Design Review: Wine Coffee Table

For my main project I would like to construct a piece of furniture that stores wine bottles. I will be trying to achieve the vineyard aesthetic by using oak wood, or wood that is stained to a similar color, wine boxes possibly, rod iron, the steel hoops that hold wine barrels together and other material such as cork. Ideally I would it to store wine bottles and also be translucent so you can see the contents from the top or sides possibly. The dynamic aspect of the project will be sliding drawers and other doors for storage including a secret magnetic lock compartment.  My design is really dependent on the size and shape of the wine bottle and how many bottles I would like to store. Here a few pictures I will be using as inspiration but I would like to create something unique. I also really like the idea of using recycled wood such as old shipping pallets so I may incorporate that into my design.

A few constraints that I will be subject to are the following.

  1. Must fulfill the “vineyard” aesthetic.

I want this coffee table to not only be able to store a few bottles of wine but I also want it to look and feel like it was created for a vineyard home. I would like to achieve this aesthetic by using similar wine racks that are found in cellars and coolers, possibly incorporating pieces from a wine barrel or wooden wine boxes, adding cork coaster inlays in the top of the table, and by staining the table to a an oak finish or darker earthy tone like the outside of an oak tree. I would also like to include a grape vine piece made out of metal if possible as a centerpiece or trim around the edges of the table. If I decide to use the wine boxes as drawers with a glass top above them, I would like to fill the boxes with shredded paper to give it that gift box display look.

  1. Woodworking skill

While I have made many projects out of wood, from doghouses to small cabinets, I have never taken on a project where overall finish is extremely important. I would like to create this piece as if it was purchased in a furniture store. That means no visible screws, nice sanded corners, even cuts etc… This will require me to look for a lot of inspiration on basic building design and I will have to expand my woodworking ability to deliver a quality end product.

  1. Functionality

Often times whenever I build something for the first time, half way through the project I wish that I had designed something differently or when it’s fully complete it just turns out to be not as functional and easy to use as I would like. I feel that this is very important to consider in this project because a coffee table should still be very simple and as functional as possible. I need to keep simplicity in mind while also jazzing up the design a bit and really strive to think about how I will be using it.

  1. Time

As many senior engineering students may find themselves during this time of year, I have very limited time to spend starting another project, especially one that will at a minimum take me 24 hours such as this one. I hope to save time by starting with a rather simple structure and targeting one main design that must be included. That way I can slowly add more and more features to the project as I find spare time. It also will allow me to have room for improvement if I cannot completely finish the project to my expectations.

  1. Cost

Oak wood is not the cheapest material to build out of especially when you are not a master wood worker and will most likely make a few slight mistakes. The glass piece I may inlay on the top of the table may also prove to be costly as well as some of the drawer hardware I will need to make my project dynamic. I have ideas for how to slim the budget on a few of these high cost items but I will for sure be pushing the budget pretty close.



The prototype I created for the wine coffee table was a simple balsa wood model that helped me not only scale but visualize what I want the final product to look like. It also helped my figure out all the various fastening methods I will need to use. The picture on the top left is a general overview of the shape and style I would like to pursue. The model is scaled down to a tenth of the size for reference. I want to keep the design very open and free feeling versus the coffee tables that are very bulky and have very little place to put your feet. Height was a big concern of mine so I measured a few different coffee table to figure out an appropriate height. The main feature of the table shown in the top middle figure is a rectangular cut out that will be overlayed with glass so you can the wine bottles in the drawer below. The drawer will be on hinges and will slide out from under the table top. Keeping with the vineyard aesthetic I plan on buying two wine “trays” that are slimmed down versions of wine crates for the main drawer. I love the look and logos on the sides of the drawer and I plan  on connecting two six bottle trays together to create one large drawer. The lower left picture is a model I made of the drawer. Below is a picture of the trays I will be using.

