By Estate Manager Bryan Peele

I’m Named One Of LA’s Power Players By Angeleno Magazine

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Angeleno Modern Luxury Power Players

I’m so grateful and humbled to share the news that I’ve been named one of Los Angeles Power Players of 2017 by Modern Luxury Angeleno! See the full feature and complete list of Power Players in the digital issue.
Thank you all for your continuous support and thanks to Angeleno publisher Christopher Gialanella and team Modern Luxury for the recognition, as well as photographer Vincent Vallejo.

Angeleno Modern Luxury Power Players

Angeleno Power Players

Angeleno Modern Luxury Power Players

MONACO YACHT SHOW AND EMC NYC RECEPTION

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monaco yacht show NYC

The Monaco Consulate in New York hosted EMC NYC in conjunction with the Monaco Yacht Show for a wonderful event.

With the support of Her Excellency Maguy Maccario Doyle, Ambassador of Monaco, Gildo Pallanca Pastor, General Consul, and the Monaco Convention Bureau, the first evening reception held at the Consulate of Monaco hosted around 80 privileged guests, members of American associations of asset managers for wealthy clients or the personal assistants of celebrities from Los Angeles and New York.

Here are some scenes from the evening sponsored by Ulysse Nardin. Thank you for hosting us!

Photos by Suzanne Vreeland. 

Monaco Yacht Show Bryan Peele
Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

Monaco Yacht Show NYC Bryan Peele

Monaco Yacht Show NYC

 

London’s Beaumont Hotel: Q&A With Jeremy Kind & Chris Corbin

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Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

Jeremy King and Chris Corbin of Corbin & King in London, have created their first hotel together, The Beaumont.

Located in the heart of Mayfair, this 5-star hotel expresses luxury, creativity and a sovereign sense of hospitality. Not only does this art deco inspired hotel boast personally styled rooms, but it is also home to sculptor Anthony Gormley’s “ROOM,” 742 square feet of luxury, art and architecture.

“ROOM” includes a geometric sculpture, which extends from the hotel and contains the dark, oak clad bedroom. Sculpting Darkness is how the artist describes this area: the only window is above the bed and a long hallway/stairway with black curtains separates the sleeping area from the rest of the suite.  This creates a meditative, cave like space perfect for guests who want an alternative state of consciousness or a pitch-black chamber, ideal for overcoming jet lag with some deep sleep.

The Beaumont’s American Bar, Colony Grill Room, Lotos Room (for fine dining) and the exclusive Cub Room (a private bar and lounge for the hotel resident and their guests), are popular spots for locals and out-of-towners alike. The Beaumont is located on a quiet garden square in Mayfair, has 23 exceptional suites and 50 beautifully decorated rooms, is also within walking distance to the districts museums and shopping.

The Beaumont Hotel comes highly recommended by Estate Managers Coalition President, Bryan Peele, who has been a royally treated guest. Bryan urges everyone to try their signature gingerbread cookies! See more: 

Hotel Feature: The Beaumont, Mayfair, London

Beaumont_Colony_Grill_Room_Dinner_wide_view_Nick-Ingram_MR

Here are the answers to some questions I thought Estate Managers would like to know:

What qualities does the Beaumont possess that consistently earn you the status  “best in the world?”

The Beaumont has been often praised for the feeling that it transmits to its guests upon a visit. Many express gratitude to the front of house staff for going beyond their duties, always being genuine and friendly. Staff therefore could be the number one reason for The Beaumont success. 
At The Beaumont we also like to think one step ahead of our guests’ needs, anticipate their desires before they even ask and also offer maximum recognition so as to make sure all our guests feel special and treated well regardless of their background.

What special seasonal packages will you add for Spring?

We will be sending our spring newsletter next week offering our guests two special packages:

The Beaumont Easter Break – this rate offers -15% off the prevailing Best Available Rate (from £370.00inc VAT per night for a Classic Room). The Beaumont Easter Break rate includes a simple continental breakfast in the Cub Room and late checkout, giving our guests plenty of time to enjoy the many holiday attractions and events happening throughout the city.

