The cellar.

Well more of a cupboard really, but anyway….

Photo thanks to Webb and Brown-Neaves.

The display home version.  Photo thanks to Webb and Brown-Neaves.

There is a generous space under our stairs, accessible from the kitchen, that we are calling “the cellar”.   I looked up a couple of DIY instructions for converting a cupboard to a proper cellar, you know with temperature and humidity control.  Oh my goodness, it’s way easier just to drink the wine!

Over the years, the “Nice Wolf” has managed to purchase a small wine fridge or two, when I wasn’t looking.  This cupboard is for them.  We’ll also use the space to store all our glassware, drinking paraphernalia (margaritas are a serious business) and any overflow from the pantry.  We are going to need some shelving and, since the door is glass, it needs to look good.

If you have a real underground cellar, then little more than several cases of wine is needed to create a nice atmosphere.  But for a cellar cupboard, my web search revealed very little to get me in the mood for a party.  Never-the-less here are some of my favourites:

Wood cellar

I love the recycled/raw wood used here. Picture: Kevin Knight and Company.

Home bar

I like the simplicity of this bar. A bit old fashioned for HBTW, but the basic idea is great. Picture: Shelterness.

Cellar cupboard

I’m flirting with the idea of brick wallpaper, but sensibility will probably prevail.  Picture: Home Bunch.

Great shelving layout.  DIY-able.  Picture:  Segreto Secrets.

Great shelving layout. DIY-able. Picture: Segreto Secrets.

Cafe inspiration.

Stylish shelving and modern style. Source: Bungalow classic.

HBTW’s cellar mood board:

Cellar mood board.


  • Wooden book cases that we already have. (Minus their ornate edges, plus some extra internal structure for easy access to any wine bottle.)
  • Wine crates as drawers to hide the less beautiful items.
  • Vintec wine fridge.
  • Open shelves for glassware.
  • The Nice Wolf’s homemade cork board.  (Yes, we can be very daggy sometimes.)
  • Black pendant light.  (This is a maybe.  I’m starting to wish I included more pendant lights instead of down lights on our lighting plan.)
  • An off-cut of caesarstone for a small bench top.

What would you do with a spare cupboard under the stairs?

Do you have a space dedicated to wine, beer or cocktails?

Has anyone tried those cooler drawers?

And most importantly, what should House By The Water’s signature drink be?  I’m thinking blue.


14 thoughts on “The cellar.

  1. I think this conversation should be had over a glass of wine, but because I’m such a good sport I’ll share my opinions without a bottle open. In fact it’s breakfast time here, so probably for the best.
    Don’t put in any triangle shaped shelves if you have a choice. They waste heaps of space. We have a couple under our stairs (because of the angle under the stairs) and they fit very little, we have a few wine bottles in them, and a few is all we can fit.
    Watch that your wine fridge doesn’t pump out a lot of hot air to keep its contents cold and at the same time heat your cellar. I remember when I worked at Standards that was a problem with wine fridges on the market.
    You’ll also need a few straws in there, for if a bottle of the expensive stuff get’s spilled you’ll be able to throw yourself on the floor and drink it up 😉 (That’s an idea stolen from a restaurant I once worked at. They had expensive bottles and the idea was that if you broke a bottle you’d might as well drink it as you’d have to pay for it).
    And finally, in answer to your question about what to do with a cupboard under the stairs…you are on the right track with your cellar but i’d make it dual purpose….cellar AND ‘naughty corner/cupboard’ for when Mum’s naughty.

    • Good point about diagonal shelves. I hadn’t thought of that. We think we’ll have to put a hole in the wall of the “cellar” to vent the wine fridges. I’ll leave that up to the engineer. The “naughty cupboard” is a great idea. But, of course, you know I’m never naughty. But I think it could be a good place for me to go when I need “time out”.

  2. Believe it or not we have one! The previous owner of this house built one at the back of the garage. A narrow room with lots of shelving and an aircon to control temperature. You wouldn’t notice it is there unless pointed out. Quite a unique design. Sadly, it currently is quite empty of wine but full of required tax department documents that are needed to be held on to for 5-years. Ummm… maybe it is time to change it back to what it was designed for 😉 Good luck with yours and enjoy the wine! 🙂

    • Oh dear, Sally. You need a good scanner and a week or two to scan all your paperwork. Then you’ll have really earned a bottle of wine or two. It seems a little incredulous to install an air conditioner for wine! I’ve read of others doing this, and adding a simple humidifier to control the humidity. I think the energy costs would be better spent on buying wine that has already been aged in commercial cellars, but then I’m not too serious about wines. I just like drinking them.

  3. I am afraid our wines never last that long! We have a jarrah wine rack which does the job and on the rare occasion that I splurge and buy several boxes they get stacked on ikea shelving under the stairs (not for long!)
    For your blue drink – gin and tonic made with Bombay Sapphire, one of my favourite summer drinks. Enjoy 🙂

  4. We will have a space under the stairs. I never thought about a wine cellar. Maybe that can be down the track when the kids are older. For now I’d like either storage, a study nook or a daybed.

  5. trixee says:

    The Blue Hawaiian is a very delicious and girly drink. I kind of wish we had stairs just so we could put a cellar in there!
    Our bar area is not perfect but will have to do. Will you be mixing drinks in there or will it just be a storage area? We agonised over this decision. Choosing to mix there raises a whole lot of other issues. Like where to keep ice? Trying to source a small freezer the size of a bar fridge is stupidly hard, we found an integrated model which looks nice but costs an arm and a leg.
    On another note, I wonder if anyone’s tried substituting cointreau for blue curacao in a margarita? I suspect it will end up a horrible colour though.

    • Ooh, you make fancy margaritas! We use Bacardi. I think I’ll try to avoid too much blue curaçao! Blueberries? Our kitchen bench is only a few steps away, so realistically, I think we’ll mix in the kitchen. So we’ll only need a small pouring space in the “cellar” and no sink.

  6. Miranda says:

    We’re doing something similar, but on a much smaller scale. We’re turning one of our storage cupboards into a wine area: wine bottles below, then a bench and then shelves for glassware etc above. Cameron would love to have a wine fridge but it won’t happen this time around. (Not enough space and it just seems a bit unnecessary to me, for the wine we have.)
    I love the idea of a “house” cocktail. Something with blueberries sounds great. Something like these, maybe?

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