before & after: shutter wood embellished dresser

Woodworking is possibly my all-time favorite craft, and seeing new inventive techniques and creative re-uses only reinforces my love for the material. Matt has taken a simple, old chest of drawers, some shutters and an old belt and turned them into a really rad piece of furniture. The dark and light woods, leather and crisp white paint work wonderfully together, and the herringbone pattern is just amazing and apparently quite simple to make. Using the shutter slats for the pattern, so that he already had consistently sized pieces, was also totally brilliant — gotta remember that one for the future. Great work, Matt! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

See more of Matt’s dresser and find out how he made it after the jump!

Time: 22 hours

Cost: $97

Basic Steps: First was sanding the main cabinet with different grades of sand paper to remove varnish and old stain. The final sand paper grit used is a 120, as this gives the paint some texture to stick to. I used a sprayer to prime and paint in a white lacquer. The finish is more of a dull or matte lacquer, which I think makes this work well with the wood texture; it’s not so slick compared to the wood patina.

Next I cut the old shutter slats out by removing the side rails. This gave me pieces that all had the same thickness and width for consistency. I then hand-cut all the slats on a table saw at a 45-degree angle and used wood glue to adhere to the drawer fronts. I thought this herringbone pattern would offset the square geometry of the cabinet and give it some visual excitement. The handles are vintage belts that were cut to size, and after I drilled some holes in the drawers, I used aluminum barrel nuts to secure the handles.

My advice is to check re-use stores for materials with great patinas — you can’t manufacture wood with an aged feel, so go looking for those unique textures that make your piece unique and visually interesting. Also, think about using any materials you find in bold patterns; look at fabrics, floors and artwork for interesting patterns, and replicate these in the materials you find. — Matt

  1. Pamela says:

    Absolutely love it.

  2. Lauren says:

    amazing. my style is pretty traditional but this makes me want to redecorate my whole house. awesome job matt!

  3. Sandra Costa says:

    It’s my first comment ever, but this one just deserve every comment it gets! congratulations from Portugal! You’ve surely nailed it! :D

  4. sarah says:

    WOW, really nice. I would seriously want that in my room. Lovely!

  5. Steph says:

    This is fabulous and so clever! I would love to see more of Matt’s work featured on design sponge.

  6. nydia says:

    nicely done – looks fantastic!

  7. Jo Kin says:

    Super cool, and you did an awesome job! Very Pro!

  8. deb neville says:

    really beautifully renovated, looks amazing ;)


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