Design/Build and Commercial Interior Design Firm in VT | IMHOTEP

Blog - Design Ideas, Commercial & Residential Portfolio | IMHOTEP

Looking for design ideas? The IMHOTEP Blog is a trove of interior design ideas and previous Design/Build projects for commercial food, beverage, & hospitality companies. Browse online!

Weston Wine Cellar


These days we rarely venture out of the commercial space, but every now and then we are presented with a residential project that is too enticing to turn down.  Bill Knowlton is an avid wine collector, and wanted to incorporate a space for his collection in a new house he was building in Weston, Vermont. After seeing our work at Dedalus Wine Bar in Burlington, the Knowltons’ asked us to design them a one-of-a-kind wine cellar that would be a highlight of their new home.

The site of the new home formerly held two collapsing nineteenth-century structures that unfortunately could not be saved.  It was extremely important to Bill and Deb that as much of the material as possible be repurposed and used in the new construction.  The design for the home featured post and beam construction throughout, and wall treatments, cabinets, and trim details were all fabricated with salvaged materials.  Even the expansive stone work was created from rocks harvested from the surrounding land.


We’ve worked extensively with reclaimed barnwood in the past and given the very traditional application throughout the rest of the house, we wanted to introduce the material in different ways to help set this room apart from the rest of the house.  We were able to sort through piles of salvaged materials and envision ways they could be transformed and applied in unconventional ways to maximize their impact in a small space. Beyond using the barnwood, our goal was introduce innovative ways to display wine that would be easily accessible and a beautiful showcase of Mr. Knowlton’s collection of French wines.

The space had three walls for wine racks that would sit above counters, with open cabinets custom-sized to fit crates of wine below.  We started with the largest wall, designing steel racks that would pair well with the barnwood set behind them. To balance the modernity of the steel, we incorporated the largest of the barn wood beams as if they were structural elements, helping to anchor the steel.  For the smaller walls, we created thin steel shelves to slide into grooves that were cut into vertical planks of barn wood.  The racks and the shelving system allows the clients to store and display wine in a variety of bottle shapes and sizes, while also remaining visually interesting and complementing the aesthetic of the rest of the house.

IMG_9202 2.JPG

The space also has a bump out that contained the mechanical elements of the house.  Rather than viewing the dead space as a problem, we saw an opportunity to create a totally unique, custom light fixture for the room.  We ordered large, LED light panels commonly found in commercial drop ceilings, and welded together a custom steel frame to wrap around the bump out.  We then cut barnwood into “tiles” inspired by the shape of the wine bottle, and arranged them over the LED panels so that light would stream through the spaces between them.  More than anything else, this piece is an example of how we utilized the barn wood in interesting, unconventional ways, striking a balance between modern and traditional, rustic and refined.

We really enjoyed working on this space for the Knowltons.  The salvaged barnwood they provided held a history that we preserved, while we were also able to incorporate more modern design elements that complemented the rest of the house.  The end result was a beautiful, high-impact space that met all of the Knowlton’s functional needs and reflected the elegance associated with wine cellars. ∆

Olivia Tubio