New Website!

Hey everybody! I want to let you all know that I am transitioning websites! I have enjoyed reading all the messages and comments from this place that have been sent my way, but now it’s time to move onto bigger and better things!

I have started the website EpicQuests4Crafts, which contains a larger variety of my art through the years (not just video game/interior design art!) There you can see my video game art, but also my travel & wildlife photography, my etsy creations, paintings, and a mass variety of other things! I hope you’ll check it out and enjoy!

If you are on any other social media platforms, I will also be sharing updates on my latest work via Instagram @Epicquests4crafts and twitter @epicquests, I’d love it if you went and checked it out!


Instagram!

Gretings everybody!

Other than the occasional being featured in a blog post every now and then, there’s not much reason to diligently update this blog anymore.

But I am not dead yet!

I am still crazy-active with a very eclectic pile of art-in-progress and commissions ranging in genres such as Interior design, cosplay, video games, superheros, Disney Princesses, jewelry… if you name it, I will probably try it at some point! But instead of updating my projects on this blog, I am now over at Instagram!

So follow me on Instagram @ “EpicQuests4Crafts” to follow all the current art projects and comic-cons that I will be going to!

Thanks everybody!!

Playstation Official Magazine!

So for a slight update on things: Fellow Portal-enthusiast David was kind enough let me know my bedroom made it into the Playstation Official magazine, and since I’ve been unable to get my hands on this UK-based magazine, also sent me scans of the article that was in issue #87, as well as a follow-up opinion in issue #89!

Extreme Cakeover Article Extreme Cakeover Follow-up Opinion

I debuted my Portal Bedroom nearly a year ago, but it’s incredible how I’m still getting acknowledgement and encouragement on my projects. The Portal bedroom project was meant to be some “let’s see what I can make next!” challenge… I never thought that it would be featured on as many online sites as it was (Kotaku, Buzzfeed, Geekologie, Io9, Geeksaresexy, and of course, countless tumblr and pinterest posts!) as well as a gaming magazine.

For those interested, since posting everything, I’ve only changed a few things to the room… I switched the comforter to black, I obtained not one, but TWO companion cubes, I started a collection of those mystery-box mini-turrents, and I set up my alarm clock to play the Portal-radio jingle you hear in the games.

Also since posting, several people have asked me for help/advice with designing their own geek-themed bedrooms (which I’ve been more to happy to help out with!) and I’ve also been commissioned for a handful of future interior-design art projects… a Deco-Art Nintendo room, a Mario-themed nursery, and SEVERAL Doctor Who-themed rooms.

There are no definite future interior design projects in development, but I promise once they happen, I’ll make sure to post about the progress!

Until then, if anybody’s going to the Dallas Comic-Con in May, hit me up, cause I’ll be there in all my Test-Subject-Jumpsuit glory!

Thanks again for all your support guys!

Cheers!

 

 

Welcome!

Greetings test subjects! If you’re here to read more about how I designed my Portal bedroom, just scroll on down, and it’ll drag you through the many many steps I took to get to completion. If, however, you could care less about how I did it, and just want to look at the finished pictures, under the navigation bar are three “Finished (Part I – III)” tabs. You can click through those to get all the science that you seek. While not nearly as exciting or video-game themed, I did also include a few pictures of some of my past “Interior design” projects that I’ve attempted over the years (my room-designing attempts started all the way back in elementary school!)

If you have any additional questions that you would like to ask, feel free to contact me, and I’ll try to respond as soon as possible!

Thanks for visiting, and enjoy!

The Beginning

So, like I mentioned before, most of my life I’ve always enjoyed interior design. Even as a kid I always wanted to repaint my room a new “theme” every few years or so. I’d try themes such as “ocean” or “jungle,” although starting out that basically meant the walls were sponge-painted different colors, then I’d add some related wallpaper border. During high school/college years, I changed my themes to a more modern look, but kept things pretty generic, so if I moved, I could reuse most of the decor. During and right after college, I had roommates, so I tried to keep things toned down enough that they would like it too (I’ve uploaded a few of these in a separate page on this site if you’re interested)

About a year ago, my roommate got married, and I took the opportunity to find my own place (without any roommates). I found an awesome loft apartment (I’ve always wanted to live in a loft), which came with brand new everything: new appliances, new carpet, new white walls. I thought “Okay, this is my place, I can decorate it however I want… I want to challenge myself to see how awesome I can decorate!”

I wanted to step away from the generic “squares” or “blue and green” theme, and actually try to do an actual “theme.” But was at a loss as to what to do.

