...because home doesn't happen overnight.

little things 1

With the major renovations completed, we’ve been able to turn our attention to smaller projects here and there. Most of these pesky projects are leftovers from bigger projects. We never truly finished some projects because we let minor details fall by the wayside in favor of: pretending we did them, feeding the kids, going outside, sleeping, working on our fitness, drinking wine, watching “New Girl,” smothering all the edible things in Trader Joe’s cookie butter, reading, showering, singing karaoke to “All About That Bass,” petting the cat, talking with our faces, (insert any action or inaction here). Whatever. It happens. And when we finally do get around to tackling these measly projects, they don’t seem blog-worthy.

But lump all those lil’ effers together and, BAM!, blog post. At least, that’s how I see this playing out. I don’t know. I might be wrong. Let’s give it a go anyway, shall we?

new fans 1

new fans 2

We replaced the ceiling fans. We loved the look of the first fans (seen here) but they hummed and whirred so loudly. In the fans’ defense, they were listed as commercial fans and we overlooked the possibility that they might not be ideal for a residential setting. The other problem we had with them was the fact that, due to unique installation requirements, the canopies didn’t mount flush against the ridge beam so there was a visible gap.

Last month Steve said, “All I want for Christmas is new ceiling fans.” Santa came through with these plus coordinating downrods. (Apparently, Steve made the nice list.) Installation was uneventful which is always a good thing when it comes to DIY. But the best thing? They are quiet. Like, silent. The canopies are flush with the ridge beam. No gap! And we really like the aesthetic. The fans are matte white and super sleek. Functionally, they’re better too. They’re slightly larger than the previous fans and a better fit for the room. They also have reverse switches at the motor so we can change the rotation based on our needs. (Clockwise in winter; counter-clockwise in summer.) The only thing that would make them more awesome is if they were self-cleaning. Someone please invent a ceiling fan that cleans itself.

trim 1

trim 2

trim 3

We installed and painted trim around the fireplace surround. After painting the brick surround and building & painting the TV wall, we lived with gaps at the mantel-wall and brick-floor seams for several months. We added trim last spring (that can’t be right?!) and I just got around to painting it a few weeks ago with the same paint I used on the surround. It’s Benjamin Moore white dove, semi-gloss finish, mixed in Clark + Kensington’s primer + paint in one. It’s really, really good.

painted man door 1

Notice anything else?

painted man door 4

I have been cropping out the man door to the garage for years. It’s solid wood but was orange-y and drafty. I kept an old towel pushed up against the bottom to prevent cold air from blowing in but you can imagine how (in)effective my efforts were.

We reworked the door frame and added a new threshold, weatherstripping, hardware and trim. I painted the door and trim when I had the paint out for the fireplace trim. Now the mudroom / dining room isn’t nearly as cold as it used to be but I still wish we would have added radiant floor heating.

painted man door 3

I added a double hook to the back of the door for my purse and reusable shopping bags. The three wall hooks in the mudroom have been overtaken by the kids’ coats, hats and backpacks. And a certain toddler likes to play “Quick! Take and hide all the things in mom’s purse!” So this seemingly trivial hook is, in all actuality, a game-changer. There’s a set of key hooks to the left of the door which recently caught the attention of said toddler, ifyaknowwhatimean.

You might also notice that we rotated the sisal rug in the living room. See the corner in the image above? That corner used to live over by the media cabinet and the corner that was here (now by the media cabinet) sported a perpetual roll that drove Steve mad. (You can catch a glimpse of it in the seventh image of this post.) He tried everything. It was comical. If you can’t beat ’em, rotate ’em.

kitchen plinth

Finally, FINALLY!, we added a piece of filler plinth to the corner in the kitchen. (You can see the gap here.) This was one of those minor details that we overlooked when we installed the cabinets. We bought the plinth shortly after “finishing” the kitchen but didn’t put it up until, oh, THREE YEARS LATER. We still need to caulk at the wall seam. According to my highly technical estimates, that should happen in 2018. Don’t worry. It will be a blog post.

Have you been putting off little finishing projects too? What’s your excuse? It can’t be any worse than ours.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

67 Comments

29.January.2015

We are getting ready to rent out our house (since we can’t afford to sell it yet) and are realizing just how many projects remain – time to dig in and git-r-done!

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29.January.2015

We renovated our entire kitchen this past fall, DIY style. It is completely* done! It feels so good to say that, because like most DIY projects it dragged on…because we have a life.
The * because completey is not quite accurate. Literally the only thing left to do is fill the nail holes and touch up the paint on the newly installed base boards. We finished the rest of the kitchen months ago, but can’t seem to get around to this final task. Why is it that the easiest parts always get put off for ages? We relocated cabinets and plumbing, installed the new backsplash, painted cabinets and walls, installed new light fixtures all ourselves, no problem. But patching a few nail holes, can’t find the time :)

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replied on January 29th, 2015

I know! It’s like we only enjoy challenging projects because of the pride we feel after doing them. But painting trim? Yawn. Anyone can do that.

