Archive for July, 2011

Jul 31 2011

Small Bathroom Decorating Ideas – Give Your Small Bath a Spacious Look

Published by under Bathrooms

In a small bathroom, adding accessories to give the room an elegant look may be out of the question because space is so limited.  Many bathrooms are very small, leaving room only to walk to the toilet, bathtub or sink.  If this is the case with your bath, there are plenty of ways to open it up and make it look more spacious.  The ideas and tips below will help you transform your tiny bathroom in to one that looks bright, airy and open.

Consider replacing the fixtures

If you’re doing a complete remodeling job or simply want to add more space, remove your existing sink and vanity combination and replace it with a pedestal sink.  This gives the room a much larger appearance because it doesn’t have a bulky look.  If you currently have a bathtub and need only a shower, consider replacing the existing tub with a shower stall, saving lots of room.

Color large areas with light, neutral colors

Many people have the misperception that bold or dark colors should not be used in small bathrooms.  They are wrong!  Bold colors give a room its spark, but you want to use them sparingly in a small bath.

Keep floors, walls and ceiling painted in a light color.  For example, a light neutral cream shade is perfect for the walls; paint the ceiling white so that it brightens the room further.  Look for flooring that is light and neutral colored as well; tile and linoleum are best in a bathroom due to the moisture and humidity levels.

A small room doesn’t necessarily mean small accessories

In a small bathroom, large accents look best.  Having many smaller accessories simply makes the room look cluttered, which is what you want to avoid.  A few well chosen larger accents add a punch of color and drama to the room without making it look cluttered.

For the largest wall, consider a large framed picture or wall mirror.  A large oval or square wall mirror framed in brass or pewter is elegant and stately.  If you decide on a large picture, make it one that is filled with intense color.

Other than that, all you need is a green plant for a corner and coordinating towels, shower curtain and bath rug.  This is another area where you can add color; towels and bath rugs can be boldly colored to add further richness to the room.  Stick to smaller patterns which won’t overwhelm the space when selecting a shower curtain.

If you currently have a clothes hamper in your bathroom, remove it and replace it with a smaller basket.  You may even want to keep a laundry basket in a linen closet or another out of sight location, so that you don’t have to take away from the floor space in the bath.

The most important thing to remember when visually opening up a small bathroom is to keep walls, floors and ceilings light, as light colors reflect and make a room look larger.  Add bold splashes of color sparingly, and you will have a brand new bath that is large in both style and appeal.

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Jul 30 2011

Wall Decorating Ideas That Transform Boring into Interesting

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

When it comes to walls, well, let’s face it – most are pretty boring.  People hang a few pictures, maybe a shelf underneath and a couple of wall sconces.  You see the same old thing in most homes; it seems that people lack imagination when it comes to decorating walls.

The tips and ideas in this article will help you transform your walls from boring to “wow”!  Fill your walls with personality, and decorating the rest of the room will be a breeze.

Start with the largest wall hanging

For the best effective, start with the largest item you will be hanging on the wall and work around it adding those items that lend to the look and taking away those that do not.  Arrange all of the pieces on the floor first, that way you will be able to visualize how it will look on the wall before you start hanging.  Rearrange and maneuver until the look suits your tastes.

Create a soft wall in the bath

In the bathroom, if you like a feminine or shabby chic look, use 7 to 9 pictures of various sizes framed out in white and trimmed in lace, shells or other designs.  Two larger pictures can be placed catty-corner; then fill in with smaller pictures of all shapes and sizes from round and square to rectangle.  These frames don’t necessarily have to be pictures; they can be shadow boxes, prints, or a collection of starfish you have placed on a mat, a clock – anything that suits your decor.

Add depth to a living room wall with a “frame”

This is a unique idea, and one you will love when you actually see the finished product.

Take 6 one-by-one boards which are 8 feet in length and stained any color you like.  Place three of the boards vertically on one wall about 3 feet apart, then place the other three horizontally across the vertical boards about 2 feet apart beginning about 4 to 5 feet from the floor.  Place hooks anywhere you like on the boards, then hang photos, the kid’s drawings, prints and other decor items that suit your decor.  This adds depth to the wall, and is great behind a rustic style sofa.

