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From Pastry Maker to Creator of Kitchens

While Lavonne Savage’s passion to become a successful interior designer may have been shelved for the last 20 years, her decision to study interior design at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology means it’s very much back on the table.

Like many of us, life has a habit of getting in the way when it comes to pursuing our passions.

Undertaking a career in chefing after studying at NMIT in 1997, Lavonne has spent the better part of her culinary career as Pastry Chef at the Rutherford Hotel in Nelson.

Add the demands of raising a young family and you’ve got a recipe for a hectic life.

“Interior design was something I always wanted to do but when you’ve got a young family and a house, you just keep doing what you’re doing,” says Lavonne.

Changes to Lavonne’s chefing job as a result of the COVID-19 suddenly saw her struggling to find the happy work, life balance she once had.

“After COVID, my job changed at the hotel to doing breakfasts and it made me really unhappy.”

“I said to myself, life is about being happy so I need to change my life. I already knew what I wanted to do, but I just had to be in the right place to do it,” says Lavonne.

The thought of returning to study after such a long break also took a little while for Lavonne to get her head around.

“It’s was about getting out of my comfort zone,” says Lavonne, “working at the hotel, I knew I would get paid every week and that gave me a sense of security.”   

“I’m so pleased I’ve done this and I think it’s been so much better for me being able to bring my life experience.”

Lavonne hopes to combine her kitchen knowledge with her future career.

“I want to be a kitchen designer, I’ve obviously worked in kitchens all my life so that would be my dream.”

The Diploma in Interior Design, (Residential) programme provides the skills and industry knowledge to find design solutions for residential spaces.

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