Archive for June, 2011

Jun 30 2011

Decorating Your Home With Salvaged and Reclaimed Items

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Nothing adds character and warmth to a home more than salvaged or reclaimed wood accents. If your home is decorated in a rustic, country or western theme, you will find that some of the items many people consider trash can be absolute treasures which add a unique and personal touch to your home.  Here are some ideas that will help you create a home that is welcoming, beautiful and truly original.

Using old doors to add an interesting flair

Old wooden doors can be used in a variety of ways.  If you don’t currently have a headboard on your bed or simply want a change from the one you do have, old doors make beautiful headboards!

If your bed is queen or king sized, use two doors to span the width of the bed; then simply paint or stain the doors the color you like, and top with decorative crown molding.

Old doors also make good coffee tables.  As with the headboard, you can paint or stain with any color you like or even top the door with glass.  Buy simple furniture legs at a home improvement store, screw them in to the bottom and you’re done!

Tin ceiling panels

Most people never think “outside the box” when it comes to decorating their homes.  Old tin ceiling panels can be easily cut and bent to nearly any shape you require.

Use the tin to create unique frames for your wall art; just bend it around the existing frame, and even hammer it a bit if you prefer a look that is even more worn.

If you collect bird houses, old tin makes a great rustic themed roof for a bird house.  Wrap panels around a simple cylinder shaped flower vase, and you have a vase that offers charm and old-time appeal.

Old ceramic or porcelain tiles

If you have some old ceramic or porcelain tiles lying around or know where you can get some, they are great for adding a unique touch to your home.

These tiles are a beautiful addition to your kitchen when used as a back splash for the kitchen sink.  In the bathroom, they may be used the same way, or they can be placed in an abstract pattern around the vanity mirror.  Create a border around the top of the wall in the dining room – just use your imagination!

Old windows – add a window where there isn’t one

You may find the idea crazy, but hanging an old window on a wall can make it feel as if the area is much more spacious, even though you cannot see outdoors.

Paint the frame any color you like; you can place a mat behind the window, add family photos, or leave it as is.  You may even want to hang sheers or curtains around the window to add an extra splash of color and interest.

There are all sorts of ways to incorporate old or salvaged items in your decorating scheme.  Old doorknobs, skeleton keys, old hardware from cabinet doors and drawers – these things can be used to create unique wind-chimes which hang outdoors.

Using old treasures can be a great way to give your home a warm, nostalgic appeal without busting your budget.  Put your imagination to work, and you will be surprised at just what you can create using salvaged and reclaimed items

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Jun 29 2011

Choosing the Right Tile for the Various Rooms of Your Home

Published by under Flooring

If you’re thinking of updating the floors in your home, you may be considering tile.  There are many types of tile, including ceramic, porcelain, slate, travertine and marble.  Some work well in certain rooms, but aren’t recommended for others.  This article offers tips so that you can choose the right tile for your home and your budget.

Consider location

Some types of tile are more slippery than others; if you are looking to tile your foyer or any area that gets a good amount of traffic, you may want to avoid marble or other types of tile that are highly polished.  In these areas, consider ceramic or stone tiles that tend to be less slippery.

Check the rating of the type of tile you are considering

Many homeowners are not aware that ceramic and porcelain tiles come with a PEI, or Porcelain Enamel Institute, rating.  These ratings vary from 1 to 5 and help determine how much traffic the surface can handle.  The higher the number, the more durable the surface and the more traffic it can handle without becoming dull or scuffed.

Consider both cost and your budget

Some types of tile are extremely costly, while others are affordable for most budgets.  Ceramic and porcelain tiles are the least expensive.  Natural stone tiles are usually the most expensive, so you may want to consider using them only in smaller areas if your budget is tight.

Ceramic tile comes in many different sizes and shapes, as well as a multitude of colors.  This style is the biggest seller when it comes to tile.  Keep in mind that grout can be tinted nearly any color you like, which adds to the unique look.

What you need to know about stone tiles

While natural stone tiles are exquisite in their beauty, granite, slate and marble must be sealed by a professional every 4 or 5 years to prevent staining.  Additionally, a professional should do the installation, as the varying shapes and sizes of natural stone make it a project that generally too difficult to be accomplished by the average homeowner.

