Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Updating a Ballard Design Writing Desk

How do you feel about painting natural wood furniture?  I know that for some of you it's a no no, but I felt this natural wood desk from Ballard Design could benefit from a coat of paint.  

Updated Writing Desk

There were some curvy carved details that I accentuated with some Annie Sloan gilding wax. 

 I've been experimenting with the wax and was happy with my first project so 
I decided to give it try on the desk.

Gilding Wax in Carved Detail on the Side of  the Desk

More accented details on the front of the desk.

More Gilding Wax Details

I'd never tried the gilding wax on metal before so I decided to try it on the dark brown hardware.  
I love the result. 

Hardware with Gilding Wax

When I first saw dipped legs on furniture I have to say that I was not a fan.  I guess the repeated exposure has changed my opinion.  The Queen Anne legs on this piece were a perfect candidate for dipping. 
 I just taped off at the top and rubbed the wax below.

Dipped Legs

I had a fabulous Italian caned back chair to pair with the desk.  I decided to leave it natural.
Check out the lovely rosette carving.

Carved and Caned Back Italian Chair

What do you think about pairing a natural wood chair with a painted piece?

Painted Desk and Natural Chair

I added some books with plays by Shakespeare.  I think the vintage bookends nicely pick up the brown in the chair.  The off white chair seat ties in with the desk color.

Collection of  Shakespeare's Plays on the Desk

So, to paint or not to paint, that is the question.
Sorry, couldn't help myself.


Here's the desk before painting.

To see another piece I updated with paint and gilding wax go here.


  1. Oh I love it, how perfect. The touches of gold are just perfect to give it a completely updated look. Hugs, Marty

  2. Looks great Kathy. I think the partial gold legs are not a new thing as I have an antique French "duck" chair side table with the legs painted gold half way up. And it's all the original paint. Your revamped desk looks wonderful and I love the mix of painted furniture and woods. :) Like your new updated photo too! :)

  3. I too am not usually a fan of painting natural wood pieces, but like the desk you have done, some pieces look even better when painted. Love it. I paired a natural wood upholstered chair with a painted desk - like the look. Great job as usual, Kathy.

  4. Very cute, Kathy! I love the chair too.