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The Ultimate Girl Power Office

This Texas PR Tycoon Turned a Warehouse Into a Stylish Business Hub

BY // 10.31.17
photography Samantha Jane

When one’s company identity must encapsulate the clients… well, the surrounds must pack a wallop.

Suzanne Droese, kingpin of Droese Public Relations, began her firm’s renovation with a custom neon sign that says it all: “I Want it All.” It’s a mantra repeated often. “I don’t mean it in the context of material things,” she says. “I want to be the PR goddess, yes, but I have children, and I want them to be happy and healthy. I also want everyone who works for us to be successful in their private and professional lives.”

All eight of her employees are female. “That wasn’t on purpose. It just happened that way,” says Droese. “They are like my sisters — my daughters.”

For her close-knit PR team, creating a residential environment at her Dallas Design District headquarters was paramount. “I wanted it to be a comfortable, happy space,” she says. “It’s a little girly, but not too fluffy.”

The 4,600-square-foot space was procured two years ago; backing up to the Trinity Strand Trail, it was formerly the warehouse and photo studio of photographer Maxine Helfman. After 
a renovation by her husband, David Droese of Droese Raney Architecture, the space is now bright, crackling with energy and furnished with icons of modern design. It’s the kind of stylish workplace expected from the publicist, whose clients include Forty Five Ten, Peacock Alley, James Showroom, Tequila Casa Dragones, Bell’Invito, Bumble, Southern Tide, Leatherology, Moll Anderson, and The Birthday Party Project.

Broken into multiple seating, lounge, and work areas, a conference space is furnished with a classic glass-top Knoll table by Richard Schultz and a set of Eames side chairs. Herman Miller Setu chairs pull up to custom-designed worktables in the studio, while a casual seating and lounge area has a Blu Dot sectional sofa and stools and a Cage coffee table designed by Gordon Guillaumier for Tacchini.

A coffee bar overlooks an open workspace.

The cream, black, and camel palette is all business, but there’s no mistaking these offices for an accounting firm. A dusky lavender (one of Droese’s favorite hues), metallics, and leopard-print details show up in furnishings like the 1970s-era chrome stools covered in lavender pony hide, snagged from friend and society event designer Todd Fiscus, that reside in the all-white Corian coffee bar.

Droese’s private office, which is surrounded by glass, glitters with brass and gold-tone hardware, accessories, and Warren Platner chairs. A vintage 1950s taxidermy leopard, which Droese fell in love with during a fashion shoot several years ago and purchased, holds court.

“I love a good leopard print,” she says. Just the right amount of black gives the place gravitas, with Schumacher’s shagreen-print wallpaper in Caviar behind her desk and a Serge Mouille floor lamp, which Droese had long coveted.

She loves anything having to do with the written word, and artworks by Philip Durst and Michael Furman exemplify that. She keeps several vintage manual typewriters: lavender and pink specimens from the 1960s and a gleaming chrome Smith Corona Speedline, circa late 1940s. The dealer who sold her the Speedline had two — he sold the other to Tom Hanks, also a collector.

“In an alternative life, I would have been an editor or writer,” Droese says. “I love the graphic quality of text, and how words have meaning.”

When she’s not reading blogs and “stacks and stacks of magazines,” she’s delving into nonfiction, biographies, and personal essays. She’s a fan of books about high-society figures and the scandals that can ensnare them — in other words, people who might need a good PR agent. She loves Tom Sancton’s The Bettencourt Affair: The World’s Richest Woman and the Scandal That Rocked Paris; Jerry Oppenheimer’s Crazy Rich: Power, Scandal, and Tragedy Inside the Johnson & Johnson Dynasty; and Arthur T. Vanderbilt II’s Fortune’s Children: The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt.

Mid-century gems and leopard print aside, the most telling part of Droese’s well-dressed office is her collection of works by female photographers. There are images by Dallasite Alison V. Smith and a woodblock by artist Polly Apfelbaum, as well as an eye-catching photograph of small-town cheerleaders taken by Laura Wilson.

Nothing could be more symbolic to her company’s mission, Droese says. “To me, [that photograph] embodies girl power.”

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