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An elegant yet manly wine cellar

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The Sophisticated Man Cave

Customize your very own "Whiskey Room" with Keith Rupp, owner of Residence Design Build

For Keith Rupp, owner of Residence Design Build, every remodel is an opportunity to blend aesthetics with personalized functionality. Nowhere is that clearer than in his recent basement remodels, both of which were transformed into stylized places to store, and indulge in, fine wine and liquor.

“I love a moody space for these,” says Rupp. The remodels gave the owners ample space to display their wine and whiskey collections and was carefully curated by Rupp to create a “moody feel” for the space. Rupp always considers usage of light in spaces like these, especially when incorporating it into displays and shelves.

“When you’re doing a moody room like a whiskey room or a wine cellar, you don’t want task lighting. You’ll see a lot of over-lit rooms [that way],” says Rupp. “You want open shelves to show those collections off. Cabinets or shelves that are lit from the interior or behind create that ambiance.”

For wine and whiskey rooms, Rupp recommends using elements like darker or atonal color palettes, natural materials such as rustic woods and bricks, metal accents and leather furniture. Ceilings, he says, are often overlooked, but should be painted to avoid a stark contrast between it and the walls.

“People kick back about the dark painted ceilings,” says Rupp. “So I have to encourage them sometimes—trust your designer.”

To create harmony between these darker, moodier spaces and the rest of your home, Rupp recommends tying in elements from the other rooms. For these designs, he used gold metal accents and similar shades of paint.

“You have to do that for any good design so it flows with the rest of the house,” says Rupp. “You don’t want it to be like you’ve stepped into another home.”

Rupp says there isn’t a significant difference between designing for men and designing for women or couples. He advises utilizing unused spaces to get the most out of your home, and trusting your designer to blend your wants with their tried-and-true experience to give you a
space you’ll love.

Man-caves, game rooms and garages are other popular spaces Rupp designs for men, but there is one specialty room Rupp says he’d really like to work on: workshops.

“Those would be awesome to design,” Rupp says.

  • Custom whiskey shelving to shelve your favorite bottles
  • An elegant yet manly wine cellar
  • A stained glass window depiction of wine and grapes
  • Leather chairs make for great seating if you're hosting a wine or whiskey tasting
  • A darkly painted ceiling contrasts beautifully with a light chandelier.
  • A casual-style basement bar

Businesses featured in this article