I am Tulsa — Morgan McBratney
A partnership between TulsaPeople and Tulsa's Young Professionals.
Morgan McBratney loves coffee tables.
If you happen to ask him about his design passion, he’ll say there’s more to a coffee table than what first meets the eye.
“It’s truly the most sculptural piece if well designed,” he says. “In my opinion, a coffee table has the unique ability to be the one truly central piece of furniture in any living room space. It should be a piece of art that creates a stimulating atmosphere for conversation and camaraderie as well as make a statement to the person’s taste and style.”
It’s no surprise that McBratney can speak with authority on furniture designs. As the lead designer for D’Vontz, a local wholesale design and manufacturing company of Fashion Plumbing products, he manages everything related to the look and feel of the company.
“I have to wear a hundred hats every day, from being a product draftsman to graphic designer to engineer to photographer to product designer,” says McBratney, who says he enjoys working in Tulsa because of the close-knit community of people and industries.
Although born in Santa Cruz, Calif., McBratney considers himself a native Tulsan. He moved to Tulsa at an early age when his dad transferred with his job and has not called another city home since.
“Virtually all of my childhood and early adult memories come from here,” he says. “I grew up here and this has always been my home. I’ve seen this city grow for a long time.”
McBratney says that as a child, his mother often found him drawing comic books with a flashlight under the blankets. And his natural ability to design and think creatively didn’t stop in childhood.
He attended Cascia Hall Preparatory School and graduated from Broken Arrow High School, where he enjoyed designing class T-shirts and drawing cartoons for the school newspaper.
His visual talent led McBratney to the College of Art and Design in Savannah, Ga., where he originally majored in computer art in hopes of a career in movie 3-D art design.
“I was always a big video game person and loved the break from traditional 2-D animation,” he says. “I found the love for Adobe Photoshop when it was still a very young program and loved manipulating and creating in a digital medium.”
After taking a few electives in the furniture design department, however, he found creating furniture pieces more appealing than anything else, so he decided to graduate with a BFA in furniture design in 2002.
While working at a furniture store during college, McBratney met the store’s remodeler, who became his teammate when McBratney decided to stay in Savannah for another three years. Together, they gutted and remodeled homes, many of which were featured in magazines.
After a move to Orlando, Fla., he worked in waterfall design with a custom, high-end waterfall company that produced expensive waterfall installations for corporations and some private residences.
“The biggest thing I took away from that field was the knowledge of working with a vast array of different types of materials that I had never been exposed to before,” McBratney says. “It’s actually quite fascinating trying to control the most natural substance on the planet. Water simply does what water wants to do and I learned a lot of patience through trial and error in design.”
Since 2004, McBratney found himself back home in Tulsa remodeling his parents’ house. While home, McBratney met the owner of D’Vontz, and he began designing for the company just as it started business. His first designs were the company’s main cabinetry line, along with a few stone vanity sinks. Lowe’s was D’Vontz’s first client and since then has continued selling a few of its products.
Since first joining D’Vontz, McBratney’s designs have been featured in nearly 3,000 private showrooms displaying his entire product line, which Tulsans can find at showrooms such as Ferguson Plumbing Supply.
A self-proclaimed “purely visual person,” he says he most enjoys designing furniture because “there’s no better gratification or satisfaction level I can get from anywhere else.”
When he’s not at the office creating new product design lines and winning numerous industry awards for his work, including the Award for Design Excellence, McBratney spends his spare time with members of Tulsa’s Young Professionals (TYPros). He joined the organization almost three years ago and has since served on the Special Events Crew, with which he remains actively involved today.
He attributes TYPros for inspiring him to do more in the community since “so many of its members do amazing things.” The organization also has allowed him to learn about volunteer opportunities, voice his opinion to city leaders and it is where he met his best friend.
While McBratney plans to stay in Tulsa and continue his design work with D’Vontz, he looks forward to the expansion of the company in the future.
“We’re growing and we’re growing fast,” he says. “Tulsa is the perfect place for us. We’re all from here and we love it. Like we’ve always said … we only felt it fair to give Kohler a 130-year head start.”