Second version floorplans (hopefully last)

CamGNovember 30, 2012

Hi everyone,
First, I cannot express how much this forum has helped my wife and I over the past year. A very sincere thanks to all of you.

Second, here are our hopefully near-final plans, and once we make any necessary tweaks early next week, I will be taking them to my builder for a detailed bid.

For those who haven't read my numerous threads, my wife and I have a 1 year-old son and a daughter due in April. We hope to have a large family, and are designing this house accordingly. It will have an unfinished basement with the rough-ins and egress windows necessary for two additional bedrooms and a full bath.

I'm leaving a lot of built-ins for later--the laundry room will be roughed in for a sink, and I will put it and counters in later. The mudroom will later get cabinets and a long bench across the front wall. I will probably immediately build a 1' deep shelf along the interior wall of the pantry, but leave a counter and extra fridge along the other wall for later. (To see what the full built-ins plans will look like, click here and scroll down a bit to Summerfield's plans.)

A couple of things still aren't perfect--I need to check with the builder to determine the exact height between floors for the stair rise/run, so it; I need to move the kitchen island another 6" towards the dining room to make a 4' clearance between it and the cabinet to the right; and the driveway is too narrow, it is going to extend to the side of the porch and equally far on the other side. We will likely add a gas fireplace midway on the windowless exterior wall of the living room. (That side of the house is generally windowless because it will likely be about 10' from my future neighbor's garage.)

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

First floor:

Second floor:

Note: The scale of the second floor got off when I uploaded the picture. The exterior walls of each floor (other than bump out and garage) are the same on both floors (38'x31').

This post was edited by CamG on Fri, Nov 30, 12 at 18:50

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I love your plan! My only concern is the door between the mudroom and the pantry-- I can see why you added it, but I'm not sure it's worth it with the way it messes with the traffic flow in the mudroom. As you have things now, if someone is headed to the kitchen, they're going to stop in front of the door and everyone behind them will have to squeeze past (imagining your large family coming in from the garage). I'd be tempted to omit the door and wall that separate the pantry and mudroom, and plan on filling the pantry space with storage anyhow.

That tiny detail aside, I really like it.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 8:35PM
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Going to agree with zone4 on this one. Love the plan, but the door from the mudroom to the pantry doesn't seem necessary as you already have fairly close access to the kitchen near the steps. By getting rid of the door you could get more pantry storage. Maybe add a locker there and maybe a closet to the empty space to the left?? Just some options. Maybe you have a good reason for the pass thru.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:00PM
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I'd change the entry powder room to a mudroom entry powder room for privacy. It seems too close to the dining area and entry for me. Since this is hopefully your last plan it's probably already been discussed.

I'd also switch the closet upstairs to the bathroom entry for the bedrooms to use without nearing the stairwell. If you bumped the wall out a little it would still leave enough room for a linen closet in the bathroom or built-ins.

On the pantry I see mcakeshop and zone's point. I'd keep the passthru but eliminate the pantry/mudroom door unless it was a pocket door. (They always seem to get left open).

Your plan is good as is if it works for your family. Good luck with your build.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for theresponses. Zone4 and mcakeshop, I never considered what would happen coming in from the garage to the kitchen through the pantry, that is a great point. I think we will keep the pass through there, as we are really excited about having that there along with a counter to put groceries (and I really think we have a lot of storage as is). But we will think about it, and you guys have me thinking about getting rid of that door. That really might make sense, and would make for a real pinch point in the very common scenario you describe... Hmm...

Houseofsticks, great idea about removing the door. We will definitely give that some thought. As far as the half bath... My MIL's house has a very similar setup, and I think it works well. We will even be better since the half bath will be flanked by 2x6 walls, which maybe we can fill with insulation for a better noise barrier. (I need to do more research into that.). It's funny, I previosuly posted a half bath entry similar to what you described, and it was roundly criticized. Good to see we are down to issues where reasonable, smart people differ!

I'm not sure I understand your upstairs bath suggestion. If it involves narrowing the main hall, I think we are already very narrow there. And if we turn the closet 90 degrees so it faces the main hall, I think we would have to do that.


    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:59PM
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On the upstairs bath left side would have vanity and closet and the right side would be door to the hall (facing the laundry). I'm just looking at this as I'd want the door closer to the bedrooms and further from the stairwell and the closet in the bath.

In the pantry you could always finish it off later (if not during the build) so it looks like a butler's pantry rather than a storage area. Something like this:

Contemporary Kitchen design by Edmonton Design-build Marcson Homes Ltd.

