A West Indies Retreat

Before After Robbie Ergle Michelle Ivanek

By Karin Fabry • Photos By John Jernigan

An Ocala bedroom went from boring to beautiful thanks to Michelle Ivanek and her friends from Decorative Designs. The Ergles wanted their master bedroom to be a place that included both a sense of retreat and comfort.

When envisioning what the Ergles’ room could become, Michelle says she wanted the couple to feel like they were on an exotic vacation every time they entered their bedroom suite.

“I think a designer really earns their keep in bringing a selection of items together to create a final room,” Michelle says.

“My husband and I wish Michelle could do all of the rooms in our home,” Robbie says. “She created a really fantastic space for us. We were stunned with the final result.”

When choosing the elements that would make up the Ergles’ space, Michelle chose warm shades of brown and gold. The centerpiece of the room, a tropical-style bed, is both elegant and sophisticated.

The nightstands complement the style of the bed with their woven reed filigree and crushed bamboo detail.

The wall adjacent to the bed features a large armoire that houses the television and provides for additional storage space. The armoire is detailed with a delicate herringbone pattern and features a soft, hand painted palm motif.

“We used many different textures in this space,” Michelle says. “But in doing so, we made sure to play off the rich, warm tones found on the furniture.”

As a designer, Michelle says that not all furniture pieces in a room must match. As a matter of fact, she prefers them not to in order to add a level of interest to a room.

“If your pieces are eclectic enough, they will work together,” Michelle says. “It takes tremendous effort to make sure the styles and proportions are brought together correctly to create a cohesive space.”

According to Michelle, the walls are another area on which you can feature a variety of texture and finishes. For the Ergles’ master suite, Michelle enlisted the help of professional painters Laura Howard and Darlene White of Decorative Designs to create a one-of-a-kind paint finish.

“On the accent wall behind the bed, we did a five-layer specialty plaster finish to create more texture and add interest,” Laura says.

The process included coats of a bonding agent, two types of plaster including sandstone, a sealer coat, and a chocolate brown glaze wash.

“The final step was a mocha glaze that was dry brushed over the top to warm the color and enhance the texture,” Laura says.

The additional bedroom walls were treated to the glaze and dry brush steps. The tedious process took a group of four professionals a week to complete. The finished result was well worth the effort.

“The walls alone gave the room a completely different feel,” Robbie says. “The paint finish is very warm and inviting.”

When addressing the final details for the room, Michelle added to the exotic feeling by pulling in a stunning variety of accessories. A grouping of African artwork includes carved animal heads that rest comfortably on pedestals and a collection of Africa-inspired art featuring animals one might find on a safari to the Serengeti.

“The accessories, like the larger pieces in the room, are all within the same monochromatic color scheme,” Michelle says.

One of the highlights of the space for the Ergles is the framed antique “crazy” quilt that now hangs prominently in the bedroom. It’s called a crazy quilt because all of the stitchings are mismatched and unique.

“The quilt was never noticed before,” Robbie says. “But since it’s been hanging in our room we’ve already gotten a lot of comments on it. My great great grandmother stitched this baby blanket for my great grandmother after whom I was named. It’s a piece that has significant sentimental value and it’s the perfect finishing touch to our new space.”

Straight From The Designer

1. To create a warm retreat, use a monochromatic approach and work with textures and tones of the same hue.
2. Ambient and task lighting together are very important for creating an inviting bedroom.
3. Incorporate romance through photographs or other personal items.
4. Make a bedroom suitable for both masculine and feminine tastes.

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