Most helpful critical review
Nice, But Not Worth the Effort
on September 19, 2013
As other reviewers have mentioned, this is a difficult piece to assemble! There aren't many parts, but because of the way everything is constructed, it takes a lot of time and a lot of labor to put together. The main issue that I ran into was that the guide holes for the screws were way too close to the walls of the unit. Because of this, it made it impossible to hold a screwdriver with a normal grip; I had to hold the screwdriver with the tips of my fingers and turn very carefully. I obviously couldn't put much weight on the screwdriver, so it was incredibly difficult to get the screws to go into the wood. I have slightly larger hands for a female, but definitely smaller hands than most men. I'm surprised the unit was designed this way.
I also ran into issues assembling the drawers because the wood kept on splitting - and, no, I did not use any power tools (this would definitely result in split wood, so don't use anything but a screwdriver). Customer service was great and sent me a new drawer kit within a few days. I was able to put these drawers together with only minor splits in the wood (not worth getting another set). Basically, because of the hardness of the drawer walls, it is nearly impossible to get the screws in without splitting the wood. I weigh around 125 lbs, and I had to put all of my weight into it! Once the drawers were together, the left drawer scraped/got stuck on the front of the unit. At this point I did not want to go through the tedious process of ordering and putting together another drawer, so I just sanded down the sides a bit.
As a side note, I have owned and put together many pieces of furniture (from bookshelves and desks to tables and bed lofts). This is the most difficult assembly I've ever experienced.
The unit does look nice, though, now that the task of assembling it is out of the way. The "distressed look" literally looks like they messed up the finishing because RED streaks (seriously, why red? I would understand brown) are on random edges. I did not like this at all, but a black Sharpie filled all the gaps in the finishing pretty much flawlessly. I can't tell that the distress marks were ever there.
Also of note, dust is highly visible because the finishing isn't completely matte. Not really an issue for me, but it might bother some people.
TLDR; I would not recommend this unit based solely on the time and effort that went into assembling the unit. Honestly, I would rather spend and extra $100 before going through that process again.