An Eastside Home Gets a Modern Game Room Redesign

Fremont-Based Architecture Firm Turns Basement into Upscale Wine Cellar and Entertainment Center

How do you transform an open, undefined 1,800-square-foot basement into a sophisticated space for fine wine, video games, sports, movies and music? Such was the challenge presented to designer Margaret Menter when a video game executive and his wife charged her with creating the ultimate home entertainment center in their Eastside home, located on the shores of Lake Washington.

“The goal was to create a welcoming space where the family could entertain and share their many passions with friends,” says Menter, co-owner (along with husband, managing architect Norm) of Fremont-based architecture firm Menter Architects (, the primary designer of the project.

Working with furnishings designer Marilyn Deering ( and contractor GKO Construction, Menter set to work carving out distinct zones in the lower level of the 2003 home—for a wine cellar and theater space, plus an exercise room, kitchenette bar and a game area replete with built-in cabinetry for the family’s plethora of music and sports memorabilia. Craftsman-style elements, such as arched joinery, blackened steel hardware, vertical grain columns and a coffered ceiling, helped define the different spaces while maintaining a style that matches the rest of the home.

Photo Credit: Sam Van Fleet. 2,220 bottles of wine are neatly organized in the basement’s 255-square-foot wine cellar

Stylish touches abound, from the kitchenette’s custom copper-topped bar, mosaic backsplash and inset mirror (which reflects images off the big screen so mingling guests don’t miss a minute of the action) to the built-in display wall, which houses the client’s colorful collection of guitars and features a fabric-wrapped acoustical panel for movie-theater-quality sound.

For the 255-square-foot wine cellar, Menter designed custom racks crafted in burgundy-stained American cherry to store the client’s 2,200-bottle collection, creating visual interest by displaying the more artistic bottles horizontally, with labels visible.

The large tasting island, finished with a reclaimed old-growth maple top, boasts storage for collectible wine crates. “It’s all so warm and inviting,” says Menter of the finished product. “It practically begs you to uncork a bottle and stay awhile.”


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