Feedback on houseplan

JSpannJanuary 28, 2014

We are anticipating building our home in the next year and this is our proposed plan! I would love any feedback/critique of it!
Presently I hope to make the great room a little larger (maybe extending to 20' in at least one direction) and re-work the island so it is perhaps an L-shape or 3 sided to fit 5-6 chairs. Also, that Den will likely become a bedroom and/or office space. I am also going to have a large pantry in that single garage - a walk-through from the kitchen. There is also a full walkout basement which we will finish out for living space.
We have 3 young boys and plan to add a 4th child to our family. This will be built on family land, so I want to 'get it right"!

Here is a link to the plan also:

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Only looking at ground floor, some of the noted dimensions seem screwy (the WIC and mud room). 10x11 is way small for a bedroom. Perhaps another window there. I suppose attached garages are considered necessary these days, but they really uglify a house. In the kitchen I'd move the garage forward, eliminate the upper cabinets at the left of the stove and put in a window.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 8:38PM
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Where are you building? If it's not somewhere very sunny, your great room will be dark. The covered deck will prevent the vast majority of natural light from entering the room.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 9:44PM
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I like the plan overall. The MB closet dimensions are wrong. I'd line up the bedroom with the den so you have a bit more room. I'd adjust the pantry to utilized the area under the stairs.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:01PM
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The mudroom is seriously undersized for a family with 4 kids. Where's the closet? I'd take ALL of the single car garage to incorporate pantry, mudroom, and laundry. And storage. Also, I think your great room and your dining nook are both too small for 6 people.

I count 16 exterior corners, not counting the garages. WAY too many. What's the roof look like? I'd extend all the walls out that I could to get rid of about half that many corners.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 10:14PM
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Loving all the feedback.

@jrrr youre right, that WIC is actually 11-10" by 5-1". Not sure why they got that so mangled on the website!

@zone4newby we are building in Tennessee and the back of the house will face East on a hill - lots of light, at least part of the day :) . I do worry some about the covered deck and we do not plan to screen it in because of this (will most likely screen the porch under it w/the walkout basement -- TN=bugs, you want a screened porch!)

@littlebug5 what size do you think I need for the great room/dining nook? I thought 16.5" for the nook would be an OK minimum (planning for a really long, rectangular table that would seat 8-10). We will swing that deck door out to keep space. Do you think 20' (rather than 17) would be sufficient in the great room?

I've included a picture of the house from the front ---

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 11:31PM
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jspann-our layout is pretty close to what you have (as far as placement of rooms in the back of the home).

What if you put the covered porch off of the dining room? We were really drawn to the covered porch off the great room but concerned with darkness so that is what we did. The dining room still has windows on 2 sides to bring in light and the great room has the windows on the one side unobstructed by the covered porch. We will screen also due to bugs. :) We don't have that 3rd car garage and that is the side of the house our covered porch is on which happens to be the South East corner for our lot.

I can tell you are great room is 16x19 and I really wish is was more like 19x19.......

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:16AM
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I'm going to suggest going to a site like room planner and trying to arrange furniture in your rooms. You can save the plan to your computer then upload it to room planner and use it as your background to start your layout. Pay close attention to the minimum requirements you need for aisles, distances between furniture etc, and measure your own furniture to size things correctly.
As far as the light in the room, can you put in a dormer or skylight in your great room? We have a full wrap around porch and put a vaulted ceiling in the great room with a big dormer window and we're getting great light in there. Did it on the front of the house too so that we're getting natural light into the foyer.
Re the big square great room, try the furniture arrangement before deciding to rearrange walls. We had a 20'x20' living room in our last house, and it was too big for a nice conversation area, yet too small for multiple furniture groupings. Give me a smaller rectangular space any day.
Re the bedroom sizes, These are small by GW standards, but it's easy to grow a plan to unwieldy size by making every room bigger. If you look at older houses those room sizes are not unusual. It just depends on how you want to live and your budget. I had an old Victorian for most of the years my kids were growing up. One lived in a bedroom that was quite literally a dormer, 6'x9'. Placing a bunk bed top with a desk under it was our creative way of making that room work. The other's room was 10x10 and he felt like he had a lot of room. If the kids need to have TV's and sitting areas and play spaces in their bedrooms then the rooms need to be bigger. If you want to bring your kids into the public spaces for TV and homework and playing, then keep the bedrooms small.

