Handmade Dressers

As beautiful as they are functional, a craftsman can create a number of unique handmade dressers by calling on the wealth of designs and fashions of centuries past that are still popular today. Modern handmade bedroom dressers can meld styles, such as Queen Anne, Shaker and Mission styles of furniture, to match the style and color of any wooden bed and bedside table. Other sideboard dressers often feature a combination of natural woods to accentuate a frame and panel construction that creates a unique aesthetic to match any dining room’s décor.

The same dovetail joinery that craftsmen use to create sturdy handmade desks is also used to build elegant tops, sides and drawers of handmade dressers. The body of the dresser, or the carcass, is held together with dovetail joints that add an element of design as well as making it extremely strong. Other dressers employ frame and panel construction that is highlighted by mortise and tenon joinery that is accented with wooden pins.  Combining both techniques for any style of handmade dresser is what makes the carcass durable and the drawers move in and out smoothly.

Among the many styles of handmade wooden furniture that are still favored today is the Queen Anne style. The Queen Anne style of handmade wooden furniture was first made popular in America between 1720 to 1760 and can be distinguished from other styles by the signature cyma, or S-curve, that is seen in the feet of a dresser or chair, and may also be worked into other parts of a piece of furniture. These S-curves blend well with modern styles of decorating by softening the look of a heavy piece of furniture with the gentle curves.

Originally made from walnut, the Queen Anne style of furniture is a singularly Colonial American style. Today, handmade dressers of this style can be found made from any natural wood, such as cherry, butternut, maple or mahogany. Butternut wood is from the walnut tree family, and is celebrated for its warmer, honey-colored tones with contrasting darker grains.

An artisan will also delight in mixing types of wood for a more modern-looking handmade dresser. Hardwood knobs on the drawers of a bedroom dresser can be made from darker rainforest woods or even brass. The top of the dresser might feature darker dovetail details to bring an understated accent of beauty to an otherwise basic dresser. Studio furniture makers have the freedom to enjoy playing with the combinations of natural woods, knobs and joinery methods to create dressers that are truly unique and tailored to a client’s specific style preferences.

Another style of handmade dressers that is still popular today is the Shaker style. Originating in the late 1700’s, the Shaker style is revered for its clean lines, durable features and innovative joinery methods. Distinctive features include an arched apron and tapered legs, which looks graceful and unimposing.

Shaker-style sideboards were originally minimal in decoration, but craftsmen today add modern touches to this timeless style by blending the types of wood in the paneling. By contrasting natural woods, such as maple and walnut, the artisan can accentuate the beauty of the panel doors and drawers. Pointedly practical, these Shaker-style sideboard dressers are excellent for storing dining dishes or fine china, and the hand-rubbed dresser tops can exhibit ornamental decorations but are elegant enough to simply stand alone.

Shaker-style sideboards can be made to look more modern by blending natural types of wood, accenting a solid-colored sideboard with darker or lighter hardwood knobs or even by using glass paneling in the doors. The visible glass contrasts especially with the darker rainforest woods for a modern, open aesthetic.

Studio handmade dressers differ greatly from factory-made dressers in that studio-furniture makers have the creative freedom to mix and match classic styles with modern demands. Whereas factory-made furniture is made to appeal to most people’s styles and preferences, studio-furniture makers create one-of-a-kind handmade dressers for one-of-a-kind clients. We realize not everyone has the same taste or needs, which is why working directly with an artisan can be a rewarding process for both the furniture-maker and the client.

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