The idea hit me when I was wandering through a modern furniture store and saw this:

Infinity Mirror

It’s called an “infinity mirror,” and it blew my mind. I thought it was so cool! And around the same time I found this, I’d finally gotten around to playing Portal 2, so I already had Portal on the brain, so I put two and two together and thought “A PORTAL ROOM!”

I looked all over the internet to see if anybody else had designed a Portal-themed bedroom yet that I could get some inspiration from. I found a few rooms, and some of them were pretty cool, but I just couldn’t find one that I absolutely loved. So I issued myself a challenge: To design from scratch a Portal-themed bedroom that while obviously Portal, would also be aesthetically-pleasing enough that any non-gamer could still look at it and go “Hey, that’s a really neat looking room!” rather than “what’s up with all the weird stuff on the walls?”

At this point in time, I had no intention of including infinity mirrors, mainly because the ones I found for sale were shockingly expensive. So even though the infinity mirror inspired me, I set that piece to the side, not realizing in the end, I’d have (what I think) are the coolest infinity mirrors to ever have been made!

Blank Slate

So I started with a completely empty room, which was great for planning what I should do. Obviously I ran into many designing bumps along the way… figuring out how “Portal” to go, what would look cool, what would look too cheesy. But here’s just some basic shots to show you how empty it was when I started:

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I knew I wanted the “panels” like are in the game, so I measured the walls, and tried to evenly break them up into the “panels.” Due to the size of some of the walls, there were a few inches variance on some of them, but in the end, I don’t think it’s possible to tell which ones are larger/smaller. I also knew I wanted a trail of blue dots, and orange dots, and I wanted them to be across the room from one another (for balance), but didn’t figure out exactly where until later.

The Materials

The Paint Colors!

All right, so everything above is what I used. I used Behr brand paint (the Premium Plus Paint and Primer in One, just cause that’s what I always use and it’s never let me down.)

I agonized over what shade I should paint my walls. There’s such a stark contrast between the Portal 1 and 2 room designs. Portal 1 has white, surgically-clean chambers, while Portal 2 has a more rugged run-down feel, especially in the “retro” testing rooms. I knew I would probably never be able to recreate the sharp appearance of the Portal 1 rooms without it looking cheesy, so I decided to aim more towards the Portal 2/retro testing chamber theme. I found quite a bit of Portal 2 props and artwork online, and found plenty from the “Cave Johnson” era, so I figured I could make this happen.

To match the run-down look, I aimed more towards a warm gray tone for the walls. For the base color, I went with a color called “Perfect Taupe,” then picked 1 and 2 shades darker for the lines/blending. “Elephant Skin” was the medium color, and “Mined Coal” was the darkest color. For the panels, I used the medium colors to dry-brush a wide area of shading, then went in with the darker color to do a straight line. I thought about using black, but in the end, thought this look alone gave me enough of a “panel” appearance.

The Orange and blue colors were tough to decide on as well. When you play the game Portal and look at the colors used, there are all kinds of shades. There’s the yellow-orange (the dots), then the red-orange (the jumpsuit). There’s the sky-blue (the dots), then the more aqua color (various artwork). I decided to go with a richer color for each, and decided if it was too much I could just mix white into the colors to lighten them. The blue was a Behr-brand color called “Azurean,” but the Portal orange I actually got off a WalMart paint chip, and had Home Depot color-match it.

I was able to paint my whole room with a gallon and one quart of the base color, and I only needed a quart for the medium color, and the sample sizes jars for the rest.

In addition to the standard paint tools, I decided to invest in a Laser level that has a push-pin on it that you can stick into the wall and have it map out your lines for painting. This. Saved. My. Life! I don’t know how long it would have taken me, and how crooked the lines would have looked, had I not used this tool. At $18, it was worth it.

So there you have it, my arsenal of Portal-creating tools!

The Finishing Touches

So the next images I have are with almost everything completed (again, sorry for the lack of in-progress shots… I really do just start, and then don’t stop until it’s almost done!). For the Portal dots, I used the lid of one of the paint-sample jars, made a stencil, and used the laser level to map out where the circles needed to line up. Then I drew the circles on, painted them the base color, did a bit of highlighting (lightened a bit of the paint with the white), then outlined them in black paint, and called them good!

Finishing Touches

The Furniture

While my goal was to be “Portal-themed,” I’m still such a sucker for modern art, my goal was to still try to keep a clean look with all the furniture. Thankfully, I already had most of the furniture, and didn’t buy anything specifically to match the “Portal room.” Any furniture I had/bought, I got because I like the modern/black look.