Deck out the dining room

If you have a buffet in the dining room, it’s the perfect place to create a focal point for the room.

Depending on your color scheme, place 9 to 11 plates on the wall that all include the same two or three colors but have different sizes and designs.  Use a mixture of small, medium and large plates with floral designs, trees, natural settings or even profiles of people; black and white work perfectly for this idea.  Place the plates on the wall starting just about 6 inches from the top of the buffet and scatter them in an abstract manner keeping them fairly close together, about 3 inches apart.

On top of the buffet, display elegant or contemporary tall candle holders, a small casual floral arrangement, a pumpkin and various sized melons and two smaller votive candles.  The variety of size and texture adds depth to the arrangement.

The various colors in the buffet arrangement contrast beautifully with the black and white plates on the wall, creating an artistic, rich look for the room.

These are just a few unique ideas that will give your walls depth and personality.  With a little creative thinking, you can create all sorts of attention-grabbing looks for the walls in your home.

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Jul 29 2011

Designing a Retro Living Room

Many people are enjoying the looks of the 1950’s through the 1970’s in their homes, from kitchens and baths to living rooms.  If you’re thinking about incorporating a retro or vintage look in your living room, the ideas below will help get you started.  Since there were several styles during this time period, you will achieve the most desirable look by sticking with one decade for your decorating theme such as the 50’s, 60’s or 70’s.

Don’t go overboard

No matter which retro style you choose, don’t overdo it.  You want the look to be balanced, not loud and overwhelming.  By using too many accents, wall hangings, etc., you will find that the look quickly gets on your nerves.

Stick to three colors when deciding on your color theme so that the look is balanced and not confusing or overdone.

Furnishing a retro style living room

If you lived during this era, no doubt plenty of things will come to mind.  Bean bag chairs are funky, and make the perfect seating for an empty corner.  Vinyl, crushed velvet and shiny patent leather were also in vogue during these decades.

When it comes to the sofa, choose something with clean contemporary lines.  A black or white vinyl or leather sofa with simple lines looks great when topped with brightly colored velvet covered throw pillows.

Tables should enhance the look of your retro living room even further.  Look for shiny chrome legs and any surface that is shiny, such as black lacquer or even glass.

Light up the room with retro style lamps

Today there are so many ways to light up your living room, but back in the day table lamps were a huge item and necessary for completing the look.  Oversized, brightly colored lamps will add to the mix; also consider shades decorated with geometric prints and tassels.  To create a focal point for the room, place two matching lamps at each end of the sofa.

Rugs, walls and the rest

Anyone who lived during this time knows that shag carpet was all the rage.  If you have shag carpet, little has to be done to the floor.  If you have tile or stone floors, it’s easy to add a retro look to the floor.  Place a retro rug in the center of the room; this can be a monochrome or two-color rug patterned with geometric ovals or squares or large circles.

When it comes to the walls nearly anything goes.  Remember the old music posters featuring those rockers you drooled over?   They’re perfect for the living room walls.   Sunburst wall mirror decorations, an old guitar hung on the wall over the sofa, even those old tin signs featuring Betty Boop add a playful, fun feel to the room.

A vintage or retro styled living room is relaxed, comfortable and full of fun.  Take your home back in time with a retro look!  Watch some of those old shows from the time period, and you’ll come up with a few creative ideas of your own.

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Jul 28 2011

Kitchen Decorating: Designing a Retro or Vintage Style Kitchen

While some decorating themes go out of style, many come back in with a vengeance!  Today, a retro 1950’s style kitchen is back and better than ever.  Known for a clean look and bright colors, the look brings to mind those old diners like those featured in the television show Happy Days and the movie American Graffiti.  If you are looking to give your kitchen a vintage look, the tips and ideas below will help.

First things first

Before you get down to the details, your retro style kitchen should be open, bright and airy so you want to avoid clutter.  Remove those things you do not use on a regular basis, and put the knick-knacks away.

