When asked who buys his furniture Matthew Morgan jokingly responds, “Total weirdos!” His handmade pieces are, in fact, weird and unique— a sort of “vintage sci-fi” he calls them. There’s The Analyst, a triangular daybed comprised of oak and salmon-colored velvet, the Science Project, simply described as “a one-of-a-kind walnut lamp” and the Shroom Poofer which comes in either Granite Planet upholstery or Infinite Fertility. “Sometimes I try to imagine who would use the piece. One chair I made I thought would be perfect for Professor Xavier from X-men… so I named it The Professor.”
All Matthew’s pieces are sold under the name, Only Love Is Real, named after a phrase from a book he once read.
The quirky LA-based designer came to the West Coast five years ago after a decade in NY. “I wanted to slow down,” he says. “I felt stuck in NY and needed to make a drastic change and start thinking differently about my life. There was an impulse to start over and create something new.”
That desire to create, mixed with his background as a professional builder and “freelance fabricator,” paired with the inspiration his mother instilled in him growing up, laid the groundwork for his eventual career path. “Watching my mother, I developed the courage it takes to just leap into a project without knowing where it may lead,” he explains, which has deemed helpful in the life he has since created for himself.
For Matthew, building came naturally. When he was young, his family often moved to different cities, always into fixer-upper homes. “At an early age I learned through trial and error how to remodel and build,” he says.
Once he got into college and building turned into art-making he was hooked. He calls the feeling he would get while creating “a mysterious experience of emotional, narrative and aesthetic objects emerging from my hands.”
Now, Only Love is Real is three years old and Matthew enjoys doing what he loves for a living. His pieces are usually created from a vague sketch and then improvised, sometimes, simply, by making a quick prototype with scrap wood. He works slowly and alone, carefully crafting his creations, sometimes spending a week or two on a singular project, always making sure it’s perfect before settling in on the final product.
He wants his customers to feel loved when using his art. “I want them to know that they deserve compassion and connection and are never alone,” he says. “I want them to give [the pieces] to their kids someday… or at least, their friend’s kids.”
His furniture is modern and well-made, and he’s inspired by everything… “new and old, high and low, trashy and refined,” he shares. But, most importantly his furniture is meant to be lived on and used. “I put down astroturf on the floor of my house so my daughter and I can have picnics. There’s also a crushed velvet couch covered in blueberry stains. Now, whenever I see all the tiny purple fingerprints I think of her.”
His one-of-a-kind products are mostly sold through interior designers or via his website. He doesn’t believe in mass marketing. “I aspire to live with things that I really love or have made… but that also means I don’t have a dresser right now. All my clothes are in bags in various parts of the house while I dream about this fantastic dresser I’m going to make someday,” says Matthew. “I went to IKEA recently to stock up on things for my daughter’s room and almost bought myself a temporary dresser, but then I realized I’d rather keep using the bags until I make the dresser I want to live with.”
He just needs to come up with a cool name first.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. She thinks the ‘Shroom Poofer’ is the finest piece of furniture ever made. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.