Thanks for the input guys!
I'll consider the MDF option, but I may just go with plywood. I'm still considering hardwood for the drawer panels and plywood for the box, but only if I think of another wood I like, walnut would be too expensive. And yes Grant, it's Ikea. That's my thinking, I should be able to follow the holes on the existing piece and use the same hardware. And no, I don't want those handles! I'm thinking of cutting into the wood for a natural handle. Something like:
I'll also replace the legs with some tapered wood legs.
As for the big box wood, I didn't realize it would be a problem. I'll check a good lumber yard and see what they have, it may be worth the extra expense, you're right. Not to mention, I'll get a better sense of things looking at the actual wood. Not sure about my options considering Covid and store hours, we'll see.
As I'm thinking about the wood type, I'm wondering if I could get away with plywood, without having to deal with the edging? If I soften the corners and finish the wood, seeing the plywood layers can be interesting? Like:
Of course it would be best to achieve a clean hardwood appearance. But with edging, I couldn't do the cut-out handles, would need to be either hardwood or plywood with no edging.
It may be best to purchase some cheap wood and practice, try some things out.