Where I do see a lot of wasted space is that area between your Kitchen island and the living area. As you play with furniture arrangement on the Room Planner you'll find that's dead space. You might want to think about moving your island out a bit, giving you wider aisles in the work area of your kitchen and reconfiguring the shape of the island.
In fact, you might just take the kitchen over to the kitchen forum for input.

Here is a link that might be useful: RoomPlanner

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 8:50AM
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FWIW, my daughter's bedroom is 10'x11'6", and it works fine. I think it would be too small if I felt teenagers couldn't sleep in twin beds, but a twin works fine for her, so there's room for a bed, dresser, desk, bookshelf and a comfy chair to read in.

She likes to "watch tv" on her laptop sitting on her bed, and often does her homework up there too.

There are decorating ideas I've seen on houzz that require more space, but I don't think she needs more space for her day to day routine.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 10:14AM
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At first glance, I like it. It isn't over-sized like so many plans. I do see some tweaks that could make it better though:

- The great room is definitely under-sized. I think you'll be fine if you extend it out toward the back yard. You'll almost certainly have the TV on the wall shared with the master bedroom, which means your furniture placement is easy. I'd definitely lose that current pantry, which would open up some space between the rooms.

- What you're calling a mudroom is a hallway. If you're going to use the single car garage as a pantry (which I think is brilliant), I'd use the current laundry as a mudroom and bump the laundry back into the garage area. I'd have two doors opening into the laundry -- one from the new mudroom, one from the pantry.

- The one thing negative about the garage-turned-pantry is that it prevents you from having great light in the kitchen. As such, I wouldn't skimp on windows across the back of the house.

- The dining nook will be a fine size, especially if you do a built-in banquette against the back wall.

- I think you're going to lose the dining nook's door to the exterior (and the master bedroom's door) when you enlarge the great room, so do add a door to the great room.

- Since guests will have access to the secondary bathroom, why spend the money on a powder room? I'd do away with the powder room and call it a "found closet". Perhaps that's the spot to have a "locking closet", something all parents need. Don't install a doorknob. Instead, install a lock. Perfect spot for you to lock up things you don't want inquisitive boys to find - Christmas gifts, guns and ammo, the video game controller, whatever you might want to keep secure.

- I think a 10x11bedoom is fine for a child. You'll find a wide range of opinions on size on this thread, ranging from "you only sleep there anyway" to "gotta have space for a queen-sized bed, a walk-in-closet and a personal bathroom for every child". Measure it off and decide for yourself.

- I would not pay for a tray ceiling in a child's bedroom.

- I'd want to add bit of width to the master closet. As it is, you're using all the space for a walk-in, but you're only getting the storage of a reach-in. I'd rather have hidden-away storage space rather than bedroom space.

- I think your master'll be comfortable with a queen-sized bed, but I'm not sure it'll support a king.

- I'd want a couple more windows in the master bedroom.

- I like that the master bath is compact, but the vanity really isn't big enough to support two sinks. And is that a storage tower scrunched in by the sinks? I'd lose one sink (which you'll never miss anyway) and put the storage tower in the corner, where it'll give you loads of convenient space right by the sink. Is that a pocket door into the master bath? I'd get tired of that.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:13PM
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With bedrooms on corners of the house, I'd certainly want windows on both outside walls!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:23PM
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One thing I'd suggest is, if possible, put the fireplace on a flat wall, Preferably recessed into the wall). The diagonal fireplaces make furniture placement awkward and difficult. The whole diagonal fireplace thing is very odd to me.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 12:41PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'd reverse the single and two-car garages. You're seeing the front facade in a flat plane, but in RL, it will stick out far beyond the front door so guests pulling into the drive won't know where to go. The front door should be most prominent on the front facade and apparent to guests.

