An Under Stairs Storage Solution

When the brewing bug hits, there is one inevitable problem that needs to be addressed: storage. Fermenting everything in sight is wonderful and yields an endless supply of (hopefully) delicious bevvies but you have to put them someplace.

Wine bottles in plywood storage rack

The very first upgrade I did when I moved from an apartment to a house was to build a big wine rack. It is no simple feat to install a booze-holder of this magnitude without 1.) Taking up valuable living space, 2.) Demonstrating the extent of your brewing “problem” to your guests, 3.) Pissing off the wife. For these reason, I chose to construct my wine “cellar” under a staircase, accessible by crawling through a coat closet and into a little gnome-sized room. This made a lot of sense since this space is often just used for storage of crap that never gets used. Now I get go crawl into my little boozy sanctuary several times a week to bask in the glory of my labours. Also, it feels a bit like a fallout shelter, stocked only with wine and mead – bring on the apocalypse!

The wine rack is built from strips of 3/8“particle board 12” wide and cut to fit the length of the space. Boards are attached using small L-brackets, some of which were bent to fit the slightly wonky angles of my build. To be fair, this was my very first construction project as a homeowner… cut me some slack. The angles SHOULD be approximately 45 degrees but obviously, some creative alignment still works. The L-brackets were fastened with 3/8” long #8 screws. First install the long boards angled to the left, then add small pieces to divide up the boxes appropriately.

L brackets holding plywood wine rack together

Each square cubby is 14”x14” and holds 12 bottles. Additionally, there are several smaller compartments for “private reserve” bottles or the odd commercial bottle that is gifted to me. All together, my rack holds 175 bottles. This was custom made for my space which will likely be different than your space. As long as the boxes are kept 14” square, you can build this rack to suit any space with great success.

Schematic of under stairs wine rack with measurements

This build has somewhat surprisingly stood up to over a decade of full load and even a couple minor earthquakes. It is a point of pride and visitors enjoy checking out the unique space and selecting wines based on the labels that are displayed.

This is a fun and easy project for anyone who has stairs or even just a bare patch of unfinished wall to spare.

Materials Required:

  • 3/8” plywood
  • 3/8” #8 woodscrews
  • 1” L-brackets
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Power driver or manual screwdriver

Protocol:

-Measure the exterior dimensions that your rack will be and cut plywood for base, top and side walls.
-Lay your base down and attach side walls to stairs and studs on the sides as well as to the base using L-brackets.
-Install top piece.
-Measure and cut your long diagonal boards.
-Install long diagonals at 45 degrees using a protractor or other angle measuring device - including your eyeballs if precision isn't your thing.
-Cut and install 14" long pieces at opposite angles to your long boards to create 14" x 14" compartments.
-Admire your work and load it up with bottles.

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