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Designing, Building, and Installing a Luxury Custom Wine Cube

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Designing, Building, and Installing a Luxury Custom Wine Cube

An 11-foot wine cube enveloping a pantry is the stand out feature of this customized New York penthouse

By James F. McClister April 8, 2024
custom wine cube
The wine cube separates the kitchen and dining room, which, in the apartment’s redesign, were combined into a single 70-plus foot space with expansive views to the south and west. | Photos: Travis Mark
This article first appeared in the March/April 2024 issue of Pro Remodeler.

When clients of New York architecture and interior design firm The Turett Collaborative (TTC) decided to move from their TTC-designed home to a penthouse in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood, there was little question as to who would help the family customize their new space. TTC was the obvious choice.

And while the finished penthouse boasts plenty of worthwhile design elements, it’s the home’s pantry that perhaps stands out most prominently—or more specifically, the custom wine closet display enveloping the pantry.

Standing 11 feet tall, the custom wine cube serves dual purpose: it’s as a dramatic wine display and wine storage. The giant, free-standing cube conceals the pantry completely and centers the open-concept home.

“This is a very bespoke construction,” says Alex Nizhikhovskiy, TTC’s lead architect for the project. “There were no instructions to follow here and no stock parts.”


Building the Wine Cube

Building the cube itself was a collaborative effort that required working with metal fabricator and artist Gabrielle Shelton of Shelton Studios, who, as Nizhikhovskiy explains, helped “develop the sizing and detailing of the metal framework to receive standard glass door hinges and hardware,” the latter of which was plated by Shelton to match the bronze finish of the framework.

“That framework is in fact built of steel bars to support the loads imposed on it by the glass doors/panels,” he says. “It was patinated with a bronze finish to create a warmer and more high-end look for a very industrial product.” 

TTC then worked with an acrylic shelving manufacturer to tie everything together.  


west chelsea penthouse
The wine cube, set dead center between the kitchen, breakfast nook, and dining room, anchored the luxury family home. | Photo: Travis Mark


Careful Layout and Design Planning

Planning for the cube, which was meant from the start to be a primary feature of the home, was part of a total rethinking of the home’s layout. 

“Part of the reorganization of the apartment was to position the kitchen and dining room as an open and central pivot point between the public and private portions of the apartment,” Nizhikhovskiy says.

“The free-floating pantry volume acts to define the two areas without disrupting the openness and continuity between them. It’s concealed by having the west end of the pantry built out with appliances and millwork storage to serve the kitchen, while the north and east are wrapped with the wine display, and the south exposure, facing the windows, is the least visible and has the door in and out of the pantry.”


Installing the Glass and Steel Structure 

Installing the cube required just as much thought, as it ultimately is not a singular element but rather a series of components that had to be brought in and then assembled onsite. 

“We provided plenty of plywood blocking at the floors, walls, and ceiling to give these elements something to anchor to,” Nizhikhovskiy explains. 

LED lighting panels were installed to the stud walls around the pantry for backlighting the wine shelving, and the acrylic shelves were placed in front of those, having to be anchored to both the floor and ceiling as well as to each other. 

“The custom metal framing structure was then installed, anchoring it to the floor, ceiling, and with horizontal supports back to the wall,” Nizhikhovskiy says. “That provides the attachment points—which were milled in the metal at the shop—for the glass hinges and tracks.”


turrett collaborative wine cube
Like much else of the cube, the acrylic shelves used for wine storage (above) had to be assembled and installed on-site.


Custom Climate Control

Climate control for the wine was a final step needed to tie the structure together. 

“The pantry ceiling provides space and access for the cooling equipment, which was then ducted to multiple positions along the north and east walls behind the wine display.” 

Nizhikhovskiy explains that along the top of both sides of the display are a series of integrated supply-air slots.

“These ‘drop’ cold air at the top of the display, which then migrates down in front of the shelves and is drawn through a return air slot at the base of the display wall, where another series of slot vents return the air back to the cooling unit to complete the loop.”

Disassembling the cube would effectively mean following those many installation steps in reverse, from disconnecting the cooling units all the way to breaking down the individual components and hauling them away from the top floor of the New York City condo building. 

Luckily, as the homeowners expected, they were happy with TTC’s work. 


James F. McClister has written about residential construction and served as an editor for nearly a decade at Custom Builder magazine, Residential Products Online, Pro Builder, and Pro Remodeler.

This was first published online for Custom Builder.



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