Ta-da! After painting the plywood and strategically placing some wooden shims for levelling purposes, we're calling finish line on this project. Except for my thumb, this has been a fairly painless way to save $400. Now, to get to that two-week old stack of laundry!
I made mine slightly different: Instead of 17" tall mine are only 12", and since at that height it's too small to put your laundry baskets underneath, I went ahead and put plywood on the front face. I would recommend larger nails for the plywood, he is using 1 1/4" finishing nails, I would say go to 1 1/2".