Lara Slavkin is a Senior Interior Designer at RDG Planning and Design in St. Louis and was recently named President-Elect of the IIDA Gateway Chapter.
After receiving her degree from MU, Lara worked with a small team of designers in the design and marketing of display homes for several of the largest builders in the St. Louis area. This work included furniture selection, complete interior and exterior color sheets, drapery design, and the selection of artwork and accessories. The design would be presented to the builder and company representatives, and the process was completed when the display home was installed with our selections.
Lara transitioned to another firm as a Project Manager where she learned to juggle multiple projects at one time. She worked with clients to provide furniture that would satisfy functionality, as well as design. Initial meetings with the client would occur to develop their needs and desires for the space. Furniture and finish options would be discussed, and proceeded with the space planning and furniture specifications.
Her next career advancement was with an architectural firm specializing in recreational facilities for higher education across the country. She also designed interiors for student centers, lab and classroom buildings, and even the USO at Lambert Airport. Roles consisted of meeting with clients, presentations including finishes and colored renderings, drawings elevations and generating schedules for construction documents, and finish boards.
After this background, Lara began specializing in design for senior living and taking leadership roles. Lara now has many years of experience in senior living design and has been an integral part of more than 200 senior living projects. Her design experience in all levels of care within a Continuing Care Retirement.
What helped you from MU's Architectural Studies?
Mizzou offered me an outlet to express my design talents in different ways. We learned the necessary basics of drawing documentation and programs, but we were challenged to think outside of the box. Pushing the envelope and exploring the non-traditional design project (ie. my "Got Milk" cheese billboard loft apartment). Every project, no matter what market segment or area of design you work, poses new opportunities or challenges, and you must be able to adapt and change direction on the fly. I am thankful for Mizzou instilling this trait in my design approach.
Senior Interior Designer
RDG Planning and Design