Stellar Cellar: Planning the Perfect Wine Room

Wine storage options range from a simple under-counter unit designed to fit in a standard opening to a custom-built climate controlled room.  Walk with us down to the wine room to explore the thinking and preparation behind its construction.

A wine room has different temperature and humidity needs than the rest of your house.  Managing those “microclimate” differences affects the comfort and health of the house overall.  Wall structure, insulation, air sealing, and construction details are particularly important considerations.  However, a wine room is also more than just a climate-controlled room.  In addition to the chiller unit, we also consider task lighting, accent lighting, room lighting, water supply, controls, and integration with the rest of the house.  Of course, what really makes a space is what you SEE.  The racks, wall finish, accessories, fixtures, flooring, ceiling, and furnishings must work together to create the perfect feeling.

The wine cellar entry system helps maintain proper cellar atmosphere.


The process starts by documenting the existing conditions and defining the project goals.  What are we starting with and where do you want to end up?  Some of the parameters we need to define early in the process are project scope, size/configuration and access, use, relationship to the adjacent spaces, climate control needs, aesthetics, budget, and any special considerations.  There are often several paths and potential solutions to explore within this framework.

Project Scope and Goals

It is important to define the overall project scope early in the process in order to stay within budget.  It is often the case that exploration of the underlying goals can lead to creative design solutions.

Size and Configuration

The size and configuration of the space is key to meeting the project goals.  Defining how many bottles (including what types) need to be stored and display of any special items must happen in conjunction with developing the initial layout and design.  It is also important to consider the relationship between the wine room and any adjacent spaces – a bar area, tasting room, theater.

Climate Control

Climate control in a wine room is usually accomplished with a separate unit.  The size, and type of unit is determined by looking at the total enclosed space, power, access to venting, budget, features, and aesthetics.


The aesthetics of a custom wine room are as varied as the homes they are built in.  Defined by the finishes and fixtures, we can create a room that feels warm and intimate or clean and contemporary.  In general, it is important to select finishes that are stable and durable – they must withstand higher humidity and cooler temps.


Of course, many projects also have a defined budget to work within.  The design+build process allows for the budget to become a tool for helping to make design and scope decisions.  Sometimes it can be as simple as selecting finishes from within a certain range.  Other times, we must explore creative design solutions to achieve the goals within budget.

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