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TEXAS Two-Step:
Droese Raney Architecture
by Shelly Rosenberg

To many, ‘modernism’ connotes a futuristic approach to architecture and design.
Loyal traditionalists and skeptics often equate this classification with cartoonish
visions of the animated series, The Jetsons. But, is this really what a shift toward
modernism will look like? The answer would be ‘no’ according to local
architectural firm, Droese Raney. The time has arrived to dispel this juvenile
stereotype. Come to think of it, all stereotypes need to go.
Consider David Droese and Lance
Raney...two good ole’ boys, running
a small firm in Dallas; buddies since their
days on the gritty western plains of Texas
Tech University, in Lubbock. This area is
not exactly the mecca of forward thinking
or urban development. Are
you already assuming these two may
be all hat and no cattle? With that
jumping off point, I’m adding big
egos and a “my-way-or-the-
highway” approach to their work.
Dallas residents currently enjoy a variety of cosmopolitan restaurants and lifestyle venues,
designed by Droese Raney, like Preston Center’s Taco Diner, Neiman Marcus Flagship’s
Zodiac Restaurant, the renowned, McKinney Avenue boutique Forty Five Ten, NorthPark
retailer, Elaine Turner, and multiple locations of Luke’s Locker. Add to that, Fort Worth’s
Tillman’s Roadhouse  and the Flower Mound and Las Colinas locations of the famed,
Mi Cocina, and you have an extensive portfolio of modern structures, well blended
into the local landscape.

David Droese believes “that there is an appreciation for clean, contemporary design.
There is no sense in ‘dumbing-down’ design...the general public picks up on everything.
This is 2011 and everybody is ready for new, interesting design solutions.” We couldn’t
agree more. Droese Raney is respected for their commitment to using authentic and
honest materials  in their compositions. The team incorporates “re-claimed products
and energy-saving devices whenever possible.” Warm woods, distressed metals
and multiple textures can be every bit as avant-garde as the somewhat passé
materials like plastics, cement and chrome. Each of their projects adheres to a
modern sensibility in use of space, volume,  balance and form. Yet, the attention
to fine points and inviting components, constructs  an overall perception of
relatable vitality.
The firm also supports collaboration with
independent artisans, many of them
local. “Modern design requires a great
deal more consideration when it comes
to details,” explains Droese. Conceiving
custom design elements allows for a
more unique execution and exclusive
build. For example, Droese Raney has
employed textile designers to purpose
carpet and draperies. Landscape
architects often infuse their projects with
the natural elements of stone, plant life
and water features. Further, “great
lighting is something we always try to
incorporate,” he says, and because it’s
function can be so specific, the firm
often has fixtures made to order. This
individual approach has earned them
significant respect in the residential
market as well. The team has tackled
new construction, new-tenant build-out
(e.g. a high-rise unit in One Arts Plaza)
and the remodel of older homes. Many
times, the existing structures were built in
a traditional style, but this is a welcome
opportunity for the firm. Droese says he has
“an appreciation for ‘traditional’ design.”
He admires visionaries that can bridge the two styles and continues, “(Charles) Dilbeck is a
great example of a Dallas architect that had an amazing talent- his work is traditional, but
his understanding of form and materials can be appreciated by anyone.” In fact, Dilbeck
is considered, by most, to be a pioneer of the Texas Ranch House, and his legacy includes
many architecturally significant dwellings, designed within the Texas Modern period.
A private residence, in North Dallas, perfectly exemplifies this specific artistry. The original
blueprint was a typical, mid-century modern, yet the fundamental architectural elements
were re-worked and highlighted beautifully. The result is a modernista’s dream. Drenched
in natural light, this collection of intimate rooms feels lofty and spacious. The serenity of this
design is kept lively with numerous textures: wood, both smooth and rough-hewn flagstone,
plaster and great expanses of glass, creating a tangible relationship between the interior
experience and one with nature. Decorative and task lighting join to create a sense of
mood. Functional updates allow the home to rise to our twenty-first century expectations.
The piece de resistance is, however, the
firm’s devotion to their client relationships. As
iconic as Droese Raney’s work may
become, their reputation for placing
the clients’ needs above all, will mark
their fame. When asked what would
define  their best work, Droese insists,
“We give  all of our projects 200%,” no
matter what the size. Collaboration is
key and he characterizes his true
success as “a happy client and a
proud design team.”

Dallas movie mogul, Brian Schultz, of
Studio Movie Grill, employed the
company to develop a fresh exterior
design for several of his out-of-state
theaters. On his experience with Droese
Raney, Schultz elaborates, “I think
David is one of the most gift architects
I have met. His approach to
understanding our brand’s DNA
and addressing numerous touch
points was an unlocking move for
our company.
Droese Raney Architecture : Home
3906 Lemmon Ave # 101
Dallas, TX 75219-3760
214.987.1902
www.droeseraney.com/

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And wouldn’t a greedy focus on becoming the next giant architectural powerhouse be next?
If you are nodding in agreement, you can see how easily we often trivialize movements we
don’t understand or fictionalize others into clichéd characters. My visit with this firm began
with the expected Southern hospitality, but ended with a fresh perspective and a renewed
respect for the presumed underdog. With the conclusion of my interview, it was apparent
that  this crew is the ‘real McCoy’. Principals, David and Lance, are engaging, humble and
candid. The office was modest and precise. Employees are not treated as staff... they are
part of a team. The overall company culture emanates an unexpected consciousness
about fusing daily life with good design. This collective intelligence has produced a
nationwide portfolio that speaks for itself. Sophisticated, modern design is becoming
mainstream and this local partnership illuminates how they have already begun to
weave this concept into our environment.
Dave’s ability to listen and help an entrepreneur articulate what he has in his head is
awesome! To get great quality, design, and stay within a reasonable budget, really
helps the firm stand out. Most importantly, they made the whole process fun.”

As it turns out, typecasting only works in Hollywood. Beyond any conjecture or facts on
paper, David Droese and Lance Rainey harbor the two essential tools for success: innate
talent and serious passion. This double-barrel focus keeps these two Texans on target.
It’s ok when a large, Northeastern firm underestimates them, they say, because, in
the end, they work even harder and keep coming out on top of the heap.
carter residence // photos: DRA
carter residence // photos: DRA
one arts plaza // photos: DRA
one arts plaza // photos: DRA
photos: DRA