There's something awkward about this plan that doesn't seem to work for a family of does not seem to flow well, and it seems to have not enough room in the most used spaces and a lot of sq ft to things like hallway. I'm not sure that the PR will ever be used given it's location...most likely everyone will head to the main bath as it's nearest the FR. I'd suggest spending some time "walking" through a day in this house in your head for you and your family and see if it really makes sense.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:39AM
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First off, THANK YOU again, everyone! This website is such a gem, I feel blessed to have found it. I really really appreciate everyone taking time to chime in !

@Autumn.4 I too am worried about the light in the great room, although we will absolutely not be skimping on windows, and we will be in a really sunny spot (no trees near the house, none on that side - and at the top of a hill). My husband wondered if adding sunlights to the deck roof would help… does that seem like a good idea… or dumb? Haha He doesn’t want to give up the deck area there because he loves the idea of our bedroom connecting to it. I am not entirely convinced we will use that door all that much, particularly if we don’t screen it. He doesn’t think we would use the porch to the side of the dining/back of the garage because he thinks it would be “too out of the way” -and wants the deck to feel more like an extension of the house for social reasons- hence why he also wants to keep it in the middle. I am really undecided! We plan to do a 9 or 10 ft ceiling in the Great Room (I prefer this to a vault) and we also toyed with the idea of some of those sun tunnels in the great room? The kitchen will be white… so I am hoping that will help keep it bright back there.

Thanks for the RoomPlanner link, @mlweaving_Marji ! I hadn’t found that software in the my search and it seems much easier to use. I think you’re right that extending the greatroom out the back a few feet (3-4….?) will give me room I need for a walkway and comfortable, large conversation area. We will definitely be placing the fireplace on the MB Closet wall and put the TV to the side of it.

We are in the camp of “a bedroom is for sleeping” and would prefer to encourage our family to be out in public spaces... so, I do think the bedroom sizes will suite us. Most likely the bedroom upstairs will be a babies room anyway, my plan is to stick all the crazy, smelly boys in the basement ;) Which is why I don’t worry too much about this house fitting 6 -- don’t forget that the basement will be finished… w/ 2-3 bedrooms, a rec room, a bathroom, and storage, etc. We might even be able to get a bonus out of the space above one of the garages, but not sure yet. We don’t want a HUGE house, but we want to fit :) I like the idea of building down rather than up or out.

I really like the suggestion of utilizing garage/pantry space to extend the laundry room if desired. I am going to prob have our cabinet guy mock-up that room & the built ins for our “mudroom/hallway” so I can get a feel for if the size will suit us or not. I don’t want loads of crap to end up there, but do want bins for shoes, hooks for backpacks/coats, etc.

@AnnieDeighnaugh Ah, the garages ! I am totally torn on this also. I HATE that it protrudes. My issue… I cant decide if that’s more offensive aesthetically or if having the double car garage on the side making the house not as symmetrical will bother me more. What do you think? Anyone? I like the idea of a double on that side though so I can pull in next to the pantry - and having a small pocket door to pass groceries through. Cool, huh?

I do like the Powder Bath… we will be coming in and out of that entry (doubt we’ll ever use our front door) and I like the idea of having a potty that close, rather than needing to walk across the house to get to one. Although, with boys, they’re just as happy peeing outside :)

I think the Master Bath and Kitchen need some serious TLC; I think I will take them to the forums to see what suggestions I can there. I am hoping making a huge island - something like half a hexagon - will help use that space better and use up some of that dead space between the GR & Kitchen.

P.S. is there a way to tag people in a post? because my method doesnt appear to be working :)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 10:52AM
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One of the bedrooms in our house is not quite 10'x12'. My 19-yr-old son has been in there since he was 6. He has a loft bed with a comfy chair underneath; a small desk, an armoire, and a bookcase. He doesn't have a huge amount of floor space, but he's comfortable in there.

Our other bedrooms are 12' x 14'. Ours fits a king bed comfortably; our son has plenty of room for a loft bed, large desk, chest of drawers, and a foosball table in his.

I would most definitely put sun tunnels or skylights in the great room. My Mom's house has a covered deck outside the living room, and even though it faces south and there is a wall of windows, one needs to turn on a light to read in that room, at any time of day.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 11:42AM
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If you'll mostly be coming in/out through the mudroom entrance, I'd put a man door somewhere on the garages or otherwise somehow add a door so that the kids can get in/out of the house without opening the big garage door every time.