Instead of wooden cabinet doors, replace them with glass fronts so that you can put your old or vintage dishes on display.  A checkerboard pattern on the floor designed with black and white tiles is appealing and adds to the retro look.  Consider adding a mezzanine so that one area of your kitchen is elevated, complete with two or three steps for easy access to that level.

The dining room is plain and simple

The dining furnishings used in a 1950’s setting are simple and often crafted of vinyl, Formica and chrome.  If you have a bar area suitable for eating, add red vinyl stools for sitting.  A Formica topped table flanked with vinyl seating and chrome tube legs adds further authenticity to the look.  The look is modern and clean.  If you want to cover the table with a tablecloth, vinyl in a checked red and white pattern or solid color adds to the look.  Top with a white vase filled with red and white flowers, and an old-style chrome napkin holder.

Appliances may be hard to find, but don’t despair

Finding those appliances that were actually made in the 1950’s may prove a difficult task, and it would be especially hard to find them in condition to work and that you can depend upon.

There are plenty of vintage-style pieces you can find that were made in recent years but designed to look like those from the 50’s.  To really accomplish the retro look, find stoves and refrigerators in bright colors such as red or yellow.

Decorate the walls to complete the look

For the walls, nothing is better for achieving a retro 1950’s look than a chalkboard, complete with the menu for the day.  Old tin signs add further to the appeal; find some large black and white photographs or prints and frame them in black or chrome.

Accessorize your kitchen with a vintage inspired toaster, blender and canister set.  Display clear milk shake glasses in your cabinets, along with a few clear glass coffee mugs on a hanging rack.  If you have the money, go all the way and invest in a juke box!

Always keep in mind that black, white and red are the basic colors when it comes to giving your kitchen a 1950’s retro look.  Have fun with it!

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Jul 27 2011

Black and White Decorating Themes – Anything But Boring!

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

While you might feel that decorating your home in black and white sounds a bit boring, it’s actually anything but!  While black is a bit daring and bold, white is innocent, airy and light – the perfect contrast in both atmosphere and color.  It really doesn’t matter whether you prefer an ultra-modern look or a chic cottage design.  When used the right way and balanced with other accents, the look is timeless and appealing.

Bring high contrast with white walls

White walls help “set off” black furniture.  While the white walls give the room an open, spacious look, the black furnishings contrast to create an interesting, unique look.  Consider trimming walls out in black; baseboards and door trim painted in black or smoky dark gray set the walls off and add further appeal.

Choosing fabrics and patterns

If you’re going for a modern or contemporary look, consider silky, shiny fabrics and nubby textures for contrast.  Circles, squares and other geometric shapes are great for a modern look.

If cottage chic is your thing, choose feminine lacy fabrics and white cotton.  Floral patterns are perfect in this style of decorating.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns.  Checks, stripes and florals look great together as long as the colors complement one another and no one pattern overwhelms the room.

Add architectural elements to really liven things up

Consider the other things you can do with black and white to jazz things up a bit.  Black wainscoting on the walls can add elegance, while black and white floor tiles can provide a retro look and feel.  In the bath and kitchen, black cabinets look modern and sleek; if you prefer a cottage chic style, white cabinets work best with a few smaller black accents thrown in the mix.

Many people enjoy a “safari” look, which is easy to achieve.  Think of a white tiger or zebra, and use these patterns in your decorating.  Pictures, rugs, statues, thrown pillows, lamps – you can find tons of accents today with an African or zebra motif.  Add a few large plants to complete the “jungle” appeal.

Here’s the real surprise – bring your rooms to life with a bold splash of color

So, now you’re wondering just what all of that black and white will look like, and whether it will get old fast.  Not if you liven it up with bright shades or lime green, canary yellow or peacock blue!

Splashing a little color here and there adds a vibrant and energetic touch to a black and white room.  Choose colored pillows, rugs, window treatments or lampshades to incorporate a bright, bold color in the room which will really capture the attention of all who visit your home – but only use one of these colors to keep the look balanced.

Black and white is far from boring as you can see.  The main thing to remember is to use black and white on the largest areas and furnishings in the room, then incorporate patterns, texture and a splash of additional color through accents and accessories.  Have a blast creating a fabulous new look for your home!

