Stylish Details Enliven a Low Dresser
Frame-and-panel design keeps the look light and the construction manageable
Synopsis: The design of Michael Pekovich’s low chest of drawers manages to avoid the “boxy” look that dressers tend to get. The frame-and-panel construction allowed legs to be added to the piece, lifting it off the floor. The drawers are arranged side by side, which adds to the horizontal lines. Both of these elements can make the project more complex, but because most of the parts and joinery use consistent dimensions and construction is broken down into bite-size pieces, it’s not difficult.
A dresser is really just a big box stuffed with smaller boxes. Because of that, dressers tend to look, well, boxy. when I set out to build a chest of drawers for the magazine, I really wanted to get away from the stale, boxy look that is typical. My first strategy was to go with a frame-and-panel design. This allowed me to add legs to the case, lifting it off the floor. Second, instead of stacking the drawers in a tall case, I arranged them side by side to create a wide, low case. This keeps the dresser from looking too tall and dominating the room. Both elements, while creating a nice design, also add to the complexity of the project. The good news is that none of the joinery is particularly challenging. By breaking down the construction into bite-size pieces, you can simplify the build and reduce headaches.
I chose white oak for the legs, frame, and top, and butternut for the drawer fronts, side panels, and back panels to provide subtle contrast. The overall design is simple, but a few playful details give the case personality. There is a subtly curved taper to the outside faces of the legs, and the top rails are coved at the ends and overlap the legs. The top…