It will be a nice short trip for groceries. I'd also use this area for a charging station for my electronics-so I'd allow for extra outlets.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:26PM
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Since you want a big family, let me chime in here because I've got 7 kids from age 1 year to 17 years. I've liked your plan and think it has great bones for a big family. The one thing that I see you will regret when they are older is not enough closet space on the main level. It's kind of what I have now and it stinks. I would put a big long closet in the library so you can store stuff there. Also, about the door in the pantry. One of my biggest problems in my family is that I don't have a way to keep my kids from sneaking foods that I don't want them to have. If I buy chips, crackers, soda, juice, bananas, you name it. It is gone in a day. I CAN'T WAIT until I have a big walk in pantry that is going to have a coded lock on it. Then, they will have to ask permission first.

Same idea applies to the closet in the library. I want to lock up DVD's, markers, scissors, tape, etc. that I don't want them to have unlimited access to. It's fine when they are young, but there comes a time when you have many kids all over the house, the older ones are getting into things when you aren't looking. It just comes with the territory of having a big family.

The other thing that I see which I wouldn't want in your plan is how open the kitchen is to the dining and living area. My current house is similar and when we are all home, it is just too loud. Smaller families probably don't have that problem as much. I am planning to have more separation in my next house. It makes having conversation easier with the kids when there is a little more quiet in each room. It's kind of the opposite problem that smaller families have.

Anyway, just a few things to consider. I have admired your plan though.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 11:32PM
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I have not read all of the posts carefully. 3'10 is just not enough space for the entry. Take some blue painting tape and map that out and then have a few people stand there. Many kids mean many other parents standing in the entry for this and that.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 3:28AM
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I think the 3'10 space will work well enough for a front entry. While having it deeper would be nice, I think this will work. If the door was opening the other direction yes it wouldn't work, but you have the hallway.

I suppose they could bump out the front of the house 1'6" to match the bump out of the master bedroom and then the front of the house would be nice and even and you would gain front entry depth.

Whats going next to the toilet in the upstairs shared bathroom? Looks like a lot of unused deadspace.

One last thing I saw was the window in the master closet. Instead of taking up wall space and having a window that will be closed 99% of the time you might consider doing a solatube in there or the master bath if you are wanting to bring in natural light.

I lied, one last thing. Are you doing a sink or any cupboards in the laundry? If not now, I would at least bring up another water line there just in case you wanted to put a sink in later. I would also push the w/d over to the outside wall and put the dryer on the outside wall so you can vent directly out the side of the house. Should be more efficient and make for a lot easier cleanout in the future.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 8:45AM
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I really like your plan overall. With some minor things.

Since you mentioned large family make sure you add connections in the laundry so you could double up on w/d space such as two stackable sets. This is important so that the joists/framing can support this as well. I think the ability to have a soaking sink there would be helpful.

The other part would be the entry closet. Could you turn it so it has access from the mudroom area? It is so close there anyways that it isn't that much extra if you have guests to put it in there. I'm guessing this won't be needed nearly as often as you would us it as a family if it was in the mudroom. Might be able to enlarge it some then too and rearrange the powder room.

I agree with the door swing issue of the pantry into the mudroom. I think I would just have it swing into the pantry instead of no door or a pocket. To access things behind it in the pantry you would have to close it, but I would prefer to keep it closed anyways.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:51AM
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Houseofsticks, that is exactly how we want the pantry to look, except there will eventually be a fridge there as well. Thanks for the image, that helps. I'll look again at the half bath issue.

Frozenelves, thanks for the input. DW and I were talking, and I think the best of both worlds might be having a door that swings in to the pantry from the mud room, that way we can still have a door (and a coded lock, apparently!) that will not significantly impede traffic from the garage. And unlike an inswinging door from the kitchen, it won't impede access to shelves. We don't want to do a pocket door because I think that would be tough to open with groceries in hand.

Regarding closet space, we were thinking that the pretty good sized mud room would do the trick. We will eventually put in a bench with cubbies underneath along the whole exterior wall, and cabinets, hooks, and whatever else on the other wall. You can see the general plan above from Summerfields plan, but we can work out the details later. We are in Nebraska, so we will need lots of coats and coat hooks and such, but we are planning on those.

Noodles, I realize the entry is tight. Unfortunately, to make it larger, we need to make the whole house deeper, and the house is already significantly larger than we had originally planned. I have measured several houses with only 3'8" there and a 3' hall next to it, and they see to work fine. We will have to make the hallway the real entry where people stand. Again, I know this isnt ideal, but we have to compromise somewhere with this house. Thanks for the thought, though!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 9:54AM
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Forgot to submit the above message from this morning.

