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Wine Retreat

authors  | December 9, 2015

“Drink and be merry” is what a wine room in Eden Prairie, Minn., is all about, according to designer Cherie Poissant. Poissant, a design consultant with Minneapolis-based Murphy Bros. Designers & Remodelers for the past 12 1/2 years, was tasked with transforming a former basement toy room into a food-and-wine escape. Partially inspired by a trip to Paris, the homeowners ended up with a space in which to savor their love for good wine while entertaining friends.

After seeing a photo of a wine cellar Murphy Brothers previously completed that included a barrel vault ceiling, the clients decided they wanted a similar design feature. “That was the starting point,” Poissant recalls. “It reminded them of a trip they had taken. We captured what we liked about that feature, but then created something unique and special for their needs.” The ultimate vision turned into a partnership and collaborative effort between the homeowners and Poissant.

That same ceiling that so caught the owners’ eyes was among the most difficult elements of the wine room. To construct the barrel vaults, Poissant explains, the carpenter attached a 2x to the ceiling perpendicular to the joist. Then OSB with the barrel shape cut out of it was applied. Next, 1- by 4-in. blocks were stapled to the bottom of the barrel and skinned with with a 3/4-in. ply and stapled it to the rafter that became the barrels. Those barrels are spaced out to accept the false beams. Existing HVAC ducts were rerouted to accommodate the new ceilings; one duct had to run down the length of a beam.

Many parts and pieces fit together, requiring precision. “We had to set depths appropriately so it looked like the cabinetry was receded into stone, but it was just an inset,” Poissant offers as an example. “We had to get the reveals appropriately sized and work with the stone selection. It was a little bit of a puzzle.”

The homeowners and Poissant partnered on finding a lot of the materials, such as the door and the tile in the niche. Perhaps the homeowner’s biggest find, however, was an old wine barrel, which Poissant modified to serve as a table base. The original barrel was too tall so Poissant’s team shortened it and used a primer to eliminate old smells.

Poissant positioned the wet bar and sink on a wall shared with a bathroom so she could tie into those plumbing lines. The two exterior block walls in the room were insulated with foam. Although it is a naturally cooler room being in a basement, the homeowners weren’t looking for a temperature-controlled room for their wine collection, all of which is drinkable now instead of needing to be aged. Rather, they sought a space to enjoy. To that end, Poissant created a room that she describes as “a comfortable room to be in.” In-ceiling speakers filter in music through the NuVo wireless sound system.

Other design features of the 139-sq.-ft. cellar include an art glass insert over the window to maximize natural daylight while obscuring the unattractive view and providing privacy, arched inset niches to obliterate hard lines, a hammered copper sink and an arched iron door.

The wine room was just one part of a much larger project the homeowners commissioned Poissant to work on. She also remodeled their kitchen, which includes exotic hardwoods, coffered ceilings, stone corbels and several granites, and the master suite, which features a steam shower with digital controls. All told it took approximately six months to complete everything because of its magnitude and precise design details. In addition to being a Master Design Award winner, this project also won a 2014 NARI MN Contractor of the Year award.

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