The Beaumont Easter Weekend – this offer allows guests to stay for two nights and not only be granted special amenities, but they will also be able to enjoy various activities inside and outside of the Hotel:

  • Per booking the guests will receive Two National Art Passes, valid for 12 months and entitling to free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic houses across the UK, as well as 50% off entry to major exhibitions.
  • A personally decorated Valrhona chocolate Easter egg, created by our pastry team and decorated by the guest in the pastry kitchen.
  • Full English Breakfast each morning
  • A room upgrade (subject to availability at time of arrival)
  • Late check-out time of 2.00pm

Both offers of course also include the complimentary minibar with snacks and soft drinks that is replenished daily, complimentary Wi-Fi, local drop-offs in hotel’s in hotel’ vintage Daimler as well as access to hotel’s spa and 24-hour gymnasium.

Beaumont_Spa_Relaxation_GramRoad_MR

What is your staff to guest ratio?

The staff to guests ration would be at least two employees per room. 

Team building – how does the Beaumont family operate as a team? 

The Beaumont is very dedicated not only to its guests but also to its staff. This is the driving force of the hotel and is responsible for the first impressions of our guests. Therefore it is very important to make sure that the employees come to work happy and enjoy their time here. Our General Manager, Jannes Soerensen, has come up with a guiding principle program that engages staff to be mindful of how they treat each other, our guests and taking care of the space as if it were their own. A team of dedicated employees from all departments engage in regular catch ups to ensure various fun and interesting activities are implemented throughout the year to make sure everyone in the hotel team is acknowledged and feels part of it.

 

EMC Member Spotlight: Paws On Park

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Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

Elizabeth Campbell, owner of PawsOnPark, traded her New York City corporate job working with people for a business where animals are her associates.

PawsOnPark is Manhattan’s Upper Eastside premier pet care service and provides every detail of amenity from Central Park walks/runs, to trips to the vet, to sleepovers while owners are out of town.

I made my yearly trip to NYC last October and spent some time visiting an estate manager friend of mine. I met him at his principal’s apartment before we headed out to the theatre. Four Irish wolfhounds ran this home. They were as big as moose and ranged in ages from two to ten. The dogs were kenneled off in a mudroom when I arrived, but everywhere in the house were signs of scratching, chewing and general dog mayhem. Not to mention, it smelled “doggy.”

“My boss keeps me so busy I don’t have any time to take the dogs out for a walk or to the vet, and it’s all I can do to get them to behave. I need to find a solution before he gets back in town and I lose my job!” Luckily, I knew about PawsOnPark and contacted owner, Elizabeth Campbell, immediately.

Ms. Campbell has an extensive background working with animals. She grew up raising, training and showing dogs and funneled her personal passion into PawsOnPark. Fundamentally, she believes that pets behave better when they are well cared for; this includes regular exercise, routine veterinarian exams, socialization, consistent loving care while owners are away, and puppy / behavioral training when needed.

When your principal brings home a new puppy, PawsOnPark provides crate and obedience training so they can begin life in new surroundings with a solid foundation. No one wants to be angry with the newest member of the family and having a professional provide this structure is invaluable.

 

Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Alfred Eisenstaedt—The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

 

Walks, runs and lots of play are on the menu at PawsOnPark. Puppies and dogs of all ages thrive with exercise and play and will likely misbehave if they are unable to get their “ya’ya’s” out. Just like humans, their health and wellbeing depends on lots of fresh air, exercise and socialization. Because dogs are pack animals, it’s beneficial to socialize them as much as possible. Even if your family has only one dog, dogs like meeting other dogs in the park and on walks; smelling, barking, running and playing – it’s fun for them. The main reason most dogs chew the furniture, mess in the house and bark incessantly is because they aren’t able to release pent up energy. PawsOnPark customizes runs/walks to suit individual age and health needs, and offers weekend hikes outside the city for the adventurous pooch. A Paws Report text is sent at the end of every walk with a photo, plus any interesting updates so pet owners don’t miss a thing. A happy dog is a well-behaved dog!

 

PawsOnPark offers daycare and sleepovers for pets needing some extra loving care. When the family is out of town and you’re on vacation, when you need an empty house to do some seasonal cleaning, or when no one is home in the evening for feeding or “tuck-ins,” etc., PawsOnPark will take care of all pets with the same love and attention their family gives them.

