The odd-shaped crevices found throughout your older home's basement may appear to be wasted space. According to local contractors and designers, though, all you need are some shelves, a door and an idea. That quirky alcove can become a desirable destination for anything you wish to store.
WINE CELLAR INNOVATIONS
Cool basement temperatures tend to be ideal for storing wine. This sizable lower-level room was converted for that purpose with the addition of racks from Wine Cellar Innovations.
Fine for Wine
Wine enthusiasts can transform an unused lower-level space into a wine cellar, said Fred Hirsch, owner of Comfort Guard Contracting LLC, Lodi (comfortguardcontracting.com).
He said he once built a wine cellar in the basement of a home that was 90 to 100 years old.
"Because the whole basement and foundation was under ground level, we didn't need a refrigeration unit - the temperature was cool enough to keep red wine," Hirsch said. "All you basically need is a racking system. In other cases, you might need a refrigeration unit to keep red wines at a proper temperature."
With this home in particular, he cleaned up the area, put in wine racks and vented the space to the outside for better air circulation. When it was finished, the cellar held about 325 bottles of wine.
Hirsch said there isn't a minimum or maximum space needed for a wine cellar. He said he's worked with areas as small as 4 by 6 feet to as large as 12 by 16 feet.
"You need to enclose the unit with a door - in most cases, a glass door that's insulated," Hirsch said. "Temperature is very important with wine. Vintage wines, especially, should be kept at 57 degrees."
Mike Alleva said he has created a wine cellar underneath a masonry staircase at the back of a home's exterior, through his business Alleva Construction, Inc., Hackensack (allevaconstruction.com).
"Some of the old stairs are hollow under the platform, so through the basement you can access that space," he said. "That area's always cooler because it's surrounded by all masonry/cement."