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Jul 26 2011

Decorating a Home Office – Don’t Neglect This Necessary Space in Your Home

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

A home office is becoming the “norm” in many residences.  Whether you work from home or perform many office tasks from your house, an office is where you are likely to spend time working, balancing your budget and paying the bills.  With the right decor, you will find that you actually enjoy spending time in your home office.

What do you need in your home office?

There are some things that are necessities and others that simply lend to a relaxing atmosphere conducive to work.  The right desk is essential; it is the center of your home office, and you need a place for everything so that you have easy access; as the old saying goes, “a place for everything and everything in its place”.

Organization will ensure that you can easily access anything you need when working in your home office.  Since your desk is where you will spend most of your time it should be the right size.  A small desk won’t provide adequate space for your needs, while one that is too large tends to get cluttered.  Choose one that’s the perfect size for what you intend to accomplish, one that has adequate shelving and storage space along with just the right amount of open area on top.

Shelves handle everything from personal items to files

Shelves are essential in the home office.  You always want to add a personal touch so that your office feels comfortable and relaxing. It’s important that you include photos and even a few of those trophies or awards your children have won.

Shelves can perform a variety of functions, from holding file folders and sticky notes to awards, family photos, plants and other items that give your home office a personal touch.  You can select prebuilt units, place shelves in convenient spots on walls or use a combination of both.

When you’re short on space, a chest or armoire works wonders

According to Martha Stewart, you can keep your office organized and stylish by keeping extra paper, staples, and other office supplies out of sight.  A chest or armoire is perfect for this, as you can store anything inside so that you don’t have a lot of extra “stuff” setting on shelves, filing cabinets and your desk.  A neat, well-organized office is conducive to work and provides a welcoming atmosphere. 

Plants – a necessity for every home office

Whether it is a bonsai tree or an elephant ear plant, you need natural elements in your home office.  Set a corn plant or fern in a corner near a window, or place smaller plants on shelves.  Greenery adds a natural element that makes any room more inviting.

It’s best to use plants which require a minimum of care in your home office.  Bonsai trees are perfect for this use because they take up very little space and require little maintenance.

A bulleting board is another item you will want to place in your home office, so that you can keep up with meetings, deadlines and other events.

Dress up a cork board with a fabric that coordinates with the overall décor and then frame it any way you like.  This makes for an element that is not only practical, but ornamental as well.

Dress up your home office, and make useful and comfortable, appealing and relaxing!

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Jul 25 2011

Simple Tips for Giving the Interior of Your Home The “Wow” Factor

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

If you’re wanting to freshen up the look of your home, it can be difficult to know where to start.  Whether you’re wanting to just change things up a bit or give your home an entirely new look, it’s easy to accomplish.  The tips below will help make decorating your home simple and even fun!  When you aren’t even sure what style you want for decorating you home, these ideas will help guide you.

Consider the architectural style first

Is your home more of a cottage or country style, ranch, modern or Spanish?  Take the architectural style in to consideration before deciding what theme you want to use to decorate your home.

Quaint cottage style homes look great when decorated with floral and checked patterns in cotton and linen; the look is light and breezy.  For a Victorian style home, pastel colors combined with ferns, antique accents and furnishings, floral wallpaper and lots of lace brings the look together.

If your home has more of a modern or contemporary flair, think glass and chrome and colors such as tan, black and white.  In this style, less is more – keep things simple.  When you flow with the design of your home, you will find it’s much easier to create an appealing, pulled-together look.

Deciding on color

This can be the most difficult part for many home owners.  What colors should you use in decorating your home?  If you know what colors are your favorites, go with it.  Remember that warm colors are cozy and comfortable with shades such as golden yellow, brown shades, rusty reds; the colors you find in the fall.  Cool colors such as soft blue and green are relaxing and soothing.

If you really cannot decide upon a color scheme, take your inspiration from something that “pops” out at you such as a pillow, painting or rug.  When you see something that really strikes you with its color scheme, you will know it.  For a balance, beautiful look that isn’t overwhelming, stick with three colors, one of the three being the dominant color for the room.