PawsOnPark currently services Upper Eastside homes, but will soon expand to include other New York neighborhoods. They are also available to take pets to veterinarian appointments, as all PawsOnPark animals must be up to date with their shots. EMC’s New York Estate Managers can reach Elizabeth at 917-371-2687 and gather additional information from her website pawsonpark.com.

Paws on Park

Paws on Park

Dear Mr. Woodley: Butler Q&A (Gifts From Principals)

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“Dear Mr. Woodley” is the column of Estate Managers Coalition resident butler, Crispin Woodley, who will answer your questions about all things “butler-esque.”

From proper introductions to thieving guests – to handling undermining children – to how to let Madam know that her outfit is simply inappropriate, Mr. Woodley advises with the knowledge and flare of European etiquette and protocol which only a fine butler understands.

Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

Dear Mr. Woodley,

My boss is always telling me, “Take my Tesla out for a spin!” or “Join us for dinner;” and last week he offered me the use of his Malibu beach house for my upcoming birthday party. Even though I would love to use the beach house, my instincts tell me this may not be a good idea. And, I don’t want to be rude or seem ungrateful. I was wondering what your advice would be?

Thank you,

Anxious in the Palisades

Black matte tesla Los Angeles

Dear Anxious,

One challenge Butlers and Estate Managers face when working for HNW individuals is resisting the temptation to accept gifts and favors. However, handling this without integrity and restraint can spell death for those in our profession. Europe and the U.K. are more formal societies in this respect, and people are naturally wary of an overly friendly demeanor. Principals overseas are expert at practicing boundaries so this type of situation rarely arises. This is, however, commonplace in the U.S. and my experience is that saying no in the most creative and polite way, then immediately changing the subject is the best reaction.

I had a Butler friend in Beverly Hills, we’ll name him Harold, whose employer was giving him gifts and allowing him to drive the Rolls Royce. Everything was fine for a few months until one day his boss came home screaming about a dent in the car. Harold insisted he was not responsible and knowing his integrity, I feel confident vouching for him. His boss deducted the cost of repair from Harold’s paycheck, which was a substantial sum. Harold felt powerless to challenge him – which was proper as we are trained to “take it on the chin,” and accept consequences with grace.

Things didn’t go much better for Harold after that. His employer was now having him work 14 hour days and when Harold attempted to offer reasons why he was unable to stay late, his boss would reply, “Oh I see, you like me enough to take my gifts but not enough to give a little extra time.” Harold’s boss was a perfectly lovely man, however it is still a part of the human condition to give expecting something in return. Harold is no longer under his employ.

When being presented with gifts and favors, I have found it most effective to say things such as: “Thank you very much for your kindness sir,” or “you’re too generous madam, I couldn’t possibly,” Couple this with an excuse or change in subject like: “Shall I begin packing your suitcase now?” or “Honestly madam, I would rather use my car as it fits in the tight parking spots better and I won’t have to drive around for an hour to find a sizable space.” It’s always best to keep the relationship between staff and principal professional. After all, we are in the home, we are not of the home!

 

6 Things To Know Before Putting Away Winter Clothes

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 Spring is the time of the year when we naturally think of organizing and switching out seasonal wardrobes in the homes we care for.

Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

There is no better time to clean your principal’s winter wear before putting it away in the back of the closet or storing it at the bottom of a drawer. Estate Managers Coalition member Door-to-Door Valet Cleaners emphasizes the necessity of removing spots and stains before wrapping up everything until it is worn again next year.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 12.01.02 AM

As far as delicate and couture clothing is concerned; Door-to-Door Valet Cleaners promises quality and special attention, allowing Estate Managers to breathe easy knowing their principals valuable winter garments are impeccably cleaned and wrapped before storing for the next six to nine months.

