Design — 02 December 2016
How to build a better wine room at home

By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

City & Shore Magazine

Wine has become an integral part of our social life and our home design. Four South Florida design teams show us options can range from a corner of a room to climate-controlled wine rooms fit for a restaurant.




Some of the most creative ideas come from designer show houses. This see-through wine cellar from the 2015 American Red Cross Designers’ Show House in Lake Worth displays the wine as a work of art while keeping it in a controlled environment.

Noe Guerra says they had to convince the clients to redo the structure of the residence, designed in 1925 by Addison Mizner protégée Sherman Childs. It took a month to raise the ceiling of the kitchen into the second floor and to open up the space to the family room. The climate equipment, accessible through a hatch door, is located beneath the floor. Double-paned glass and an insulated wall keep the temperature at 55 degrees. Controls are hidden in the walls. Structural silicone seals the joints.

“The design allows you to see through to the Intracoastal,” Melissa Guerra says. “The clients like the idea of having a wine room but they didn’t want us to block the view.”

Wine storage can be placed anywhere, under the stairs or anywhere you can find space, she says. The best time to do this is during a remodel so you can find enough storage.




Joe Fava did a complete renovation of a dark traditional home off Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale. He knew the owners’ preferences because this was the fifth project he designed for them.

“We did a gut renovation because the home was super traditional,” Fava says. “They bought the house because they liked the property and the waterfront. The clients aren’t about a lot of stuff. They like warm contemporary.”

The bar area, which used to be a dark raised-panel room, was transformed into a light and airy gathering spot with white walls, gray lacquer-veneer cabinetry and brushed silver accents. Fava opened the wall to the main space and gutted it. The only pop of color comes from the blue painting and the yellow orchids. Their wine collection fits in a cooler which shares the back wall with an under-counter refrigerator and ice maker and a roll out with more wine storage.

The bar, which can be moved, is white lacquer. It is designed so four people can sit and have a drink or watch television.




It’s not often a Florida designer is asked to create a below-ground wine cellar. Sandi Samole was involved from the construction phase to completion of this poured-concrete home in Sebring for a return client.

“He is a collector who enjoys fine wine,” she says. “He wanted an area for the cooling and chilling of wine, plenty of storage and a separate area for wine tasting with friends.”

The client took Samole to a wine shop near Orlando and several other places to get ideas that he wanted – something elegant that still looks like a wine cave. The result was an area with a stone ceiling, slate floors and leather panels for insulation.

She designed the climate-controlled wine room with areas for blind storage and a showplace in the center so the labels of the finer brands would be featured and easy to read. Open bins store cases of wine and extra bottles.

Craftsman Andrew Dilley designed a custom table with a base that looks like a tree. The Myran Allan chandelier is bronze with purple grapes and green foliage in glass.

Upstairs is a bar area off the living room for coffee and drinks. Two chairs in front of a mirror make it appear as if guests are sitting in a French café.




This 12-by-12-foot wine room for a true oenophile in Davie has enough storage for a restaurant.

“He wanted a showpiece for his wine collection and a place to bring his guests,” Jaime Blomquist says. “He entertains a lot for his business.”

The climate-controlled wine room, just off the dining room, holds 568 bottles on the sides and about 30 on racks on the back wall. Those on the slanted shelf are the fine wines he likes to present to special guests. Open shelving is dedicated to liquor. Climate controls are hidden in the ceiling and in the adjacent garage.

“I designed lighting on the floor and ceiling to illuminate the walls and the wine bottles,” she says. “In addition, the ceiling has directional high hats. I prefer a sideways racking system that is at an angle. The wine labels often look like fine artwork and deserve to be shown.”


Jaime Blomquist 1780 NE Seventh St., Fort Lauderdale, 954-999-5601,

Joe Fava
Fava Design Group, 7636 NE Fourth Court, #103, Miami, 786-536-5380,

Melissa and
Noe Guerra

NXG Studio, 420 US Highway 1, Suite 23, North Palm Beach, 561-337-8786,

Sandi Samole
S&B Interiors, Pinecrest, 305-661-1577,







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