By June Naylor
Photos by Jeremy Enlow
It takes a lot of expertise and a spark of magic to levitate 600 bottles of wine.
For the oenophile, treating dinner party guests to a thoughtful menu of wine pairings can be central to a gathering’s success. In a Westlake home with sightlines focused on a glass-enclosed wine room — adjacent to a formal dining table and steps from the open living/kitchen area — bottles that appear to float ceiling-to-floor enhance the magic.
In this case, tailoring the ultramodern wine space to fit seamlessly into an expansive contemporary house fell to expert Mary Zabel of Vineyard Wine Cellars. Zabel since has joined Classic Wine Storage & Services, based in Southlake and best known for its temperature-controlled bottle transport and secure facilities. Zabel leads the Classic team of designers in offering in-home services and fashioning storage systems of all descriptions for clients in North Texas and beyond.
“With each homeowner, we determine storage needs as well as their style,” Zabel says. Colleague Kristi Cole adds, “And we know how to establish the design aesthetic that marries need and budget.”
To say the wine is a focal point in the Westlake project is an understatement. It showcases the bottles in full view, organized in a system as beguiling as the artworks that surround it. It sits next to a floating staircase in a sort of symbiotic relationship where the design properties of each feature — steps and bottles both suspended by steel — enhance the other.
Zabel, Cole and team member Susan Duvall say that although they often retrofit systems into completed homes, the easiest projects are those begun before walls and utilities are in place.
“Ideally we start designing the wine cellar with the client, architect and/or interior designer during the early planning phase. That usually means a cost savings factor, as well as allowing the client more choices,” Duvall says.
For this contemporary home, Zabel oversaw the installation toward the end of the construction process. For the design, she worked from the builder’s floor plan, collaborating with Kessick Wine Storage Systems, a manufacturer based in South Carolina. The homeowners, both art glass collectors, provided input that helped to ensure that the finished project complemented their interior design.