Prepac BrisbaneThis collection is called “Prepac Brisbane Collection.” When I initially purchased my furniture, I was able to get a twin-sized frame, the headboard, the foot-storage (although the one I got was a bit longer than what they sell in the collection now), a nightstand, and the dresser, through Walmart.com, all for $500.

But obviously, the twin-sized frame had been what I bought when I was living in a smaller apartment with less space, and now that I had a place of my own, could finally upgrade.

I looked for weeks and weeks to find a nice basic platform bed (it’s hard to find one that isn’t too large or expensive). I finally found one that I liked at Ikea:

Malm Bed FrameThis IKEA Malm bed frame cost $200 ($150 + $50 for the bed slats, as IKEA likes to do). They had this style in a low and high frame-style. I chose the low-style, because I thought it helped make the room look larger, and worked better with having the Chell poster centered above it.

So furniture-wise, I had the queen-size platform frame, one nightstand, one dresser, and the foot-locker-storage thing, which I slightly altered:

Footlocker2

I cut out foam board squares, then sketched out various Portal “warning signs” (Which I see everywhere in-game), then got some cheap bookends from Walmart, and taped them to the bookends.

FootlockerUnfortunately, throughout this design process, I never came up with a satisfactory “Companion cube” for my room, so for now I settled with a “Falling cube” warning sign (it’s not quite a companion cube, but it’s better than nothing I suppose!)

And that’s all for the furniture!

The Wall Art

So in the room there are two types of art: ones on canvas, and ones in poster frames. Everything within poster frames I bought, and the canvas art I painted using 10″ x 10″ canvas squares.

I got this set of 4 posters from the online Valve Store for $15. The largest poster is 24″ x 36″, and the other two I used (I decided against including the 4th poster in the room, just to avoid it looking too “busy’) were 18″ x 24” each. I bought black poster frames 50% off at Michaels/Hobby Lobby.

ChellPortal

The Chell Poster I was also able to purchase through the Valve store, although currently it doesn’t look like they are selling it anymore. I really liked seeing this in Portal 2, and when I saw it was a giant poster, knew I wanted it as the “centerpiece” above the bed.

squares3 squares1 squares2These are the canvases I painted. My thought-process was to put the arrow and “Exit” sign above the bedroom door (since technically that would be the “exit” from the room), the cake sign above the closet (and had the “Cake is a lie” scribble inside). I wanted to put stuff above the curtains, just so I’d have the art evenly spaced throughout the room, so I decided to be creative and just do an Atlas and Peabody one, then an Aperture logo, and paint them orange and blue rather than just black (I used the same orange and blue paint as what’s on the walls).

OrangeWall1 DSC04141 Here’s closeups on the portal dots. As I mentioned previously, I lightened the paint a bit for the highlights on the dots and squares. The dots don’t make much sense practical-wise… I just wanted to have them on opposite sides of the room, so for looks sake, I just had the dots “start” at an outlet or switch, and had them lead to the top of either the door, or near the Portal gun. You can use your imagination as to how that would work in a real test chamber 😛

lie1 20121111_204653And the “Cake is a lie” closet! This idea really did just hit me one Sunday afternoon… I think I was watching Doctor Who or something, and got this idea, and just ran into my room, slapped some black paint on my hand and went at it. I thought about doing more graffiti, like a flying companion cube or something (like in the game)… but got bored after the few tally marks and called it good :).

The Decorations

Again, I was able to purchase almost everything online for the room (A few of these things were gifts people gave to me, but I’m sure they got the stuff online too!)

Dresser Decor

So I actually think all of these expect the plush turrent were gifts, but some quick research revealed that you can purchase these from Thinkgeek/Valve:

Portal Bookends – $30

Mini-Turret – $6

Plush Turret – $35

Aperture 1940s Mug – $10

Nightstand
Portal 2 Coasters – $20

shelfandpillows

12″ x 36″ Black shelf – $8

Black Shelf Fixtures – $7 each

Orange pillows I stumbled across at Ikea – $4 each

The light blue pillowcases were part of a sheet set I found on one of those online Groupon deals for $30.