Choosing furniture

Furnishing your home is expensive; therefore you want to choose pieces that will stand the test of time.  Choose furnishings in neutral colors that will work with nearly any color or design theme you may choose in the future when redecorating.  It’s much easier to update the look of your home by using new accents than it is by buying all new furniture every time you want to switch things up!

Also keep in mind the material the furniture is made of.  Wood and leather are perfect for country and western themed decor, as well as modern or contemporary if the leather has no wood on it.  Floral patterns are great for Victorian or cottage decor; chrome and glass blend perfectly with contemporary and abstract decorating.

Finish the look with accents

There is a simple rule of thumb to follow when decorating with accents and knick-knacks; stick to odd numbers.  One, three and five – a single large print or painting looks great on a wall.  For tables, use groups of three with one accent being tall, the next being medium and the third short.  This gives the room a balanced look and adds depth.

Additionally, make sure the accents you group together are consistent in color or texture.  Blue goes well with white or pale yellow, metal with metal, etc.

These easy tips will help you give your home that “wow” factor in no time!  Sometimes we make things harder than they really need to be; just go with your instincts, and you will create rooms that both your family and guests will love.

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Jul 24 2011

Decorating Your Home on a Budget – Easy Tips and Ideas That Give Your Home Personality

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

In today’s economic environment, many people simply do not have the money for a complete home remodel – but they are tired of the same boring look they have had for years.  Now, you can update the look of your home as often as you like, and the simple ideas below will help make it easy.  Whether you change things up only once every few years, or like to mix it up for every season, the tips below will give you some fresh new ideas.

Paint – cheap but effective

Paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to dramatically change the appearance of your home.  Today, people are using color on the walls in place of white or off-white shades.  Rich shades of honey, pumpkin and other earth tones give the walls an elegant look.  Trim baseboards and door facings in white or other contrasting colors to really set the walls off.

There are many uses for paint other than the walls.  Paint old furniture to give it a new look; stenciling, rag rolling and other techniques add texture and interest.

Make a small room or apartment appear larger

If your living room or apartment seems tiny, there are a couple of easy ways to make it appear much more open and spacious.

Mirrors can work magic for making small rooms look bright and airy.  Place a mirror directly opposite a window for a “sunny” appearance.  You can also place a mirror behind a lamp; the reflection of the light will make the room appear twice as bright in the evenings.

When it comes to furniture and accessories for smaller rooms, keep things light.  Light colored walls and furnishings give the room an open, airy look.  If you cannot afford new furniture and what you currently have is dark, today’s slipcovers fit like a dream and come in countless patterns, colors and designs.

Accessories add up – how to accessorize on a budget

All of those wall paintings and hangings, whatnots which sit on shelves and tables and other accents can really add up to a bundle of money.  Want to know to decorate without breaking the bank?

Art for the walls can be made of anything.  Photos of the family, pictures you have taken of nature, even the artwork of your children.  Or, get out a poster board and go wild with abstract patterns!  You can even cut out those beautiful pictures you often see in magazines, put a glass on top and frame it out.

Make the frames yourself!  This is easily accomplished with a few strips of wood.  The neat thing about this is that you can leave the wood smooth and stain it for an elegant look, or paint the wood then hammer it for a “weathered” effect.

Instead of costly accents to set upon coffee tables and shelves, think nature.  Beautiful stones, branches, dried flowers as well as pine cones and greenery make some of the most beautiful accents you can find.  Place several large bare branches in a large floor vase in a corner for a contemporary look.  Fresh flowers placed in an old cracked pitcher are the perfect touch in a country or cottage setting.

Candles, old books, quilts – there are plenty of imaginative things you can do to give your home a personal touch without spending a great deal of money.

These are just a few ideas that come to mind.  Get those creative juices flowing and you will come up with many of your own unique designs!

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Jul 23 2011

Living Room Decorating Tips – Make Your Home Comfortable and Inviting

Your living room is where your family relaxes after a day at school or work, but it is also the first impression visitors get of the interior of your home.  You want a living room that projects a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere – but you also want it to be beautiful and eye-catching.  This article offers tips and ideas for making your living room one that family and visitors alike will appreciate.

