Designing a lingerie chest

Dresser design drawings

I made a chest of drawers for my new daughter’s room. It took a few months to complete and I thought I’d wait to see if it turned out well before blogging about it. It turned out better than I had expected…

Design brief

I wanted the chest to be small, but not specifically a children’s piece. Turns out, a tall narrow chest of drawers is often called a “lingerie chest” and traditionally has 7 drawers, one for each day of the week. I found this design for a tall chest online by Popular Mechanics. It gave me general dimensions to work from and made me think about how to support the drawers.

One design idea I love is this chest of drawers that open in two directions by Nosigner. I don’t know how I’d get drawers to open in two directions, but I think simply having a set of drawers on the front and another on the side would be cool. Maybe one day I will try something like this. But not this time.

So I decided to make something a on the traditional end of the spectrum. It is a 4-board dovetailed carcass with 6 drawers – made out of soft maple with walnut drawer-fronts for contrast. It also has a walnut base and legs, almost like this design by Stickley.

Assembly steps

I will post about each step of the build:

  1. Saw rough boards to length, laminate to width and plane flat.
  2. Dovetailing the carcass.
  3. Install the back.
  4. Making runners and rails for drawer support.
  5. Resawing boards for drawer fronts.
  6. Dovetailing and assembling the drawers.
  7. Making the base and legs.
  8. Finishing.

I used my sketch (shown above) to work out roughly how much lumber to buy. The walnut wasn’t cheap, but it looks wonderful when oiled. I’ll post about the build over the next few weeks – a far quicker time frame than it took to build!


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