Here Door To Door Valet Cleaner’s 6 Tips For storing your principal’s seasonal wear:

  1. Dry clean garments that you’re putting away, even if they are normally laundered at home. This is to ensure they are clean and free of stains prior to storage. The reasons for this are many; dry cleaning is a dependable process which provides a more lasting effect than simple washing, stubborn stains are easier to remove, the possibility that insects such as moths will nest and multiply in the clothes is eliminated, and garments retain a fresh smell when unwrapped months later. Door-to-Door Valet sufficiently removes all food stains, even those unseen, thus eliminating the scent that attracts bugs to clothing in the first place.
  2. Location, location, location. Choosing the right place to store garments is key. Beware of hot places such as an attic, heat sets hidden stains and direct sunlight fades fabric.
  3. Plastic storage containers with lids are better than cardboard boxes. Cardboard is acidic and the glue used to construct them is attracts insects.
  4. Many people believe that using mothballs is the only way to stop pests from eating fabric. Although very effective, the fumes are highly toxic and so they should not be put directly on clothing. A Cedar blocks work better, are reusable (purchase additional concentrated cedar spray) and they smell nice.
  5. Door-to-Door Valet suggests using their premium hangers when storing clothing in a hanging valise. Heavy items such as jackets and coats are best hung on padded hangars. Hang skirts on skirt hangers with clips (I drape a small piece of soft fabric over the spot where the clip will go for added protection). Finally, use hanger loops when the garment has them.
  6. Door-to-Door Valet provides museum quality archival materials to wrap delicate garments that are either couture or one-of-a-kind, family heirlooms, baptismal gowns or wedding dresses for a lifetime of storage. Door to Door Valet makes sure all garments of such nature are stored accurately.

About Door To Door Valet:

The Veera family stepped into the dry cleaning business in the early 1980’s and revolutionized a dated industry with top of the line equipment, impeccable quality and customer service.

door to door valet cleaners

The Veera family have owned and operated the flourishing West Coast family business for over twenty years. Door-to-Door Valet is at the top of their industry, proudly earning the title for Los Angeles of “America’s Best Cleaners.” Notably, each piece of equipment used at Door-to-Door Valet is chosen for its exact ability to deliver a superior result: personally inspected garments delivered to your employer’s door, ultra clean, smelling fresh and mended when needed.

Not only does Door-to-Door Valet use newest equipment with the most up to date features, they also own one of the only 1940’s Ajax French drapery presses. The Ajax press is delicate enough for high-end textiles, presses the fabric in a single motion, leaving the edges to be finished by hand pressing. It’s this careful attention to detail that Door To Door Valet has built their reputation on.

door to door valet cleaners

Estate Managers will want to know that certifying as “America’s Best Cleaner,” in the greater Los Angeles area for the last 2 years is an exceptional stamp of approval, especially where the high net worth employers are concerned. These top 30 dry cleaning companies in the country are rated on everything from customer service to quality of service.

Door-to-Door Valet covers every detail when cleaning and repairing your principal’s delicate and couture clothing. They provide specialty hangars, archival chests and woven nylon reusable bags for principals who do not want to use plastic. Their Beverly Hills store opened on December 21, 2015 and they have nine other locations in and around Los Angeles, Santa Monica and the South Bay. Estate Mangers will be pleased to know that Door-to-Door takes care of your employers delicate wear in the expert fashion they demand.

The Magicians Behind The Curtains Of New York Hotels

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A glass attendant’s glove at the Baccarat Hotel. Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

I’ve previously shared about Baccarat Hotel, my home away from home in New York. Last week, The New York Times published a great piece about glass attendants at the Baccarat, along with other “magicians behind the curtain” at some of New York’s most outstanding hotels.

Find out about the people who take care of the details that impact the whole experience from Café Carlyle to the Peninsula New York in “They Maintain a Hotel’s Patina of Opulence” on nytimes.com.

Iconhouse: Why Hire An Image Consultant?

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Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

Estate Managers Coalition member ICONHOUSE is the new image consultancy that brings you a luxury styling experience and takes inspiration from the latest fashion, music, art and luxury trends worldwide.

 

They work with a chic society of discerning style-setters around the globe who enjoy first class service.  ICONHOUSE provides bespoke benefits that include access to exclusive private trunk shows and the most sought after designer products.  Whether you are seeking a new seasonal wardrobe, a renovation of your existing wardrobe or an elegant gown or classic tux for the red carpet, ICONHOUSE brings you beautiful, ready-to-wear haute couture at its finest.