Porcelain – the perfect surface for moist or humid areas

Porcelain tiles are more durable than many other types of tile, making them the perfect choice for kitchens and bathrooms.  They are also the most water-resistant, making them an ideal choice for these rooms.

Saltillo and terra cotta tiles are two of the worst choices for tiling in a bathroom or kitchen, as they absorb more water than other options such as ceramic.  These are not recommended for areas where excess moisture or humidity is a factor.

When deciding to tile the floors in your home, just remember that cost is key.  The prices you find on different brands of tile can vary tremendously; even among ceramic and porcelain, which are usually the least costly.  This can bring their cost up to a point where they are comparable to marble or travertine – so check prices and shop around before you buy.

Hopefully, these tips will help you choose tile that adds greatly to the beauty of your home, and will last for years to come.

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Jun 28 2011

Easy Decorating – The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Spectacular Rooms

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Are you building a new home, or just want to re-decorate the one you have now?  Many people find decorating a room intimidating; they don’t know how to choose colors or furniture, accents, flooring and all of the other things that go in to designing a room.  If you have no idea where to get started or how to begin, this article will help make it easy!

Start with color

It is essential that you choose your color theme before you begin.  Once you have the colors, choosing everything else is so much easier.

For an appealing room that isn’t too busy, go for three basic colors.  One color should be the most dominant, while the other two support the stronger color.  For example, you may want to choose cream, forest green and burgundy as your three colors, using burgundy as the dominant color in the room.

Lay out your floor plan

Many homeowners make the mistake of rushing out to buy furniture, curtains, flooring, accents and everything else they need in their excitement.

Before you make this mistake, draw out the room on a piece of paper, including wall, door and window measurements.  By doing this, you will be easily able to tell if a sofa will fit along one wall, or if the window treatment you choose is the right size for your windows.

By measuring before you start buying, you will save an incredible amount of time and possibly money!

Give it plenty of thought and consideration

Before you choose a decorating style or colors, think about them long and hard.  Will you enjoy the style of decor and color theme a year from now? By rushing into your decision, you may find that you regret it sooner rather than later.

Choose a focal point

Every room needs a focal point, an object or space that immediately draws the eye when someone enters the room.

In the living room, this can be a fireplace, a window or even a furniture grouping.  When you determine what the focal point will be, you can work everything around it to make it even more attention grabbing.

Try paint colors before you make a final decision

Your walls are the base of all of your decorating, so you want to make certain you have chosen the ideal color.  Paint chips or cards cannot give you a true picture; to ensure you are getting the color you really want, buy two or three quart sized cans of similar colors, and paint a small portion of the wall so that you can choose the one that best suits your decor and color scheme.

When decorating your home, try not to dwell on what you believe others would think – after all, it is your home!  Your rooms should be comfortable and inviting to you, reflecting your personal tastes.

Avoid too much clutter, keep walking spaces open, and have fun!  Decorating your personal spaces can be fun and exciting; the anticipation of what the finished room will look like will drive you to put your best effort forth.

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Jun 27 2011

Budget Bedroom Decorating Ideas

If you’re tired of the present decor in your bedroom, there are plenty of affordable ways to give it a new look!  You don’t have to buy new furniture, replace the carpet or add expensive artwork.  This article offers tips and ideas for giving your bedroom a fresh new look without spending much money.

Change up the walls

The single most noticeable thing you can do to give your bedroom a new look is to change up the walls.

Paint is one of the most affordable ways to transform any room in your home.  In the bedroom, consider painting two opposite walls a shade that complements the color scheme; alternatively, try giving the walls texture with techniques such as sponging or rag rolling.

If you’re artistic, paint a mural on the wall!  You might also consider taking some of your photographs, blowing them up and crafting frames yourself out of old worn wood.

Dress up the bed

Since the bed is usually the biggest piece of furniture in the room, it is often the focal point.