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29.January.2015

Where did you acquire the down rods for the fans?
These are exactly what I’ve been looking for!

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replied on January 29th, 2015

I’ll have to check with Steve. He’s out of town for work right now but I’ll let you know what I find out!

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I love this post! We’ve been restoring our 1902 house for almost 2 years now, and I struggle with not always having a big project to share on the blog. But those little things are what add up to a complete house….or at least a complete room. Loving all the changes you’ve made!

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29.January.2015

Ahem…it’s “All About that Bass”, not “Base” (referring to the bass drum) :)

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Fixing now! I hate typos.

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29.January.2015

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Every item you mentioned, I hadn’t noticed before. That was very comforting to me, because your house is perfection, and I notice the little details at my own home and let them bug me. :) I’ll fix them- one day.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Oh my, please don’t think my house is perfect. It’s easy to showcase the good / finished parts in photos online but in real life there are always little things bugging me. Today it was the curtains in my bedroom that I accidentally shrunk :(

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29.January.2015

4th pic from the bottom…the Buddha face reflected in the mirror caused me a startle! :)

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replied on January 29th, 2015

I was wondering if anyone would notice that. You win! haha.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Hence the “notice anything else” comment. Was wondering what you meant by that!

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replied on February 1st, 2015

I was talking about the door in the short hallway between the great room and dining room, but I wondered if anyone would catch that Buddha face! ;)

29.January.2015

Every one of these items would have made a blog post, it’s all part of making a house a home. It is a great feeling to start knocking the small details off the list, good for you. :) Uh oh guess those keys will find a new home or they may be lost ha.

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29.January.2015

Ahhh…. can I tell you how much of a relief this is to read! We are constantly working on projects and 75% of the time it is the last little details that I put off forever! And to make it worse – I’ll leave the supplies out so I can ‘finish’ it, but they sit there for weeks, or months until I put them away, without finishing the project. Our latest project – we made, painted and installed a barn door on our guest bedroom. Except when we hung the door my husband measured incorrectly, so the door drug on the floor. We had to take the hardware off, trim 1/4 of an inch off the top and bottom and then flipped the door upside down and re installed the hardware. The door is now hung, but there are 1 inch holes on the bottom where the hardware was initially. All I have to do is fill them, lightly sand and paint – but have I even started it….nooooo…. AND we just finished up making bunk beds for our kids. We got them set up in the room, primed and painted but when the bed people put the box springs & mattresses on they rubbed some of the paint off – I just need to touch it up. The paint (and paint brush) is sitting there, for 3 weeks already….. maybe this weekend, maybe.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

We do the same thing! As if having the paint and brushes staring us down every time we walk past will somehow spark our interest. But mostly it just makes us feel worthless.

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29.January.2015

i love this post. Made me laugh. I can’t seem to get inspired to get inspired to post because our life is filled with projects like these. Or you know, Downton Abbey.

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29.January.2015

We have a garage door in our kitchen that leads to garage that is an eye sore. Question, is your door that leads to the garage steel? I’m thinking of planking my walls on the left and right of the door. Do you think it would be possible to Incorporate the door and plank also?

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replied on January 29th, 2015

The man door is original to the house. It’s solid wood. I totally think you can do planked walls with a steel door. Maybe paint them both the same color to blend things?? Although, I do love me a contrasting door from time to time too.

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29.January.2015

Those finishing projects are a pain, aren’t they? I have at least one in every room. When I finish them, though, I realize how much mental energy I have used upon walking into a room and thinking, “Dang, I really must get those nail holes filled, etc.” Feels so good to actually get them done.

I would pay $1000 for a self-cleaning ceiling fan. I would.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Oh, that’s so true! The time I’ve wasted thinking about those lil’ projects probably adds up to more time than it actually took me to complete them!! That’s some great insight and inspiration right there. I’m going to keep that in mind next time I use the “another day” reasoning.

I would pay all the money for self-cleaning ceiling fans, toilets and floors.

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29.January.2015

Just wanted to say that I read your blog for the real-life stuff as well as the pretties (and there’s plenty of eye candy). I appreciate the words as much as the pictures, so for me, these little house tweaks are all blog-worthy. There’s something deeply satisfying about checking ANYthing off a to-do list. Enjoy. :D

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replied on January 29th, 2015

You’re the sweetest. x

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29.January.2015

Ha, this post made me laugh because it’s TRUTH ! That last little detail we put off for years! Same here, it all seems so “non-blog worthy” but then BAM all those little improvements add up to real things that do matter. Your home looks lovely as always!
xo
Kate

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Aw, thanks Kate! Glad to know I’m not the only one.

