If you would’ve told Elise Norman 25 years ago she’d one day transform Bill Harrah’s famous estate into a rich Reno legacy, she may not have believed you.
“When I was first asked to be a part of this project, it was a dream come true for me,” said Norman. “This is the highest honor I could receive.”
Norman, owner of Elise Alessio Design, made her way into the Biggest Little City in 1993. Together with her husband Roger, the Norman’s have been actively involved with the development of Northern Nevada for three decades. Her next chapter – redesigning Rancharrah.
“I am bringing my heart and soul into renovating Rancharrah,” said Norman. “This is truly an opportunity of a lifetime for me.”
When Norman learned she would get to redesign the famous mansion, she began to reimagine the legendary property. Inspired by Harrah’s era, Norman plans on transforming his luxurious lifestyle into a special place for friends and families to spend time together.
“The interior design and feel of the mansion will be more of the refined elegance of a Ralph Lauren home combined with Harrah’s legacy,” said Norman. “We’ll be pulling in elements of Harrah’s life as a casino mogul, so you’ll see hints of old Reno gaming here and there, along with hints of his car collection.”
Norman says Ralph Lauren has really become known for his use of leathers, fabrics and nail-heads mixed in with stones and a little equestrian detail, providing inspiration to help define Rancharrah as a true social club.
“There will be fresh flowers, lots of great lighting, an inviting restaurant and a series of comfortable sitting and gathering rooms for members and guest to relax in,” said Norman. “There will also be exterior seating areas so guests can enjoy the mountains, gardens and lakes.”
Norman’s background is as eclectic and interesting as the environments she creates. The San Diego native grew up in a hospitality family that owned luxury properties including Hotel Del Coronado among other various restaurants and hotel interests. After graduating with top honors from the University of San Diego, she began a successful fashion design company before embarking to Reno.
With her passion for textiles found, Norman opened a high-end retail clothing and home décor store shortly after moving to Reno, all while continuing to design and manufacture various projects in the region. In 2003, she lead the redesign of the famed Crystal Bay Club Casino on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. The total renovation of the 1930’s property went from the basement to the attic. Still, nothing compares getting to work on the historic remodel of Rancharrah.
“I’ve worked on casinos, homes, offices and many other developments, but this is one project I am involved in where I get to leave my heart with families,” said Norman.
Along with her husband, Norman is a partner in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, which is home to Tesla, SWITCH, Google, Walmart and more. The couple appreciates the importance of preserving the roots of this great community they call home.
“Nevada is truly a gem and anything I can do to help build up Reno is truly a blessing,” said Norman. “Our community is on its way to becoming a shining star above all Western States and Rancharrah is a big part of that.”