If you are tired of your headboard, remove it!  Paint your own headboard on the wall using bold colors, or create a romantic look by draping long satin or sheer curtains on the wall above the head of your bed.  If you don’t currently have a head board, make one out of an old door; you can paint it a bold color, sand it down to give it a worn look – just use your imagination!

Adding a few throw pillows to the top of the bed can also dress it up a bit.

Accents make the room

Tired of your old accents?  Use the things you have stored in the attic or basement.  Cracked pitchers and old vases are perfect for displaying fresh flowers on the dresser or nightstand.

Consider a new lampshade for your bedside lamp, paint the one you have or add tassels or bead-work to create a unique and appealing look.

Candles are a beautiful and affordable way to add a splash of color to the room.  Today, you can find solid colored candles as well as those with abstract and unique designs that really stand out.

Area rugs are another easy way to change the look of your bedroom.  Whether you have wood floors or carpeting you can place coordinating accent rugs on either side of the bed.

For a really noticeable difference, move your furniture away from the walls!  Place your bed in one corner at a diagonal; the look is unique and appealing.

Instead of a plain light fixture, consider a small and romantic looking chandelier.  You can often find accents like these at flea markets and second-hand stores.  These are great places to find new artwork for the walls as well, or even second-hand furniture that you can refinish yourself to create a new look for your bedroom.

Use your imagination and come up with a few creative ideas of your own.  You truly can create an entirely new look for your bedroom without busting your budget!

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Jun 26 2011

Decorating Your Home in Traditional Southern Style

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

A Southern style home is warm, relaxed and welcoming.  We have all seen southern plantations featured in magazines and on television.  The look is elegant yet casual, beautiful and quaint.  Perhaps no other style of decorating offers the “come in and stay awhile” appeal of the southern style home, which is why it has been, and remains, one of the most popular styles of decorating.

Natural elements and colors lend to the relaxing appeal of the southern style home.  Below you will find a few tips to help you create your own “down south” home!

Furnishings are substantial and worn

In a southern style home, you won’t generally find the sleek, small scaled accent tables and furniture you may find in a modern or contemporary home.

Salvaged birch, pine or oak – wood is a staple in southern decorating – are common elements.  Furnishings are often crafted of wood with an antique or worn look.  A sofa may be constructed using a wooden frame, upholstered in textured fabrics designed in plaids, stripes or florals.

You may even use reclaimed wood to create a unique focal point; an old barn door makes the perfect kitchen table.  Flank it with simple benches, and the look is charming.

Any room of the house becomes more inviting when wood or pie chests are used for storage.

Color schemes

In the southern style home you will often see shades of cream, sand, soft blue, and forest green or other colors found in nature.  Butter yellow and warm cider are colors that invite you in to the kitchen to enjoy tea and cookies.

The walls are the basis for any room; light colors open up airy spaces filled with sunlight.  Ivory, tan or white are perfect for the walls, as furnishings and accents add bold splashes of color and dimension.

Darker hues such as navy, forest green and burgundy are often reserved for smaller accents such as trim, baseboards or even a throw blanket.

Design elements

The architecture often used in southern style decorating adds a cozy and interesting feel to the room.  For the fireplace, river rock or slate tile offer up a cozy, warm and appealing focal point.

Various techniques are used to give the walls depth; whitewashed or light wood wainscoting may be used on the lower half of the wall.  Top with a wood chair rail that has been banged lightly with a hammer for a worn or aged look.

To take the architectural elements even further, hang 2-by-4s from the ceiling to replicate the charm of exposed wooden beams.

Accessories complete the look

As with most other decorating styles, the accessories are what really pull together the look.  Gingham tablecloths and curtains, a patchwork quilt hung casually over the corner of the sofa, toile fabrics, braided rugs – all of these patterns and textures add incredible depth and coziness to your rooms.

Simple things are often found in the southern style home; baskets store magazines, coffee tables are decorated with books and candles.  An antique or worn vase filled with fresh flowers is the perfect centerpiece.  Fruit, nuts, limbs – all that you find in nature may be displayed in baskets, bowls, pitchers and vases.

Nothing is quite as charming as a southern style home – but you don’t have to live down south to experience the warm inviting atmosphere.  Use the ideas above and create relaxing, beautiful spaces in your home that bring to mind a southern plantation!

