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Seahawks Zac Brooks explores his passion for interior design

Seattle Times columnist Matt Calkins in his newly designed living room. (Photo by Rachel Belle)
LISTEN: Seattle Seahawk, with a love for interior design, does an apartment for a local journalist

Seattle Times sports columnist Matt Calkins moved into a new apartment in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood just a few days before the Seahawks draft started. Before Zac Brooks was asked to be on the team.

“I was kind of freaking out over the idea of decorating my apartment,” Calkins said. “I just don’t know how to do stuff like that.”

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Coincidentally, he recently heard an interview with Zac Brooks, a running back drafted in the 7th round by the Seahawks. Brooks talked about his passion for interior design.

“I’ve just always been on the creative side and just trying to figure out what looks good,” Brooks said after practice at VMAC. “I kind of just ran up on interior design my junior year. I was injured and I missed my season and it kind of made me think if I wasn’t playing football, what would I be really happy doing. So I really thought about that and I came up with interior design because it’s almost effortless.”

To Calkin’s surprise, Brooks agreed to come to his empty apartment. After looking around, he sent him a complete rendering of a fully furnished and designed apartment.

“The first thing he said when he came in was that I would I would go ‘industrial,'” Calkins recalled. “I had no idea what that meant. Metal, dark tones. If you look around here you’ll see black bar stools with steel frames. Coffee table: dark gray with steel frames.”

“The other big thing for him was when he looked outside into the courtyard he saw the trees and all the green,” h e said. “It was kind of funny to see how enthusiastic he was when he saw that. So green art work, he had the green plant in the corner, green pillows. He really had a vision, which was impressive to me. When it all comes together you go, ‘whoa, this guy’s an artist.'”

Zac Brooks design

Since Brooks is busy focusing on football, Calkins had to go out and find all the furnishings and artwork himself. But he was determined to find pieces that looked exactly like the ones in the rendering Brooks gave him.

“I feel like he followed a template to a T,” Brooks said. “It looked exactly how it looked on my iPad, the way I designed it. I was very impressed. It was my first time seeing a piece of my work actually come to life. It was really, really cool.”

The apartment is extremely clean and modern, tasteful, bright and masculine. There are no personal touches so it looks like a living room in a catalog. Which is just fine with Calkins, considering what his place would have looked like without Brooks’ help.

“It’s probably a dated reference: I design an apartment the way Miss South Carolina speaks publicly, which is just about as disastrous as it can be,” Calkins joked. “Anything with art, decorating or design, I’m a mess! There wouldn’t be, like, a ‘Scarface’ picture over my couch or anything like that. But it wouldn’t be anything worth showing off.”

Calkins wrote a column about the experience, which of course earned Brooks some teasing in the locker room. But after the jokes died down, there was genuine interest.

“They just started asking me for tips on random stuff,” Brooks said. “‘So what do you think about these chandeliers?’ It was Doug, Doug Baldwin. I was like, ‘Talk to me after practice.'”

So what did Zac Brooks think about Doug Baldwin’s chandeliers?

“I mean, they … it was cool,” Brooks says, hesitantly. “I wouldn’t have picked them out, you know. To each his own. It made him happy.”

Calkins says from a numbers point of view, talent aside, the odds of Brooks making the team isn’t high. But he thinks he could go far as a designer.

“One of the emails I got was from a guy from a big design firm who said, hey, give Zac my contact info,” Calkins said. “Every interior designer that I’ve shown his renderings to were very impressed. I think he has a future in the business if he wants to do it. I know that he wants to start his own firm one day. I know that when he was at Clemson he didn’t look at interior design as a backup career. So if he makes it in football I think at some point he wants to do stuff like this in the off season.”

Brooks agrees that football comes first, but it’s always good to have a backup plan.

“No doubt, no doubt, gotta have a backup plan!” he said. “Can’t be lost. Gotta be doing something!”

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