Living Space: No room for a cellar? Create a wine closet

By Kathryn WeberWith out a doubt, Americans have discovered the joys of wine.

With the explosion of wine bars, expanded wine selections at the grocery store and improved wine lists in restaurants, wine has made its mark on America.

The enjoyment of the vine has turned many simple sippers into true oenophiles.

And if you're short on cellar space to store and enjoy your favorite vintages, a wine closet might just satisfy your needs for a cellar stand-in.

CLOSET CHOICES

Selecting a closet to store your wine may just depend on what makes sense in your home, and your particular wine needs. If simple storage is your only concern, most any closet in the house will do. But if display and easy access from the kitchen, dining or living areas is one of your needs, then the closet will need to be located close to one of those locations. That often makes a coat closet a good choice, due to its proximity to living and dining areas.

OUTFITTING YOUR WINE CLOSET

Starting at the door of your new wine storage closet, you may want to change the entrance to something more stylish. A wrought-iron door or a door with a glass insert is a nice way to make your wine both visible and highlight the contents. Inside, you'll want to remove the hanging rod and any shelves and install racking to store wine. If the closet is small, simple racking shelves may be all you need.

THOUGHTFUL ARRANGEMENT

If you have more room to spare, consider adding a counter with a stone or tile top. Because it's a small space, a granite or marble counter will add more style at a fraction of the cost of a kitchen or bathroom counter. This is a good spot to add some drawers to store wine openers, aerators and other paraphernalia. You may want to add some open shelves above for storing glasses.

Below the counter is a good spot for wine racks. Because cold air sinks, the area below the counter makes a cooler spot for storing your wine, but racks can be placed above the counter, too. Storage can be accomplished with individual racks or large open racks for stacking bottles on their sides.

Do remember that unlike openings for individual bottles, large open shelving creates potential for bottles to fall out or hit one another.

WINE STYLE

Consider adding a light to the closet to see clearly when making your selections. If you're handy or hire an electrician, think about installing a button light that turns on when you open the door and off when you closet it. This handy option means you won't have to worry about a light being left on and warming up your stored bottles.

A wine closet shouldn't be short on style. Adding embellishments and chic finishes will make it a place to show off and enjoy with guests. Adding decorative touches, such as an upscale door handle and stylish wine accessories, makes the closet more appealing. Some faux finishing techniques can also be used to create a cellar appearance by adding a faux stone look around the closet.

If you enjoy wine, consider creating your own wine closet for a fun weekend project. After all, the work ends with a nice glass of wine.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui E-zine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, www.redlotusletter.com.