Get to know more about their services and find out the most common fashion mistake women make in our Q&A with ICONHOUSE founders Tanya Gill and Sara Ell.

What are the stressors you notice most during the holiday/award season?

There are so many events that clients are invited to attend or host during this busy time, that it can be overwhelming to choose the appropriate seasonal attire. We are experienced in distinguishing exactly what is going to look great in each situation: holiday parties, galas, family occasions and vacations. For awards season there are so many options from designers around the world. We curate the best options and have the premium resources to logistically transport everything to one location for a fitting. We take the stress out of the entire process; from what jewelry compliments the dress to the finest details like monogrammed cuff links.

Exactly how does ICONHOUSE help clients through the holiday/award season?

We set up a meeting with the client or their assistant to understand the scope of their needs. Then we go through the schedule with the client and assign complete looks with accessories for each event. We will shop for new pieces or we can utilize what is in the closet that could possibly be updated and tailored. These looks, once approved, can be bagged, stored or shipped; ready in an instant!  ICONHOUSE’S high level clientele appreciate our sharp attention to detail, extensive knowledge and relationships with designers in every project we take on.

Can you help someone without meeting them in person?  How would you go about it?

 We can help clients without meeting them by Skype and video conferencing if need be. It helps to have visuals of them and sizes, to research and get an idea of their style and what they’re looking for so we can pull together options. The client can take a look at these and let us know their desires and choices.  We can also fly in for fittings or arrange a tailor.

 Is there a common fashion mistake most women make?  How do you rectify it?

Some women are overly influenced by celebrity images to the extent that they don’t realize a look that they love on Beyoncé might not look the same on their body type or are not age appropriate for them.  We can steer each woman to a happy compromise!

Does your image consulting extend beyond the wardrobe?

Yes, we can advise on hair, makeup and skincare. We have wonderful relationships with tried and trusted experts in many locations.

What are the specific areas you image consult in?

Women / Men / Teens/ Children / Ready to wear / Couture / Custom /Vintage / Clothing renovation

Red carpet gowns / Suits / Tuxedos / Shoes / Handbags / Fine and costume jewelry

Swimwear / Vacation clothes / Luggage / Workout clothes / Wedding attire

Tanya Gill and Sara Ell are statement-makers, skilled at bringing out the best features and most unique aspects of each client through trends in culture – in a modern and authentic fashion.  If you have any other questions regarding ICONHOUSE services or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact them at info@iconhouse.com.

Dear Mr. Woodley: Butler Q&A (Estate Manager’s Dress Code)

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­

“Dear Mr. Woodley” is the column of Estate Managers Coalition resident butler, Crispin Woodley, who will answer your questions about all things “butler-esque.”

From proper introductions to thieving guests – to handling undermining children – to how to let Madam know that her outfit is simply inappropriate, Mr. Woodley advises with the knowledge and flare of European etiquette and protocol which only a fine butler understands.

Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie.

Dear Mr. Woodley,

I have a butler/estate manager friend who works on a large property in Beverly Hills. I saw her out and about town the other day and assumed it was her day off given the attire she donned. She was wearing a white, off-the-shoulder concert tee-shirt, black jeans with holes at the knees, short black biker boots…and….ahhh…she wreaked of Patchouli oil!

I said hello, asked how she had been and what she was up to. All was well; she was doing some quick errands for her principal who was back at the estate.

I was shocked – she dressed as if she was about to go to a Gwen Stefani concert at the Forum and she smelled like a hippie at Woodstock.

Mr. Woodley, please help me understand what she must be thinking and what type of principal she works for, who let’s her dress this way!?

Signed,

Confused from the valley.

street style black ripped jeans white t shirt

Dear Confused,

This is an interesting question and the answer has many different components. The true art of butler service in a home is founded on discretion, and a reputable estate manager will follow the same guidelines. “Discretion,” makes service professionals to think of being close-mouthed about the details of their principal’s home and personal life. Yes, this is a fraction of butler service, but how a butler dresses; their manners and the boundaries they establish are a part of discretion as well.

The Mr. and Mrs. are at the apex of the home’s hierarchy, thus none of their staff should outshine them. This means that no butler takes any attention away from him or her, whether it is positive or negative.

