How to: Build a Dresser (a guest post by Brandon)

I am so excited to be back to blogging after a little break. We have been going crazy on renovating and working on the house that things got backed up in our camera and in our lives. But that just means MORE projects to share with you all soon! 
Remember how I showed you my inspiration for the guest room, and then a little about the daybed and the painting? Well today's post is all about our guest room progress! But instead of me, you get to hear from a much more talented member of the Rethemeyer family...my husband Brandon. He made a custom dresser for this room and he really is a gem; he always insists on saving a buck and "doing it himself".
To say I am proud is an understatement. But not to sugar coat it - shit was hard and I did not help at all. At all... #realtalk
Anyways, enjoy! And if you have any questions email me and he will respond to you! erin@cali-landchic.com

Thanks a lot Crate & Barrel.

So apparently a Crate & Barrel Christmas catalog can turn into a complete room renovation. Lets go back first...Five and a half years ago we were house shopping and we "needed" an office space for one of our rooms. Now back to the present...we never used the office. We honestly can count on one hand the amount of times we sat in the desk chair and did "office stuff."
So in December "the" Crate & Barrel catalog showed up on our kitchen island with the page folded over to a red daybed. 
After we stared at this picture for weeks we agreed to do away with the office furniture and make this room a functional guest space. We held out and patiently waited a month and a half for the daybed to go on sale before we snatched it up. This kick started the room renovation.
My next immediate question, (after, "what two people possibly need this much luggage?") was, "where are we going to hide all this luggage?"
After researching some dressers for a week, I apparently thought I had all the confidence and information needed to go ahead and build my first piece of actual furniture. (side note- I now know way too much about inset vs. overlay cabinets...this will make sense when you begin to develop a plan for your very own dresser) I first measured the tallest and widest piece of luggage to ensure a complete fit inside the dresser. We knew the dresser was going to be against a large wall so we were prepared to build a statement piece. Using 1" MDF as the outside panels, I screwed them to 2x4's on the bottom. (make sure the outside panels are plum before moving forward-everything must be square) I then attached the top using a 1x2. 

With the initial supports in place, I then attached another 1"MDF panel in the middle as a separator between the drawers and cabinets. Using 1/2" MDF I screwed the bottom of the dresser to the 2x4's and attached another 1x2 to begin the drawer area. I got a little nervous at this point so I stacked all the luggage in just to make sure it would indeed all fit before I got too far. 

I attached the 4 cabinet front panels (1/2"MDF) to the face frame using this...
Erin stuck her head in to see the  progress and came up with the brilliant idea of using magnetic catches on the doors so they would firmly close. 
For the drawers, there are a ton of options out there for drawer slides. I didn't want to "over complicate" my already unsure idea of a dresser so I got the cheap-o wheel slides and attached the one side to the dresser and one side to the drawer box.
For the top I used 1/2"MDF and for the back I attached Lauan. 
With the entire dresser structure built.
...it was time to "class" it up a bit. I decided to attach  1" lattice strips to create some depth and attractiveness and then primer coated the entire piece. After one coat of Kilz, I painted 2 coats of light grey and finished it off with a layer of polyurethane. (all painting was done with foam brushes so it had as smooth a finish as possible)
With construction out of the way, I summoned Erin's opinion for the knobs and decorations because with most of our projects we have the agreement that I will build and she will make it "pretty." Again, she did a fantastic job of finishing off this project and completing the new home for our luggage.
 *not finished decorating yet! but getting there!*
So all thanks to a Crate & Barrel Christmas catalog we now have a red daybed (without a mattress yet) and I was able to build my first piece of usable furniture. If you have any specific questions, I will try my best to help you, as I have gone through the frustration and head scratching you may experience. Stay tuned for more guest room makeover blogs as we made it a goal to DIY the majority of this transformation. 

Isn't he the best?! 
Happy dresser making people!



  1. That looks amazing Brandon!!!! Thanks for the awesome tips, I will get Curtis on this right away ;-)

  2. Oh my gosh, that dresser is awesome! Your husband did such a great job! It looks fantastic!

  3. It looks amazing!! If you would have just shown the last pic, I would have never guessed you built it!! Also....love the red bed :)

  4. It came out great! That's awesome that the Crate and Barrel catalog became such potent inspiration!


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