LA-based interior designer Caren Rideau specializes in designing kitchens, so she’s used to clients saying they want built-in cabinetry for their booze. But in recent years, Caren has skillfully guided clients toward an alternative. Instead of hiding bottles, Caren likes to display them in artfully designed spaces in and around the kitchen/or entertaining areas. “I think in today’s culture, wine and cocktails are an art to pair with food. We celebrate the art when we can see it. And sommelier/wine stations and bars are back!” she quips.
Caren’s aesthetic changed when she started making wine with her partner (in life and business), Andres Ibarra, a lifelong vintner. When they launched their label Tierra y Vino in Santa Ynez, the designer started rethinking the way she displayed wine.
And the pandemic only incented her to switch it up more. “People are entertaining from their homes and having family and friends over more these days. And we want to share in the joy of entertaining with wine and specialized drinks,” she notes.
Caren recommends thinking of the bar as a station to assemble on a table or console. Here are some of her tips to create a clever setup.
BUST OUT THE BOTTLES
Think about placing bottles on tabletops in and around where guests gather. I like when you can create a bar with a table or console for entertaining. You can confine the bar space with a tray or basket.
BRING OUT THE GOOD STUFF
Get out your antique glasses, whether crystal, colored glass or silver! They are much better with a drink in them rather than just sitting in a cabinet. I especially like using unique glassware with a shot of tequila, good whiskey or aperitif.
BRING IN A BASKET
I love containing bottles in a big basket or tray, I think it looks great when you don’t have a specific or designated area for wine. It feels casual and fresh.
Use small groupings of bottles, glasses and other attractive collectibles. The idea is to bring a personal touch to the space and create a point of interest.
BLING YOUR BUILT-IN
Decorate your built-in to match the mood of guests or the affair. Give the bar some personality. Weave in something that speaks to the occasion or setting (are you indoors or outdoors?). Bring in some fresh flowers, a bowl of citrus or a pretty cloth napkin.
For more on Caren and all her endeavors (which include a monthly newsletter with recipes and wine pairings), go to kitchendesigngroup.com
It takes al fresco to a new meaning!