This was our first build, so it was definitely a learning process! We followed the plans pretty closely, with a few minor modifications to suit our needs. The finish was inspired by CreativePineapple's stain/white paint combo - we loved it so much that we had to do our own version!
The center console section was built out of 3/4" MDF - we knew we were going to paint, as opposed to stain, and it was quite a bit cheaper. We primed and painted this section as we went, as we knew that getting our hands/brushes into the cubbies after assembly would be difficult. This added to the time to finish, but it did make for an easier (and probably more even) paint job.
The side panels and back (not shown - we still need to do cutouts for cords before we attach) are 1/4" plywood. The legs are untreated SPF 4x4s, and were definitely where we ran into the most problems. Finidng untreated 4x4's was difficult enough, and when we finally found one that didn't have a ton of chunks and dings in it, we had problems with wood cracking when we got it home. We waited until the wood had acclimatized to our home and stopped cracking, wood-filled the cracks where we could and tried to position the legs so the cracks were facing the console, and hidden. Luckily, this approach was successful, and you can't tell that cracking was an issue. In retrospect, I probably should have just gone with cedar, particularly since we weren't staining it and it wouldn't have mattered that it was different from our other pine boards.
The only placed where we really differed from the plans was adding additional trim to the front section, as opposed to edge binding. The trim was simple 1x2s, similar to the bottom trim.
We primed and painted the entire white bottom section before attaching the top, which was made of stud-grade spruce 2x4's. We used a wood conditioner on the spruce before staining, as it is such a soft wood. The stain was left on for 15-20 minutes before wiping, as we knew we wanted a darker, richer colour. Two coats were required to get the shade we wanted (3 on one board which wasn't soaking up the stain as well). We then finished with 3 coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish, to get an especially glossy finish.
Stain - Minwax Wood Finish in "English Chestnut" (2 coats) plus 3 coats of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish in "Gloss"