that don’t fit in the other racks.

Between the theater and the wine cellar is a spot for a poker table and a back bar made from rift sawn white oak cabinets and walnut countertops with art glass windows above. All of the woodwork around the windows is made from poplar that was stained dark brown and glazed with black for an antique appearance. The walnut countertop was built up to 1.5″ thick by laminating two layers of 3/4″ thick stock together. I have done this many times and it works great (click here to see how it’s done).

The theater itself involved a lot of trim details. The ceiling is broken into three sections with painted beams and large crown molding, while the walls feature a hand-crafted plaster finish and picture-frame moldings – all of which add to the French feel of the room.

From humble beginnings to this showcase of a job, things really changed. I would have never guessed that this is how it would turn out when we started.

The French Country style comes to life with big beams and wormy, spalted hickory throughout the wine cellar.

The French Country style comes to life with big beams and wormy, spalted hickory throughout the wine cellar.

The back wall of the wine cellar has leaded-glass windows with dark stained and glazed woodwork.

The back wall of the wine cellar has leaded-glass windows with dark stained and glazed woodwork.

The rear of the home theater has a back bar and an area for playing cards.

The rear of the home theater has a back bar and an area for playing cards.

Looking towards the wine cellar in this home theater shows off the recessed lighting.

Looking towards the wine cellar in this home theater shows off the recessed lighting.

An arched front with powered curtains welcomes movie-goers.

An arched front with powered curtains welcomes movie-goers.

 

Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , ,

About wunderwoods

Hi! My name is Scott Wunder and I am the owner of WunderWoods Custom Woodworking. We build wine cellars, built-ins and furniture from local woods, here in St. Louis, MO. Recently, I finished a three-year term as the President of the St. Louis Woodworkers Guild, which had me writing a monthly article for our newsletter. I love to write, especially about wood, and found that I still had more to say. Every day I run into something wood related that I realize some of my customers don't know and this seems like a great forum for sharing what I have learned (instead of telling the same story to each person). The main thing to remember is that I try to keep it light and as my wife always reminds people that have just met me, "He is joking."

4 responses to “Hickory Wine Cellar & Home Theater”

  1. Wes Fordyce says :

    Beautiful work Scott!

  2. tom crisanti says :

    Is the “beam” in the first picture 3 pieces of wood glued up to hide a steel beam? Where did you put the glue line?

    • wunderwoods says :

      The beam was just for decoration. It was a solid beam that I hollowed out from the top with a chainsaw and a milling attachment with multiple passes. I have also done the same thing with multiple passes using the circular blade on the Lucas mill. It ends up being like a glued up beam of 1″ thick lumber in weight, but still looks like the original. It takes awhile to hollow out, but it makes the install easier and allows me to install a dry piece of wood.

  3. me says :

    if you give a mouse a cookie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: