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Get the look: The wine bar under the stairs

An often overlooked area becomes functional and stylish

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In the latest Get the Look, guest blogger Jane Veldhoven, owner of Get Organized By Design, shares one of her favourite projects to help you get the look.

Sometimes the smallest spaces can be the most fun projects from a designer’s perspective. I love the challenge of making a small space work for its intended purpose, and then making it shine by adding a florish of design.

This wine bar under the stairs was one of those “when you have a chance this might be kinda cool” ideas. The design and build of the space actually took longer than the kitchen I did for this homeowner. The client was in no rush so we did it in stages, choosing materials as we went rather than having everything ready in advance as I would normally do when I’m on a tight timeline.

Our goal was to transform a space that often overlooked when thinking about design. The nook under the stairs is a great opportunity for storage, and while you’re at it why not make it stylish.

Planning you design is key to a project like this. We did the the layout drawings before disassembling the stairs and we didn’t deviate from the original plan.

The amount of detailed carpentry work required for a project like this would blow your mind. Make sure you have a solid plan, and an experience carpenter on hand. We spent hours cutting 45 degree angles in the flooring (not an easy task) to wrap the posts. And many, many sessions of measuring and re-measuring to make sure everything fit just perfectly.

From the cage light fixture to the pebble floor, the client and I chose each element carefully to make sure they complimented each other. Our jumping off point was the engineered flooring material that covers the posts and back wall. It’s made by Beaulieu Flooring and the colour is called Sevington Oak. We chose it for its rustic look and colour. It became the driver the rest of the design elements.

This project is a great example of taking advantage of what you have on hand. I reused some slate grey tiles from another project for the top of the fridge cabinet. And took advantage of extra storage space under the stairs with a custom galvanized triangle-shaped metal box for storing a few pieces of firewood behind the fridge.

Donald Renouf from Fair and Square Carpentry in HRM built the shell of the wine rack from solid maple and pre-fabricated racks from Lee Valley, then stained to match the flooring. The small display shelf is a beautiful piece of zebra striped wood I found at East Coast Specialty Hardwood. Renouf also built the shelving unit that houses the wine fridge.

I have to say, I think this is one of my favourite projects from the last few years. It’s a great example of how you can turn a tiny space into an eye-catching addition to you home.