Dynamic Design Duo: Medex® MDF & SkyPly® Hardwood Plywood

Not your usual casework

SGO Works is a small, one-man woodworking shop out of Denver, Colorado. Short for “Some Guy in Overalls,” SGO Works was started by Kelly Wooldridge, a former sommelier with a background in hospitality but a deep passion for woodworking, who started off providing general handyman work to local restaurants and bars before settling into his current niche of furniture, built-in pieces, and… wine cellars.

Challenge: Kelly recently worked with a client in Denver (fellow wine lovers, of course) who wanted a wine cellar to house their 700-bottle collection – but they also needed room to grow, as well as a comfortable and classy space to enjoy their impressive wine collection. The bonus room in the basement of their existing home was the perfect candidate.

Solution: The homeowners started with great inspiration pieces and unique ideas, including the rack’s signature chevron shelving, and they wanted to make sure that the final design married their contemporary aesthetic with the function of the space. This is where Kelly’s 10+ years as a sommelier came in handy: Working with the homeowners to design and build this new space, Kelly came up with a solution that pairs the homeowners’ desired chevron shelving with unique racks that display individual bottles label-forward. Traditional racking would have been more expensive and tedious, and the four hard edges of traditional cubby-style racking could potentially damage or add unnecessary wear to the wine bottle labels – a huge detriment if you collect wine with the intent to re-sell it later.

When trying to decide on the rest of the structural materials for the wine cellar, Kelly also kept his attention laser-focused on the end product; he’s seen too many wine cellars that prioritize design over function, or vice versa, and he’s seen a few that use too much wood, creating too much “sameness.”

Kelly’s design achieves its stunning look through a unique combination of Roseburg’s SkyPly® hardwood plywood with a walnut veneer and Medex® MDF. SGO Works used SkyPly® for the tops and bottoms of the units, as well as the paneling that covers electrical chases above the shelving. Because of the proportions of the space and the 10-foot ceilings, the tops and bottoms are more visible than the rest of the structure, so the walnut veneer gives the structure great depth and visual interest, while the plywood’s veneer core adds structural integrity and dimensional stability to the overall unit.

Walnut edge banding on the Medex® panels brings the whole look together while adding additional stiffness and stability, not to mention MR50 moisture resistance, which is sure to come in handy in this unique environment. Medex® also has no added formaldehyde, so the homeowners can breathe easy in their new space. And yes, those light-colored interior walls of the wine rack are “naked” MDF, with just a light coat of oil to protect them – and bring out the unexpectedly beautiful natural qualities of the wood fiber.

Results: The end result is a stunning and high-end wine cellar that replaces a plain old bonus room in the house’s basement. Estimated to hold between 1,800 and 2,100 bottles of wine, it will house the current homeowners’ current collection and grow with them in their forever home. The homeowners also commissioned SGO Works to build some new furniture to complement existing furniture and the brand-new elements within the space, bringing the whole look together.

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A green sofa and yellow chair sit outside a glass-doored wine cellar with empty chevron shelving.
A straight-on shot of the wine cellar with empty chevron shelving
A closer view of the shelving
A super-close shot of the shelving. You can clearly see the "raw" surfaces of the MDF with walnut accents.
All Inspirations