The table top will have a secret compartment, marked in pencil, and four built in coasters that will be made out of cork to add to the vineyard aesthetic. The secret compartment will be sized to store four wine glasses and a few other various items. A quarter of that compartment will be walled off and sealed. A small hinged section will be added to the outside with a magnet latch that will only be able to be opened with a magnet.  The side opposite to the storage shown in the bottom right photo will have six holes which will house extra wine bottles.

Overall I still need to create a fully dimensioned CAD model and make a few more important design considerations including choice of wood, stain and seal that I will need to use to protect the table from wear and tear.

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9 Comments. Leave new

  • Levi Cortright
    May 10, 2017 9:52 pm

    This is a great idea! It is something that you will be able to use in your everyday life. It is a great way to incorporate something you love into a project for school. Make sure that the wine cases you use match the table you get.

  • Marcus Gurule
    May 8, 2017 7:23 am

    From looking at your prototype it looks like you are well on your way and have put in a lot of thought to your design. I like the idea of using old wine boxes to fit perfectly with the aesthetic that you are going for. I like the idea of having the display window in order to show off the bottles as well as having a glass tabletop. I am excited to see what your final product turns out like.

  • Errol Romero
    May 1, 2017 3:26 pm

    This coffee wine table seems like a really cool idea that can serve multiple purposed. The small scale model you brought in really help me understand the design that you were looking for. This project sounds like it has the potential to be tedious and time consuming so I hope that you find enough time to make the table the way you want to accurately.

  • Luke Woolley
    March 22, 2017 9:39 am

    Go to ReSource on Arapahoe! They’ve got tons of materials that you can repurpose or redesign to achieve what you’re going for. Stock changes weekly/daily as people take things and drop off others. This is going to be a pretty classy creation, but don’t forget to cite your inspiration. You need the name and website for the photos you’ve shared.

  • Hi Dean,

    I’m excited to see the fabrication of your project. If your relying on a used glass top to save costs I’d recommend acquiring it prior to finishing your design as its dimensions may end up driving some of your constraints. Your overall design is very functional. Keeping this in mind, you may want to add some sort of inlay for the boxes which the wine will reside in. This will help keep the bottles oriented correctly and prevent them from clanging against each other when opening or closing the drawer. I would also suggest adding space to your compartment with the wine glasses for a wine opener. Wine corks could also be an interesting thing to tie into your aesthetic, sometimes Goodwill has bags full of them for $1. Best of luck with your project.

  • Gautham Govindarajan
    March 20, 2017 12:01 am

    Looks like you’ve made some really good progress with your prototypes. I think that your project having a nice functional aspect to it is really cool. The vineyard aesthetic is a very good one. Also, I like the secret compartment idea. Apart from the vineyard aesthetic, have you thought about some other aesthetics to your designs like may be having inlays on top of the table?

  • Katherine Yarnell
    March 19, 2017 9:51 pm

    Your prototype was really well done. I liked that you even had a drawer that opened and closed. This seems like a really good idea for a project. It will be both functional and have a nice aesthetic. The secret compartments are a really great idea. I’m very excited to see the final product.

  • Blake Arellano
    March 17, 2017 11:55 am

    It still seems like you need to firm up your aesthetic a bit. I liked the vintage winery aesthetic, which i think you could show through a darker stain, rougher wood, and possibly some cast iron accents. I love all the compartments how you will be able to see into the drawer. Making it a nice display case for the bottles inside. Kudos man! Also, I have a wood joining book if you would like to borrow it, though youtube is definitely the best resource these days.

  • Hey Dean,

    I liked your prototype because it looked like you really put some thought into it. I thought your ideas for secret compartments were cool. You mentioned putting a glass top on it, and I would suggest ReSource in Boulder to get that, because they have a bunch of ones from old coffee tables at reasonable prices (so then maybe this can help you afford the oak wood that you wanted). In thinking about aesthetics, Those trays you have look really cool. I like the unfinished, light-colored wood look. Maybe you can stamp things on other parts of the table that look similar to that? Or somehow incorporate other wind bottle or wind company labels? Just something to think about.


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