I REALLY wanted an orange and blue reversible comforter, which, if you have a twin-size bed, you can actually buy for $37. But since I couldn’t find any in a queen-size, I set off to just find a solid orange comforter. And guess what: a solid orange comforter in a queen without some weird reversible-color on the other side is just as impossible to find. So, instead I settled on a reversible black and gray comforter from Walmart for $25. It’s hard to tell in some of the photos, but the gray actually matches with the darker shading on the walls, so it worked out quite well (the photos just catch different shades between the two for some reason)

PortalGuns

And of course, the “Crown Jewels” of the room: The Portal guns. These… were surprisingly difficult to procure (and quite pricey too!) When I heard they were being sold, I took my time in trying to order one, only to find out they had sold within minutes online. So when the “original gun” sold out, I tried to get the first round of the “Special edition” one… only to have that one sell out before I could grab it. Luckily, I was able to buy the Orange special edition gun… for $150 (ouch.) but considering how cheap I was able to purchase/receive as gifts everything else, I figured it was worth the investment. Shortly thereafter, they produced a Portal Gun you can customize for $120 (although at the time I was able to get it for $90). It might have been overkill to have 2 portal guns, but I felt a whole lot more comfortable running around at Halloween and conventions with the non-special-edition gun.

Honestly, however, if you’re wanting to do a room like this for a kid or something, Thinkgeek.com has a Mini-replica Gun for $60 that I think would be a lot more reasonable than breaking the bank for a “full-size” gun that you’ll probably be too afraid to handle with how expensive they can run (although I think you can find them on ebay for not too ridiculous a price). So all in all, these were EASILY the most expensive part of the room, but I think they were worth it.

Creating the “Portals”

This… I have little to no expertise in speaking on. I happened to mention to one of my friends, Steve Gilbertson, what I was trying to do, and he, with his engineering wisdom, began sketching up plans, saying that it could actually be done (hooray!)

Mind you, I know that dozens of people have made infinity mirrors of their own, and there’s tons of Youtube videos showing how, but I DARE you to find me one where they make an oval infinity mirror. Such a tuitorial doesn’t exist. And you know why? BECAUSE IT IS SUCH A PAIN IN THE BEHIND!

I mean my goodness, I don’t think either of us realized what we were getting ourselves into. With a square or circle mirror, you can find everything pretty standard… standard frames, glass, mirrors, LED strips, etc. Little to no construction necessary! But with wanting to re-create a Portal look… EVERYTHING had to be custom-made. I had to order custom-sized glass and custom-cut mirrors. We had to make our own frame and glue it all together. The standard LED strips were all the wrong sizes, so we had to buy the individual bulbs and solder them all together individually. The wiring, one-way reflection, and switch… everything was made from scratch.

Eventually he’s going to do a more in-depth guide as to how we put together the Portals at http://stevegilbertson.com (he’s getting married soon, so he’s pretty busy dealing with all that planning stuff currently), but for now you can be entertained with some in-progress photos!

The Materials

Yes, we actually did use the “For Sale” sign… it was actually the perfect material to make the LED strips.

The very basic part of the frame

Checking to make sure the “strip” would fit within the portal frame.

Making the frame

One of the many pieces we cut for the frame… I had no clue what he was doing here.

Frame Close-Up

A close-up of where we cut out to install the switch and power cord later

The wiring

Staring the soldering of the many many LED bulbs. Oh, and we had to sand them first… guess who’s fun job THAT was!

LED in progress

About halfway through with the soldering for the orange portal…

2012-09-15 22.01.54

Orange LED strip FINISHED.!

Gluing the frame

Once the LED strip was done, we could glue the frame together… clamped it together with wood glue for 24 hours.

The completed portals

Both the orange and blue portals done… the orange is “on,” the blue is “off” for comparison purposes on how stinkin’ cool it looks!

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Aaaaaand we have portals. FOR SCIENCE!

The Finished Product (With the Lights On!)

So there you have it, hopefuly a somewhat comprehensive understanding of how I got from boring white walls, to awesome-sauce. So here is what the room looks like once you’ve put everything together:

00Day

RoomD1

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4Day

9Day

And now for a few Panoramic shots:

8Day

PanoramD1 (2)

PanoramD1

All in all, not too shabby I think (again, the comforter looks way off in these photos… in the actual room it matches the walls… I didn’t want to go through the trouble of matching the hues in Photoshop the way they look in person :-P)

“Day” vs. “Night”

Here are pictures next to one another, to show how different the room looks with the lights on vs. the “portals” on:

00Day

00Night

10Day

10Night

9Day

9Night

5Day

5Night

4Day

4Night

3Day

3Night

8Day

8Night

7Day

7Night

Thank you so much for your interest, and in reading through this. Truly I enjoyed designing this Portal-masterpiece, and can’t wait for the next opportunity to try something else like this.

Until next time!