The suggestion of a room planner is great. It looks like you'll have wasted space between the kitchen and great room so the kitchen might function better if re-configured. Post on the kitchens forum for great layout help.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:01PM
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My advice is to put more windows wherever you can. We have just gotten to the blocking stage, and as soon as I walked through it, I knew I had missed a few spots for windows. I have been mentally berating myself all week. You can never go wrong with natural lighting. I see several rooms with no access to exterior walls, such as guest bath, powder room, mud room, laundry room. It seems the plan could be reworked to get a few of those rooms w/ at least one wall for a window. I would consider sky lights also in the great room if you do a vaulted ceiling.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 8:30PM
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I would make the dining nook deeper, the 16'6 width is good but I would want it to be at least a min of 11' or 12' deep not the 8'8 on your plan. Our last house had same layout and the kitchen was aprox 15'x15' with an 15'x15' dining nook with a bump out for the buffet. It was the perfect size for our family with several large teenage boys. Lots of room to walk around people sitting at the table.

Our new house that we are now building has same layout and dimensions except due to costs we are making the dining nook 16'x12. I'm hoping the loss of sq ft won't be too bad, but I would definitely if you can increase your space if you can.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 9:31PM
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After the addition, what is the maximum square footage you want?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:04PM
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Attached are a couple of possibilities (PDF). If you give me specific details about your family needs, I can adjust the plan.
If you like the idea of a mudroom door to the exterior, I can easily add one insted the mudroom window (Option B). Altough the kitchen counter is not continuous in option A, the kitchen is a little bit bigger and the island is larger.

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor Plan PDF

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:29PM
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Ok, seriously naf_naf, I keep just looking at these and saying "wow".... "wow".... out loud. haha I have no idea what you used to create those, but I LOVE it. I have such a hard time visualizing changes like that.

I'd like to stay under 2000 on the main, although increasing the great room and dining nook a bit is essential and we will just 'do it', regardless. I did the mockup of the dining area like xc60 recommended and I definitely need to make that nook deeper, 10-11' at least.

I am really enjoying the option B you created. You even have my seating for 6 on the island! :) Do you know what square footage that would come to?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:24PM
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Also ... I would like to have two couches & two chairs in the great room... how much more would we need to extend it to get that, do you think? Or could I get a couch at the top of that seating arrangement? I thought 20' deep (extending towards the deck) would do it, but now I'm wondering, seeing your mock up....

My husband also really likes to have the garages connect each other, if possible...

You are amazing. Thank you so much for helping!

This post was edited by JSpann on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 23:16

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:30PM
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naf_naf -- Would you mind doing this for me if I sent you my plans? I have them "to scale" 1/8"= 1' - but would like to see it the way you are able to do it.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Really like the option B naf_naf made. A lot of really great changes, especially not walking thru the kitchen to get to mudroom...

I think you can easily get two couches and two chairs. All the designers recommended this layout for ours. Our room was I believe 17x18 approximately. You can't really tell from the photo but there was lots of room on either side of the chairs and couches to get into the living room space. I wish I had my old blue prints and better pictures to show you. Your new ideas for your plans sound like they are making a great home!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:15PM
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Thanks for the photo and input, xc60! I really appreciate your time. That is exactly the kind of arrangement I am wanting.

This is making me so excited to build! Too bad we prob won't start till early 2015, but hey, we will be ready (... Hopefully) :)

Naf_naf, are you an architect? Do you draw plans for a living?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:24PM
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Yes you can send them to me (email).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 9:39AM
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I am glad you like it.
I used AutoCAD 2014, but I consider that a sketch.
The floor plan as shown are both 2,060 s.f.
It can be reduced to about ,2000 s.f. but keep in mind that not all reductions lower the price accordingly.
As xc60 said, you can perfectly fit 2 couches and 2 chairs in the great room as is.
The two garages can be connected.
Thank you for your nice words.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:11AM
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I agree that adjusting down 60 s.f. may not be worth losing some of the functionality/space that exists in the plan. I also see dollar signs as we get higher than the original 1840 :) haha But, just increasing the great room and the dining area (that were absolutely necessary), I am sure, added that extra sq ft - right?