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Jun 25 2011

Quick and Easy Bedroom Redecorating Ideas

Are you tired of your bedroom decor?  No matter how beautiful it was when you first decorated, we all tend to grow tired of any look after a good deal of time has passed.  If you want to give your bedroom a completely new look in a minimal amount of time, you will find the tips and ideas below helpful.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money or purchase all new furniture to spruce up your bedroom!

Change up the walls

The walls are the easiest part of the room to change; updating the look of the walls will give your bedroom a completely new look.

Paint the walls a fresh new color, or consider texturing techniques to add a new dimension to the walls.  Sponging, rag rolling and stenciling are simple to do, and give the room a unique look.  Textured wallpaper is also available that is meant for painting over.

To really liven up the look, paint the walls of your bedroom two different shades; opposite facing walls may be cream or taupe, while the other two can be soft blue, golden pumpkin or any colors that complement the decor.

Rearrange the furniture

Most people have their bed placed flat up against a wall.  Why not do something a bit original?  Place your bed at a diagonal, so that the head of the bed is across one corner of the room.

If room allows, bring in a love seat or two chairs flanking a table with reading lamp.  Creating a relaxing space for reading or watching television can add a whole new dimension to the bedroom.

Change out your accents or accessories

Sometimes all it takes to completely makeover the look of a bedroom is a few well-chosen accents!

Consider new throw rugs for the side of the bed, boldly colored and full of texture.  New thrown pillows for the bed will add an additional splash of color.

Change out the prints on the walls, add new curtains and consider painting your lamp shade or buying a new one.

Add an old cracked pitcher filled with fresh flowers to the dresser; new candles, doilies, and other small accents can dress up the room.

Consider color

Dark colors make a room recede, while lighter colors visually expand the size.  If your bedroom is very small, consider brightening it up with paint, a new comforter or duvet, and light, breezy curtains.

A large bedroom is beautiful and relaxing when filled with cool colors that soothe such as soft blue, mint green, silver and lavender shades.  As long as you avoid bold colors such as bright red, neon green and royal purple, your bedroom will be a relaxing sanctuary that induces sleep.

Be creative and try different things; move the furniture around several times, look at the color scheme you now use and decide what different colors may complement the look.

Have fun redecorating your bedroom!  It’s easy to make it uniquely yours, a place where you will enjoy reading, watching television or simply sleeping after a long hard day.

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Jun 24 2011

Tips for Transforming Your Home From Bleak to Chic During The Coldest Season

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

How can you take your home from bland and bleak to colorful and chic?  If your house feels more like a cavern then a comfortable, welcoming home, there are many things you can do to give it character and warmth.  During cold winter months, nothing feels more inviting than arriving home, after work, to a cozy, inviting domicile.  This article offers tips and ideas that will help you make the most of your living spaces.

Fireplace or wood stove

Is there anything quite like watching the warm colors of a fire flicker during winter months?  Not only is the look warm and mesmerizing, the crackling and popping sounds are relaxing and soothing.

The mantle above your fireplace is the perfect place to display your favorite photos and other accents; it can also be the focal point of the room.  Candles, black and white photos depicting winter scenes, pine cones, antiqued urns – all of these things combine to create a mantle that is beautiful and gets noticed.

Warm up the floors

If you have tile or stone floors, they can feel particularly cold and stark in winter months; cozy up your spaces with area and accent rugs which are rich in color and texture.  Today, many people layer rugs on floors during the winter months!  Simply place a larger area rug in a strategic area, then top with 2 or 3 accent rugs that complement the color scheme.

Even if you have wood floors, which are visually warmer to the eye than stone or tile, top them with a few richly patterned rugs for additional warmth and texture.

Rearrange the furniture

Nothing can change the look of a room quite as quickly as rearranging your furniture a bit.  If your furniture is placed against the walls to open up the center area, consider creating a few intimate spaces.  Create a “conversation” area so that you will have a place to entertain guests; place a loveseat, coffee table and two chairs in close proximity around a large area rug.

