A full-height hidden wood-veneer door in a new kitchen designed by Paul Davis Architects leads down a secret stair to this cellar, deep under a re-conceived Cliff May house in an equestrian zone of Los Angeles. The cellar aims for a timeless "Modern Ranch" feeling, consistent with the 1940's "Western Ranch House" roots of this project, and the horse-oriented lifestyle that the owners enjoy.
The curved plaster stair features a vaulted ceiling and forged brass handrail. Cement tiles in a deep oxblood tone (rather like the color of red wine) are seen on the stairs and floor below - they also presage the interior finish of the wine room itself. Visitors arrive downstairs in a plaster-walled butler's pantry, housing serving implements and the cellar's mechanical room (in which a fully concealed cooling system does its work).
The wine cellar door is custom mesquite-wood, and behind it all walls, floors and ceilings (apart from the plaster ceiling of the cellar's central room) are lined with the oxblood cement tiles. Recessed niches for wine and lighting fixtures are arrayed over walls and ceiling with great precision - all tile grout joints align, in the manner of an elegant minimalist plaid. Wine racks feature subtly angled blackened steel rods for support of the individual bottles, and rubber o-rings prevent any direct contact between the bottles and the steel. A bronze-and-leather wagon-wheel-inspired chandelier hangs from the domed plaster ceiling, as sourced by interior designer Cristi Conaway.
As a finishing touch in this cellar, Subterfuge Cellars architect Paul Davis conceived and implemented the mounting of a twisted-wire sculpture by artist Mary Brogger on a weathered grape stake easel as a display piece in the illuminated niche at the end of the entry antechamber. The sculpture suggests roots of a gnarled grape vine, perhaps penetrating the wall of this earth-bound room.