Practicing restraint requires a hefty dose of self-esteem, an inner resource of character and wisdom. A well-trained butler has a solid sense of self without needing or seeking acknowledgment on a job well done or a compliment on their appearance (neither a reprimand). A high-quality butler is practiced at the art of being inconspicuous yet at the same time, indispensable.

Image: Max Mara

Image: Max Mara

 

The butler and estate manager are representatives of the family, often the first person an outsider comes into contact with before meeting the principals. Because one never gets a second chance to make a first impression, it is always important to look one’s best. Here are some guidelines for establishing a positive presence in the home so that no unnecessary attention is given:

  1. Depending on the formality of the home – wear a suit or business casual attire. This means a classic look, understated and definitely no holes (get classic style here).
  2. Women, please never wear perfume and men no cologne (but do be freshly bathed)!! This includes using very strongly scented shampoo, conditioner, deodorant or lotion. Nothing should take away from Madame’s perfume or Mister’s cologne, as they are the kings and queens of the castle. Also, scent is such a personal taste and your employer may not like your perfume or worse, they may be allergic to it. It is best not to aggravate them.
  3. Leave the jewelry at home and wear it on your day off; simple earrings, a dainty necklace or a watch or are fine. But big bling-bling chains, rings, fancy diamonds that scream, “Look at me,” or anything nicer than what your employer’s wear is far too “conspicuous.”
  4. Plain face, light makeup and hair pulled back is tastefully appropriate for women. Clean-shaven and hair trimmed to a conservative (yet fashionable) length is suitable for men.
  5. Nothing too revealing, too short, too exposing (women) or too tight (women and men).

The butler is one of the few remaining gentilities we have left in the reputable home.

Even if your principal behaves casually and allows you to dress in a very casual manner, don’t do it! It will come back to haunt you, I promise. Sooner or later your employer will feel his or her generosity has been taken for granted and you’ve given them a reason to dismiss you. A butler lives by a code of integrity and discretion; aggravating, inciting jealousy or being obsequious has no place in the world of private service.

 

Amal Clooney

Amal Clooney

 

Thomas Warner Wine Cellars: How To Protect Your Estate’s Vintage Assets

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Edited by guest estate manager Martha Lockie featuring Estate Managers Coalition member Thomas Warner Wine Cellars

For clients seeking a unique and elegant way of accommodating significant wine collections, many top international sommeliers refer Thomas Warner Wine Cellars (TWWC) to design, fabricate and install their wine cellars. This ensures that the special vintages are housed securely in a climate-controlled environment and displayed in a visually stunning manner, complimenting the architecture of your principal’s home.

I sat down with Tom Warner, Founder of TWWC to ask the questions that every estate manager should when performing their due diligence prior to installing a wine cellar.

Thomas Warner Wine Cellars

What type of wood do you use to build your wine cellars? 

We use a wide variety of hardwoods, including mahogany, walnut and oak, which can be stained and finished in different tones, including opaque. We also fabricate with metal, including bronze, stainless steel and blackened steel. For highlighted features such as framed displays, counter tops and freestanding islands, we often use other metals such as pewter, copper or nickel. Stone and colored glass can be used as well.

Is there one material that is better or worse for controlling the temperature than another? 

No, all materials perform equally in a fully climate-controlled room.

Do you have a favorite and why? I feel all materials in our palette have applications when they reflect the architectural style of the home and highlight the content of the collection.

What is the least amount of space needed to build a wine cellar?

I have built in small utility closets approximately 3′ wide x 18″ deep x 7′ tall, holding as few as 200 bottles.

What is the largest wine cellar TWWC has designed?

The largest cellar housed about 20,000 bottles; the size of the room to house that collection measured approximately 16′ x 50,’ with 12′ high ceilings.

Thomas Warner Wine Cellars

Above is a photo of the Colgin Winery in Napa, built by Tom Warner. It holds about 18,000 bottles and measures 12′ x 75,’ with 14′ ceilings.

Do you build according to how the wine will be organized (i.e. whites with whites, year by year)? Is this a preference of the principal or will the client leave this up to you?