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29.January.2015

are you kidding me? We have lived in our house for almost 3 years (in April) and i have two things up on the walls – with tape. The excuse I keep telling myself is that the furniture isn’t right yet.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Bahahahaha!

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29.January.2015

​I feel as if the little projects get put off because I am so indecisive about actually keeping things the way they are so if I finish that last step it will be permanent? I know I know, lame excuse! I have slowly been knocking my to-do list off this month and if nothing else but personal satisfaction comes from it then so be it.

Off the subject but thank you for being the reason why I painted my kitchen back splash black. I lusted after your black walls for a long time and finally bit the bullet last weekend. I could not be happier with the results!

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replied on January 29th, 2015

A black backsplash sounds awesome. Just today, I had a hankering to paint my bedroom black. Man, I love black walls.

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29.January.2015

I’ve been putting off painting the door and trim to my master bedroom… and I’ll confess that I don’t have any plans to finish it any time soon!

I think this is my first time commenting but I’ve been following along for a while. Love the blog and your style! Thank you for providing ample inspiration to me!

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29.January.2015

We do the same thing. I think it’s just a boredom thing. Or more of a whiny thing. Planning is exciting, demo is frightening, seeing the transformation is rewarding… and then I just don’t want to do it any more. We have nailed in trim, unfilled, uncaulked, unpainted. We have transition pieces for the doorways of the bedrooms we laid hardwood flooring in, just have to cut and install, but it’s been almost two years now. Things are half painted, half organized, framed but not hung, etc. I’m due in June, so maybe nesting to the rescue? I wonder if there is a “Oops, I started a bunch of projects but now there is going to be a baby and I’m panicking” handy man service. . .

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replied on January 29th, 2015

You’re so right! Those final touches (caulking, painting, touching up paint, etc.) are borrrrrrrring.

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29.January.2015

Thank you for a little inspiration. We moved into our home last summer and then dealt with some kitchen remodeling for far too long. I am trying to get motivated to do some of the jobs I can handle on my own, such as painting rooms, touching up doors that I had to plane, fixing some trim and so on.and on. and on. I think I am going to tackle one area of the house next week; our master bed and bath. Finish the painting and replace the blinds. If I can just get that one space done, maybe I can tackle the next project. In an older house, it’s kind of overwhelming to decide where to start. But if you can tackle the whole house, maybe I can at least finish some painting.

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replied on January 29th, 2015

You can do it!

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I’m not sure I could have lived that long the man door! Glad you fixed it!

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29.January.2015

When we moved into our house THIRTEEN YEARS AGO we painted most of the house within the first year because we hated the flat paint the builder used. After we finished the kitchen, there was a little bit of paint left in the roller pan so my husband swiped the roller across the mud room walls a few times to use it up, since we intended to do that room next. The swipes are still there!

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Oh my, does it drive you nuts?

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Haha, the sad thing is I stopped noticing it! And now that we’ve lived here a while, and my kids have mostly moved out of the house, the rooms aren’t functioning well for us any more and we’re planning a renovation. So the mud room will be redone before we ever got around to painting it the first time. At least the swipes will be gone :)

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replied on January 29th, 2015

That’s so funny but I can totally see that happening! At least the swipes have a story :)

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29.January.2015

Thanks for continuing to inspire me! We recently tackled a few small things in the Master (got my husband there reluctantly as he is intimidated by anything remotely handy…BUT he’s a great cook, so it works :]) and it has done wonders for my mood. Next up the basement reno (major) which I hope will one day look as good as your place.

Question for you: you mention wishing you’d put in floor heating in the dining/mud room – did you ever consider switching out your forced air heating for radiant in-floor or hot water radiators throughout the whole house? That’s what I’d like to do chez moi….

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replied on January 29th, 2015

We never considered radiators. We did briefly consider radiant in-floor heating but it would have been such a huge undertaking at the time and we had enough to do as it was. Maybe our next house? Haha.

Adding new weatherstripping around the man door has really helped warm up the mudroom but the tile is still cold to bare feet. We’re really glad we converted the fireplace to gas. We use it almost daily in the winter. I close the bedroom doors during the day, turn on the ceiling fans to push the hot air down and it’s toasty so the furnace doesn’t kick on.

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29.January.2015

Kudos to completing mini-projects! My 2.5 yo would love access to the keys. I immediately envisioned–hanging out of my tall toddler’s reach/above the molding–a consealed jewelry-type/thinner-than-medicine-cabinet frame / mirror with keys on hooks inside. Love the progress, and always enjoy your posts!

