Proud alumna succeeds in luxury home industry

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August 17, 2018
Dawn Lavergne brings passion, expertise and experience to every project she works on.
Dawn Lavergne
As the principal designer and owner of MKL Design Studio, the Class of 1991 alumna excels in the luxury home building industry in Calgary, Alta., and beyond.

“When I get to sit down, design a space and be creative, I love that. That’s my happy place,” says Lavergne, a graduate of Lakeland College’s interior design technology program.

Inspired by her father – a homebuilder by trade – Lavergne’s design journey began at Lakeland’s Vermilion campus. Describing the interior design technology program as “extremely” challenging, Lavergne says the program proved to entail far more work than she initially anticipated. 

“But, it’s really good because it prepares you for the real world. What we don’t know when we’re in school is just how vital deadlines are,” she adds. “Lakeland provided me with a very good design basis. I had the fabulous Cindi Plant as one of my main instructors, who was amazing and taught me everything I know, and she is why I am as successful as I am.”
Before opening MKL Design Studio in 2015, Lavergne’s path included working for a kitchen cabinet company, showroom staging for a furniture company and completing SAIT’s architectural technology program in 1993.

As a custom residential design firm, Lavergne and her team at MKL Design Studio provide design services, including zoning review and site analysis, renovations and additions, single family home designs, development permits and more. Their interior design services range from furniture layouts and procurements to millwork, lighting, fixture and drapery selections, and kitchen design, among others.

Marrying her two passions – architecture and interior design – proved to be a natural and lucrative fit for Lavergne. 

“With my interior design background, I look at things differently than most of my competitors,” she says. “I don’t see it just from a structural side of things, which is vital. I also think about how it’s going to function for my clients, how they are going to live in that space and how they are going to use the space and decorate that space – all of that comes into play with what I do. I really believe that my interior design background has contributed to my success as an architectural technologist.”

Lavergne’s enthusiasm for design led her to join the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) Prairie Provinces Chapter. In the eight years she’s been part of this professional organization, Lavergne has served on the chapter’s executive as the vice president of academic relations, vice president of communications and vice president of programs. Lavergne also completed a two-year term as the NKBA Prairie Provinces Chapter president.

“Now, I am retired,” she says with a laugh, adding she’s still a member of a few NKBA committees. “I tell people this all the time: joining the NKBA was probably the best thing I ever did for my business. The networking and the growth that has come from being part of for this organization has been amazing.”

Learning Lakeland was named the 2017 College of the Year by the NKBA came as no surprise to Lavergne. 

“Knowing what I know about the level of expectation put on these students, how challenging this program actually is and the passion the instructors have, it’s very well deserved,” she says.

“The level of work that comes out of this program year after year, the quality of the graduates that Lakeland consistently produces and knowing that I have that same skill level is what ultimately makes me proud to be a Lakeland alumna.”
Photos: From the top, examples of Dawn Lavergne's custom residential design work in Calgary, Alta.,  include a Mount Royal home - an elaborate traditional home with the stone features - as well as custom millwork and architectural design for a home in Lakeview, and interior decorating.
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