The Wine Cellar Under the Stairs

BY October 1, 2022
Under staircase wine room
The backdrop of this Naples wine room may look like a blue agate panel, but it’s glass with LED backlighting. (Photo Courtesy Stofft Cooney Architects)

We have a clear winner in inventive wine storage goals. When the dream team of Stofft Cooney Architects, builder Knauf-Koenig Group and Calusa Bay Design set out to create a cellar beneath their client’s stairs, they put a cork in the ordinary and got creative.

After completing this new-build home, the team decided to maximize the unused space under the stairs, turning it into a wine cellar. Architect John Cooney says planning a wine room begins with how many bottles a homeowner anticipates owning; he’s seen requests range from 100 bottles to 8,000. The homeowners opted for an artful space for up to 200 bottles, with a focus on display rather than quantity (a tall Sub-Zero wine cooler in the kitchen holds their everyday bottles).

Builder Knauf-Koenig Group—the Naples-area contractor known for jaw-dropping Port Royal, Aqualane Shores and Pelican Bay homes—says the staircase creates the perfect cellar space, with its sturdy structural support to protect the vintages. Once the layout was locked in, the team addressed the logistical challenges. “It’s very important to get the cooling equipment to work properly under the stairs to chill these rooms to 58 degrees,” John says. To account for this, the wine room has a separate HVAC system with its own thermostat. 

The design team worked wonders on the colors and lighting. “Looking at racking, capacity and bottle sizes, plus the creation of a floating cabinet for decanting, our challenge was how to get it all to fit inside a space with such a severe angle,” Calusa Bay’s designer Randi Scott says, “We found these awesome glass panels at Ceramic Matrix, which people think are stone or onyx, but they are actually thin pieces of glass, backlit with custom, large LED panels.” Randi was drawn to the patterns and colors in the glass, which looks like a blue agate panel.

And, when the homeowners want less of a spotlight on their showpiece wine room, they can simply turn off the backlighting. Brilliant. 

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