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29.January.2015

Dana, I could copy and paste every single word from the first paragraph and sign it “me”. We have finished major updates a year or so ago. As far as the “little things”: I don’t think it is boredom, it is life! Kids! (I have four). Husband has a job outside home, so his time home is limited. If you make the finishing touches a priority, then something else has to give– time with kids?

It does feel awfully good to cross small projects off the list though. Patience (note to self).

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replied on January 29th, 2015

Great point. Working on houses takes so. much. time. So does raising a family. Houses can wait. Kids don’t. They grow up regardless.

As much as Steve and I love a good reno, we have really enjoyed spending more time with our kids (and each other) over the past few months as the projects die down. We still talk about pipe dreams but we’re enjoying the work we’ve done thus far.

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30.January.2015

I switched out all of the interior door knobs/hinges last year except for my son’s room…because the only time I can get anything done is when he is sleeping and then I can’t have the door open #lifewithatoddler Finally I delegated this task to my husband while I took the kiddo with me grocery shopping. Inspiring idea! It only took a year for me to think of that strategy. I blame sleep deprivation.

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replied on February 1st, 2015

Oh, sleep deprivation. I hear you. #mommybrain

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30.January.2015

Hi there, I was wondering, where did you get your brown tote/purse? I love the color and shape. I have been searching for a bag. I was thinking of purchasong the Madewell transport tote, but am not sure how the bottom will hold up. P.S. I love your home also. I don’t know how you keep it so neat, and edited with 3 children. I have two little boys and I could organize and edit all day and never have my house in order!

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replied on February 1st, 2015

The bag is from Fount, a small business here in Ohio. It was my birthday present to myself after drooling over it for a year. It wasn’t cheap but I don’t think I’ll buy another purse for a decade. It’s that good.

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30.January.2015

This product might help with your rug corner! http://www.amazon.com/Curl-Stop-Anti-Curling-System-Corners/dp/B005BYNCZK#

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replied on February 1st, 2015

Thanks for the link!

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UGH I have SOO many little things to finish! Trim to paint, holes in the wall to patch, etc. etc. etc. Well done getting all of those done! It’s so easy to procrastinate on the little things!

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30.January.2015

What brand of shades are in the boys room. Also, what are the measurements.

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replied on February 1st, 2015

They are the petite rustique woven shades from Overstock…54″ wide.

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01.February.2015

This sentence:

But lump all those lil’ effers together and, BAM!, blog post.

Except I’m going to pretend like you said the real word and it’s going to make me like you even more.

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replied on February 1st, 2015

:)

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01.February.2015

We were living in a shitty rental when we bought our home 3 years ago (in April) We longed soo much to get out of where we were, we painted our whole home (not a huge feat- its only 13x8m all up :-/ ) and replaced vinyl flooring and added a wall and tiled our tiny bathroom, along with adding a wood fireplace, etc etc in 9 weeks…. (we hired a handyman for tiling) I knew after reading YHL, Bower Power and House*Tweaking that I would be painting all my trim in bright white so I just slapped on the wall paint (this was before I knew about angled paint brushes) Long story short…..3 years later, I’ve had the correct trim paint for 12 months…and none of my trim is painted :(
I try and talk myself into little sections at a time, but then I don’t know where to stop, so I say oh I’ll do to there, which ends up being half the house and then the thought of it makes me tired so I don’t do it!!!!! Someone push me!! hahaha

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replied on February 1st, 2015

If you fly me to Australia, I’ll help you! Sounds like a fun girls’ night project to me. ;)

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02.February.2015

Although this is a really tiny detail, I think it is my favorite. The added and painted trim around the fireplace seems to add so much character to the space. Personally, I think white trim is the answer to everything. Great reno.

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04.February.2015

Can I ask where you got the hook for the back of your door? I love it!

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replied on February 4th, 2015

Lowe’s!

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04.February.2015

Uuugggh dont even get me started with the little things. So. Many. Little. Projects. Theyll get done eventually. Like painting and adding plinth to our kitchen cabinets so my feet will stop freezing while im standing at the sink. :(

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07.February.2015

It can be as bad! I made a vent cover for a non-standard previously disgusting cold air return. 2 years and a second child later and it still isn’t attached to the wall.

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replied on February 7th, 2015

Totally acceptable in my book ;)

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11.February.2015

Ha! This sounds so familiar…we finished our IKEA kitchen remodel in early September. We still do not have:
1. window trim back around the windows
2. much of the floor molding installed
3. the jerry-rigged over-the-fridge cabinet my husband built (because Akurum didn’t fit) still isn’t painted

and there is lots more. Maybe we’ll have it done in a year…maybe not!!!

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02.March.2015

Where did you get the black and white chevron poufs/floor pillows?

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replied on March 9th, 2015

West Elm but I’ve seen similar ones at Target for less.

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