Bottles-Up! Wine Matures Into a Staple of Home Decor

Wine complements dinners, keeps our hearts healthy, moderates weight gain--and it can also decorate our homes. Just ask designer and TV personality, Courtney Cachet, who brought home empty wine bottles from her trip to the South of France in order to repurpose them as oil and vinegar containers and candelabra stands.

"So many people out there are wine enthusiasts, and wine bottles and wine accessories provide a great way to incorporate a passion for wine into décor," Cachet says. "It's similar to book lovers who decorate with books," she adds, referring to luxury coffee-table literature and book shelves featuring vintage hardcovers.

Okemos, Mich.-based interior designer, Leslie Hart-Davidson says clients are increasingly asking her to fashion their homes around wine themes. "Recently, a client who enjoyed throwing wine parties for her girlfriends requested a room that was comfortable and had enough places for her gals to set wine glasses. She wanted a lot of charm and character, so I gave her a wine-tasting table," Hart-Davidson says.

To construct the table, the interior designer used recycled materials such as round, salvaged glass and an old wine cask. The glass was much larger in diameter and formed the top for the table. Hart-Davidson added wine stools, and a wine-tasting table was born.

Not everyone, however, has money to spend on interior decorators--especially in a recession--but Deb Barrett, trend strategist and author of the upcoming design book, What Makes A Couture Treatment, says all you need are a creative mind and time for bargain hunting.

Barrett suggests browsing flea markets for old wine labels and framing them to hang around the house or to display on top of a fireplace mantel, as she recently did for a client who is a wine aficionado. Although Barrett clustered the framed labels around a vintage art poster, she urges those with tight budgets to scour flea markets and antique malls for dealers who sell old magazines. "The advertising in old magazines for alcohol and wine [looks] very cool [when] framed," she says.

Do-it-yourself wine decor will give your home "a bit of an edge," says Cachet. If you're a wine-cork collector, she suggests buying an inexpensive, tall, cylinder glass vase from stores like IKEA or Crate&Barrel and filling it with your favorite corks. Then, you can purchase a few bamboo stalks and arrange them in the vase. Cachet says it will look "very funky and totally chic," and will be easy to work into any apartment décor.

Those who buy their wines by the crate, may have the makings of unique, eco-friendly kitchen cabinets or a new coffee table. In its April/May 2010 issue, ReadyMade Magazine profiles a couple in Barcelona who built kitchen drawers and cabinets out of their wine crate collection. And a friend of Cachet's--a wine distributor in Miami--saved a wine crate and used it as a base for his living room coffee table, which stands atop of a bear-skin rug.

If you weren't born with creative chops, however, a tasteful wine display will be enough to get your guests talking. When entertaining at home, pull out the wines from your cellar or wine cooler to excite guests' palates.

"A collection of wine bottles is a great decorative touch--even a small collection. It sends a message of sophistication and curiosity. It also presents you as a cook, and your guests with a nice menu of options to accompany your food," says Ted Allen, spokesman for Robert Mondavi Private Selection wines and host of Food Network's cooking competition show, "Chopped." Allen displays only the bottles he intends to serve at meals to his guests. "I pull them out, dust them off, and put them on the counter for people to see when they arrive--hopefully to tantalize them a little. Sort of like: "Today's Specials," he adds.

So if your significant other, family or friends ever question your wine-purchasing outlays, tell them to put a cork in it: you're decorating your home.

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