All clients organize their collections differently and most often by varietal, such as chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, cabernet, syrah, etc. I often see additional organization by nation of origin or region. For instance, the French portion of a collection may be organized and displayed separately for Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley and Loire.

What is the perfect temperature for a wine cellar? 

Most cellars are held at 55 degrees and 70% relative humidity for aging the collection. Occasionally clients separate their white wines and age them at 53 degrees and 70% humidity. Champagnes are most often aged at 55%.

What types of wines will stand straight up and what types will lie down?

The information we receive from most of our sommeliers and other wine experts suggests that wine should be stored prone. Some can be displayed at a slight angle, as long as the cork is still immersed in liquid and the air bubble stays in the shoulder of the bottle. Occasionally, large bottles or other special wines are stood up for display in the cellar and should be rotated regularly. These decisions are usually made between the client and their sommelier or cellar manager.

Can you give me an example of a unique home you had to match a new wine cellar to?  Perhaps a modern home that is mostly glass and white?

Recently, I completed a cellar for a very historical home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. This particular mansion with classic architecture on the outside had one floor that was highly contemporary and accommodated the wine cellar. Since the glass-faced wine cellar was adjacent to a gallery of art, I chose to design and fabricate the entire cellar in statuary bronze. The result was quite dramatic.

Marble and concrete?

Over the years, I have found that conditions in long-term storage sometimes create a pH balance that makes the air a bit acidic. Over time, this can cause marble to become pitted, as the calcium breaks down in these conditions. Therefore, I tend to discourage marble. More dense limestone, as well as concrete, slate, and granites, tend to be preferable stone materials.

We know that wine bottles should never be moved in order to clean or dust them off, how do you advise the wine cellar be cleaned and how often?

Generally, I find that wine cellars are not cleaned, except for the floor, windows and perhaps the lenses on the lighting fixtures. With climate controlled systems the air is filtered and continually circulates through the cooling system. Since wine cellars are closed and climate-controlled, little or no dust gathers.

When you go into a home where you are redesigning an established wine cellar, what are some problems you see with the way some companies have built or designed the cellar? 

The main issues we usually see are sub-optimal cooling systems, lack of humidity control, vapor gain into the wine cellar, un-insulated heat sources and other poorly functioning materials affecting the quality of the envelope. Most often, I recommend removal of the existing wine racking and other materials, especially unfinished wood. This ensures that any mildew spores that may have been deposited are not allowed to grow. A mildew outbreak can destroy the paper labels on the wine, causing significant devaluation of the collection. I provide a carefully curated wine room checklist to be reviewed with the client and their building team before constructing the new wine cellar.

When lighting a wine cellar, is there a special type of lighting you use or recommend that does not generate too much heat? 

I usually recommend LED lighting, which generates very little heat.

Do the fixtures need to be kept a certain distance away from the bottles?

Most of the lighting consultants and wine makers I have worked with suggest that LED lighting placed a few inches away from the bottles at a fairly low wattage, has no negative effect on the collection. The lighting decision, cellar materials and specifications are ultimately left to the client and their sommelier.

Do very old vintages need to be kept in a particular place in the wine cellar?

Occasionally, wine makers, sommeliers and well known collectors may suggest that older vintages be placed in the lower 4′ of the cellar, as warm air rises. However, we utilize a combination of several temperature sensors placed throughout the cellar to assure even temperature and humidity distribution. I recommend an AiroCide unit that utilizes internal ultra-violet light to kill mildew spores. A small fan continuously pulls air through the unit and washes the interior climate about once a day.

At the end of my visit with Tom, I was thoroughly convinced of the need to consult TWWC from the beginning of the project to ensure that the cellar is built properly. Our estates reflect the fine tastes of the families we serve and estate managers strive for nothing but the best. When there are so many crucial details to consider, we rely on professionals like Tom Warner to help us deliver the highest quality products and services.

Thomas Warner Wine Cellars offers a complimentary consultation to evaluate and make recommendations that will enhance your estate’s present wine collection and add significant value to the home. Thomas Warner Wine Cellars can then create a full-color drawing and personalized design for EMC family members.

Contact Tom Warner at tom@thomaswarnerwinecellars.com or call him at 415.883.8120 to begin creating a bespoke design that reflects the architectural style of your principal’s home.