If you do have a fireplace, think how cozy and warm it will be if you place the sofa directly facing the front of the fireplace; arrange two chairs, one on each side of the fireplace for a setting that is charming and comfortable.

Accessories add texture and color

Frequently, it’s the little things that have the most dramatic impact when decorating your home.  Vintage blankets, richly textured throw pillows, printed burlaps and photos with rough or worn frames add a cozy and colorful touch to any room.

Never be afraid to mix and match patterns and textures.  Stripes, plaids and even florals work well together as long as the colors complement or contrast properly.  Rough textures and satiny fabrics play off one another to create a room with depth and appeal.

As you can see, it’s easy to transform a room from drab to dramatic!  If the rooms of your home could use a little spicing up, take these ideas and run with them – and then come up with a few creative ideas of your own to add a personal touch to your home.

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Jun 23 2011

Adding A Little Pattern And Texture To Your Home Decor

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Is your living room, kitchen or other room of your house rather bland and boring?  Imagine smooth walls which are white or cream colored, smooth fabrics on furnishings and throw pillows and a general lack of color or pattern – pretty boring, isn’t it? There are endless ways you can add pattern and texture to your rooms, giving them depth and dimension.  While some people like a room that is basically all one color and free of texture, most people desire a little more interest.

If you’re ready for rooms that are inviting and relaxing, here are a few tips to help you create rooms you and your guests will love.

Jazz up the walls

Decades ago, all walls were pretty much the same.  A coat or two of off-white or cream colored paint over sheetrock was the “in” thing to do.  Today, bold colors, pastel colors and texture techniques help you create walls that come to life!

Use wall colors that enhance your decorating theme.  Bold wine, soft amber, rich blue – you can use any color you like, just remember that light colors make the room appear larger.  Among the techniques used to add rich texture to walls you will also find wallpaper made for painting, sponging, rag-rolling and stenciling.

Furnishings

The furniture that is now available to choose from runs the gamut from smooth and sleek to rough and textured.  If you want to put more texture and pattern in your rooms, choose rugged wood furnishings upholstered in plaids, stripes or any pattern you like.  A rough fabric will also add more texture to the room.  Leather furnishings will add elegance and texture.

Wrought iron furnishings add a rustic and old-fashioned appeal.

Accents and accessories

One of the easiest ways to incorporate pattern and texture into any room is through the accessories you use.  Throw pillows may be rough, silky or flat; accent rugs, throws, curtains, table cloths – all of these things have the ability to turn the look of a room around.

Picture frames are another great way to add further texture to your walls; rough hewn or “worn” picture frames add old-time charm and appeal.  The addition of a large tapestry to one wall adds a rich, dramatic texture and a look that warms up the room.

How to lighten up a room with texture

Rough textures tend to absorb light, while satiny fabrics tend to reflect it.  If you desire rooms that look open and airy, smooth fabrics should dominate the scheme.  If you prefer a look that is warm and cozy, rough textures should be dominant.

When it comes to pattern, avoid an over abundance unless the room is large.  In smaller rooms, an occasional splash of pattern in throw pillows or curtains is enough to add interest and vibrancy to the room.

Even the smallest accents can change the look of a room; the smoothness of a candle sitting atop a textured doily is a nice touch for a coffee or end table.

Put these ideas to use in your own home, and you will find that your rooms are anything but boring!

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Jun 22 2011

Create a Unique & Relaxing Bathroom On a Budget

Published by under Bathrooms

If you are one of those do-it-yourself kind of people, there are many ways you can give your bathroom a whole new look, even if you have little to no money to spend.  While your bath isn’t a room you worry about too much when it comes to decorating, you want it to look nice.  If yours has seen better days and you just don’t have the money to renovate it, here are a few easy ideas that will transform your bath to one you will love quickly and easily.

Cheap sheets equal a unique look

Have a few of those low thread count bed sheets stored away in a closet?  Nothing makes a better shower curtain!  Whether you have solids, stripes or florals, it’s easy to construct a new shower curtain for your bath.

Making the ties to attach to your shower curtain rod is easy as well; simply use bias tape cut into 8 inch strips and sew them to the sheet at 10 to 12 inch intervals.