The easiest way to change the look – rearrange the furniture

The most obvious thing you can do to change up the look of your living room is to rearrange the furniture.  Even if your living room is small, there are things you can do to give it a different appearance.

Create cozy spaces by arranging your furniture at angles instead of in a square up against the walls.  If the room is small, move the furniture out about a foot from the wall, and place a narrow table behind the sofa, covered with plants or candles.

For larger living rooms, consider breaking up the space into areas designed for a specific purpose.  For example, you may want to arrange a love seat and two chairs around an area rug to create a space for visiting with guests.  If you have an avid reader in the family, design a special “reader’s area” in one corner by a window.

Use color to create a certain mood

Color has a psychological affect on people, and can change their mood.  Warm colors such as golden yellow, green, rustic shades of orange and red provide a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.  Cool shades of blue and gray are relaxing and soothing.  Bright orange and red combined with lemon yellow is energetic.  Black and white combined with bold red and gold is elegant and sophisticated.  Select your color scheme based upon the response you want.

Mirrors add space and brighten the room

This is an especially good idea if your living room is on the small side.  A large mirror, when placed across from a window, reflects the light and brightens up the room.  It will also reflect the items in the room, making it appear much larger than it actually is.

You can also create a “window” where there is none.  Find an old window at a flea market or perhaps even in your attic.  Clean it up, hang it on a wall, and hang curtains around it for a unique look that can be the focal point of the room.

Small furnishings create big impact

Small pieces of furniture such as a low sofa table or bench add a “lived-in” look to your living room without making it look cluttered.  Floral arrangements, baskets, small plants and candles add warmth and ambiance to the room.

While adding a few accessories and personal favorites to the room adds warmth, avoid too much clutter which will just make the room appear messy.

Put these tips to use in your living room, and experience a total transformation that is quick and easy to achieve.

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Jul 22 2011

Step by Step Guide to Decorating On a Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Today, nearly everyone is on a tight budget.  The economy is the worst it’s been in years, and buying all new decorating items for your home just isn’t possible.  Sure, you can go for one of those “buy now, pay later” deals, but what will that do to your already tight budget once the credit card charges start rolling in?  Probably not a smart move.

Here are a few tips for decorating on a budget.

Recognize your own decorating style before you do anything else.  If you do not know what your personal decorating style is, chances are that the things you do decide to spend money on will not work together or may be too trendy, going out of style as fast as it came in.

Determine your style, and spend those precious few dollars you do spend on decorating items that will stand the test of time.

Be innovative with those things you already have

Sometimes you can go shopping without leaving home!  Look in the storage shed, attic or basement; there are often old mirrors, tables or furniture that you may have forgotten about.

Also, be a bit creative and try items that are normally used in one room in another room of your home.  For example, if you have a china cabinet that really serves no purpose in your dining room, move it to a girl’s room and display dolls or other collectibles.

Give your existing furniture new life

Many people choose to re-purpose and recreate the furniture they already have.  Strip the finish and give something a new coat of paint.  Take it down to the bare wood and give it a rich luster with stain.  Stencil it for a worn cottage chic look – use your imagination!

You can also find slipcovers that are fitted, so give your sofa and love seat a new look.

Remember that window treatments can break the bank

Many window treatments are extremely expensive, and before you know it you spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the windows.

Look around; some of your windows may be facing in a direction that doesn’t need any cover at all.  Let the natural light come through!

Other windows may need only a blind or shade.  If you want to dress your windows up a bit, learn how to make valences yourself, or use sheets to create floor-length curtains that casually drape in a swag effect on the rod.

Good old paint is always a solution, and can change the look of the room more than anything else you do.  Paint the walls a warm shade and trim it out in white, or paint the walls a light shade and add baseboards and door facings trimmed out in bold, deep colors.

As you can see, there are endless things you can do to give your home a fresh new look without spending much money.  Get creative, be innovative.  By using your imagination, you will find that your home will look totally different with very little effort.

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