I emailed you the few adjustments I had in mind - mostly about the porch (we'll keep the screened area off the great room, make sliding or out-swinging double doors off the great and lose the doors from the dining nook). I also really like the adjustments you made to the master bedroom suite - the bathroom and closet needed tlc!

Thanks (again) so much for your help!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 10:28AM
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Yes, great work, NafNaf! You do see such innovative ideas!

It does look like it "gained" square footage; however, it looks more comfortable.

Is the pantry/garage remaining an actual . . . garage? I was seeing it become "a room". It'd be nicer as a room, even if it wasn't heated. Nicer to go out and get a can of tomatoes without feeling like you're going outside. But cheaper to stay a garage with storage.

I personally don't see the point in having the two garages connect. Why does it matter so much to your husband? Perhaps I'm missing something.

If you anticipate the study will one day be a bedroom, I think I'd want to keep the door "in the hallway" so that it's more private and nearer the bathroom. Or, if you're uncertain, you could keep it angled towards the entryway (which is better for a study), but pay close attention to where the wiring, etc. falls around the studs . . . the idea being that IF you one day wanted to move the door, it'd be easy and inexpensive.

I thought the dining area was fine "as it was", but more space is nicer. You don't think you'd have a problem with people being "trapped" in that far-right corner, do you?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 10:12AM
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One other thing I would consider changing on the plan naf_naf made would be the location of the sinks and counter in the master ensuite. Or adding a pocket door as the layout of the sinks and the door are what we have in our rental and I always find myself opening the door into my husband as he stands at the first sink. He doesn't like it too much, lol.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:36PM
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Yes, I am seeing the pantry as a room - a walk in from the end of that right row of cabinets. Not sure if it will be a door or be a 'secret' door that appears to be a cabinet. I am working on what size I really want it to be so we can work on placement of it. From seeing other posts on GW, I will plan to ventilate it for sure.

I am not entirely certain why he wants them to connect so bad either :) It was a "BUT, if I do need to go to the other garage, I dont want to walk through the mudroom to get there" response. Naf_naf actually already connected them for me, I think it was a pretty pain-free adjustment.

That den/office/bedroom will likely just be an office. We originally planned for it to start a bedroom (until we had the cash to finish out bedrooms in the basement) - but as my husband's business is growing, we realize we will probably need that to be an office immediately. He will likely frame it so a doorway can be made in the hallway later, in case we change our minds or something.

I am not particularly worried about being trapped in the corner in the dining area, since there seems to be good clearance all around... and I really like having the great room and kitchen snugged up to loose some of that dead space. As of right now, it seems like the best option in order to keep the dimensions I need/desire for each space. I worry about making the kitchen TOO big (=$$$$) I want the 'cabinets to the ceiling" look, so getting that kitchen space too large will become an issue w/my dreams. haha :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 2:42PM
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Yes, that master bathroom... ! I think we will end up not putting a tub in there at all, actually.... but I am really stumped on how I'd configure it best without one. Seems like the window always ends up over the tub. Any thoughts on how to rearrange that would be happily received :)

For the walk in pantry, I was just fiddling w/room planner... I have determined it needs to be 5' wide, depth is to be determined (but, it is a walk-in)... if you were me, would you put the entry at the end of the kitchen (next to dining nook)... or maybe somehow in the middle? I was just thinking that for accessing my pantry, it might be better to access it mid-kitchen... ? I'm going to have to think on this. ...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 3:12PM
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I'm late getting back to this thread - I had made a comment much earlier about the dining area being too small.

It's not the 16'5" measurement that's a problem - it's the 8'8". I just don't feel that's wide enough. When you get a family size table, and chairs on both sides, that 8'8" is going to feel really small. But you may have addressed that problem by now.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Naf_naf - I just had to chime in to say the changes you made to that plan are amazing. So much talent and kindness here. Really cool!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:03PM
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Agree 110%, Imccarly.... SO kind and so much better than anything I had envisioned.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 9:19PM
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Thank you for the nice words!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:23AM
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