For Rita Narcisse, it's about more than just making a space beautiful.
At the end of every project, Ormond Beach interior designer Rita Narcisse makes sure to place a small elephant figurine somewhere in the room.
The elephant has to have its trunk up, and it must face a door. It's a symbol of good luck, and the practice of placing them in the rooms was passed down from Narcisse's grandmother. It's a way Narcisse places her own personal touch into her projects.
Growing up, she loved fashion. That translated into interior design, as she discovered the similarities between the two. After working for a design firm for eight years, Narcisse pursued her own swimwear company for three years. But she discovered her heart was in interior design. Now, she and her fiancé Edgar own Nouveau International Design.
“Fashion just changes on a daily basis, and it didn’t really feel personable the way interior design does," Narcisse said.
Most recently, Narcisse completed the design of the Ormond Renaissance Condominiums model for the Atlantic floor plan. Ormond Renaissance has one of its 10 towers already constructed, and each will have 28 units, for a total of 280 units in the 55-and-up development. So far, Narcisse said 14 have been sold in the first tower.
Narcisse will be designing the remaining two model condos, all around a "coastal glam" style — with emphasis on navy colors and jewel tones.
She was brought on as a subcontractor last fall, and working on the project has been a lot of fun. Narcisse said she liked that the Ormond Renaissance team was open to design concepts that went beyond your typical Florida condo.
It's important to be able to bond with your client, said Narcisse.
“If they don’t have trust in you, then they’re not going to move forward," she said.
One of her most memorable residential clients was a Palm Coast couple whom she aided with the design of their newly constructed home. Since then, Narcisse said they've become like another set of parents to her.
“By the time we were finished, I’ll never forget it, she hugged me," Narcisse recalled. "She said, ‘This is the most beautiful home I’ve ever lived in.’”
If Narcisse doesn't hear that at the end of a project, then she knows she didn't do her job.
'Just do you'
Coming from a Spanish-Italian family, Narcisse grew up surrounded by design skills. Her grandfather's side of of the family were tailors, and her grandmother's side of the family were seamstresses. When she was 5 years old, her grandmother taught her to crochet. Then her godmother taught her to sew.
She started making clothing without patterns and would spend hours watching fashion week on VH1.
Her advice to young people who are thinking about pursuing interior design or fashion?
“If you have some crazy ideas, or you want to wear a loud pattern or a bright lipstick or whatever, just kind of do it," Narcisse said. "Just do you. Why fit in when you can stand out?”