Another great idea for those sheets you no longer use:  Cut long strips from a sheet that matches the “shower curtain” you made and then sew them along the bottom of your solid colored towels to create a border.  Your new towels will look great, and will really dress up the bathroom.

Garage type metal shelving makes a great addition to the bathroom

If your husband has more of those metal “utility shelves” in the garage than is necessary, steal one of them and create a unique shelve for the bathroom.  Spray paint it a glossy or flat shade that matches the bathroom decor, then add candles, spare wash cloths, jars and bottles of lotions, a basket filled with scented soaps, potpourri and other goodies.

Refinish a linoleum floor

Can’t afford new vinyl?  Just paint your old floors and add patterns with stencils!  You can use paint on tile and linoleum floors; just use 2 to 3 coats of paint, let them dry thoroughly and then apply 2 to 3 coats of polyurethane for shine and protection.

Add a relaxing and romantic touch to the tub

Here’s a really great idea that you will love!  Take a mirror that is approximately 4 feet long (like those you typically hang on the back of the door to check how you look after dressing) and hang it horizontally across the wall beside the tub!  This will make the bathroom look larger, and it adds a unique touch to the tub space.  Mount a shelf underneath the mirror to hold candles, shampoo, soap, body wash, and other toiletries.

There are many affordable ways to update the look of your bathroom without spending much money.  Craft curtains for the bathroom windows out of sheets or even old scraps of lace; clear the clutter off of the top of the vanity, add a large potted plant to one corner of the room.

Put these ideas to use in your home and you will find that you can completely transform the look of your bath with very little expense.

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Jun 21 2011

Victorian Style Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

A Victorian style home is warm, elegant and a touch romantic.  The look is nostalgic, with floral themes, warm colors and vintage fabrics throughout.  If you’re ready to update the look of your home and are leaning toward a Victorian theme, the ideas in this article will help you create a look that is authentic and welcoming to all who enter.

Take colors from nature

The floral theme is dominant in Victorian decorating, so it’s natural that the colors used come from those often found in a floral arrangement.  Dark green, deep pink, mauve, purple, and deep reds are often utilized in this mode of design.  These colors can be used in accents, furnishings, walls, floors or anywhere you like.

Gold and brown shades work with this style as well.  Hang pictures on the walls framed with intricate wood or gold frames to add depth and interest.

Decorate the walls

A century ago, those with Victorian style homes commonly used floral patterned wallpaper to accent the walls.  While the look is beautiful and rich, it can be a little overwhelming.  If you want to calm down the floral aspect of the decorating theme a bit, paint the walls a solid color such as light mauve or gold, then use a floral wallpaper border around the top edge of the wall, next to the ceiling.

Alternately, you may wish to wallpaper one wall in the room leaving the remaining walls a solid color.  An elaborate wall tapestry is a great addition in this decorating style.  Look for tapestries with Victorian themes; the texture is rich and elegant.

Furnishings

While velvet was the fabric of choice during the prime of the Victorian decorating era, few people today have velvet furniture.  If you cannot find furniture upholstered in velvet or cannot afford it, you can reupholster your furniture in velvet yourself or have someone do it for you.

If you would rather do away with the velvet altogether, elegant wood furniture works well.  Choose solid fabrics that are richly textured and add a Victorian touch with floral throw pillows.

Accents

Anything with a worn or vintage look is perfect in the Victorian home.  Dried roses and other wildflowers are a nice touch when arranged in an old-fashioned vase.  A clear glass container filled with dried flowers or potpourri is a nice addition to the coffee table.  Randomly stack old books on a shelf or fireplace mantle, use Victorian style filigree picture frames to hold old photos, or even newer ones printed in black and white.

Doilies are ideal for this style of decorating, so if you crochet you can craft some beautiful additions for your home.  Drape a large doily casually from the fireplace mantle; use one on the end and coffee tables as placemats for candles, vases and magazines.

Creating a Victorian styled home is easy; the look is relaxed yet elegant, romantic and inviting.  Done right, your home will bring to mind those days of long ago when life moved at a slower pace.

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