Mcakeshop, the space next to the toilet is for a freestanding linen tower or something. I really don't know what else to do there. Putting the toilet dead center would make two big spaces on each side, but neither really big enough for a cabinet or anything. We really wanted the toilet opposite the tub so when bathing kids, we wouldn't have to squeeze between the bath and the toilet. Certainly open to ideas!

I was planning on putting a sink in the laundry, roughing it in for beneath that window. My builder said we don't want the laundry machines on the outside walls as they will have to be spaced away from the wall. I will take another look at this.

Lyfia, I will ask the builder about what is required for potentially two sets of machines, whether we can retrofit that later. I think the closet makes sense there, as if we put it in the mud room, that would take up wall space in there that could otherwise be devoted to hooks, cabinets, etc. That would give us a little extra space in the half bath, but I don't think it would change how the fixtures are placed, and the clearances around the toilet are pretty good (can't see on this print, but it's about 4'11" by 3'3", I believe).

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:24AM
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You mentioned that you have no windows on one side of your house (living room, library side) because that side will be ten feet from your neighbor's garage. I'm wondering about whether you have more space between YOUR garage and the neighbor on the other side. If so, have you considered mirror-imaging the ENTIRE house? Then you could add side windows to your library, living room, master bedroom and maybe even a window between the twin vanities in your master bath. Mirror imaging would put your garage within ten feet of your neighbor's garage so your garage window and laundry room window would look out at neighbor's garage. But who really cares that much about views from those windows?

If your plan is to have a tall storage cabinet between the twin vanities in the master bath (so that no window could go on that wall regardless of what it looked out on, you might also want to consider mirror-imaging the master bath so that the shower and toilet are on the outside wall and the vanities on on the inside wall. Then you could put a small window into the toilet room to bring in some light.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:07AM
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I was saying to just have the w/d moved over, not on/along the outside. Have the dryer in the corner so that its side is on the outside wall.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Bevangel, I forgot have it noted on the plans, the space between the sinks in the master is a makeup desk. I don't really see a good way to have a window there, even a transom window, as I think it makes that wall look really crowded. The idea was to have the window in the closet shine some light into the bath, and if we need to, we can add the solotubes later.

Regarding the orientation... I've struggled A LOT with that. The thing is, our neighborhood is almost entirely single story houses, especially on our block, and I thought that a big mass of the side of our house rising two stories out of the ground would look really out of place, whereas having a garage and the two story would not make it look as stark. We are on the corner, with the approach to our house from the main street will be to the side of our garage as it is currently placed. So, the first thing people see when they drive up is the side of the house, either the side for the garage currently, or the long, tall, flat side of the other house if we flip it.

I think I will make another thread about elevation and orientation, this weekend I'm going to take some photos around the lot and put together a rough site plan. It is challenging to make this house ot seem out of place in our neighborhood, because all others are asymmetrical with garages in front, lots of gable ends all over, and on narrow lots.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 11:43AM
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Even in a neighborhood of mostly one-story houses, I think I'd rather look at the two story main house than the side of a garage... especially if you put some windows on the side so that it is no longer a blank expanse. You had also mentioned maybe wanting a fireplace in the living room. You could put a corner fireplace in the corner (next to the library) which would allow your chimney to be nearly centered on the exterior wall...close enough so that you could easily extend one side so that it LOOKS centered. Then you could add side windows in the living room, library, and master bedroom so that all three get light from two directions.

Believe me, you will be AMAZED at how much more inviting a room that gets natural light from two directions is. So much so that I would even suggest putting in side windows in the two secondary bedrooms even if they need to be short wide windows set high on the walls in order to fit over the roof of your garage. It doesn't matter so much what the view would be out of these windows. The point is to bring in natural light from a second direction.

I also think that, in the master bath, if you ROTATE the entire bathroom by 180 degrees so that the toilet and shower are on the outside wall with the shower close to the bedroom, you would be able to put a window into the toilet room so that it lines up with the window added to the living room downstairs. (It's better in my opinion for the toilet to be up against the closet wall anyway because that way, if one partner gets up in the night to use the facilities, the other is less likely to be awakened by the sound of the toilet flushing.) And, if you then get a door with frosted glass to use for the pocket door to the toilet, light from the toilet room window will enter the vanity area. You can still get light from the closet window in the vanity area, you would just need to move that window over a little so that it lines up with the closet opening. I actually think sliding the closet window over a bit would make it line up better with the edge of the three ganged windows you have in the living room downstairs anyway. And, THAT would allow your master bath to also be getting light from two directions making it a much more pleasant room.

Thus, with the house mirror-imaged, folks would see a nicely symmetrical two story wall with four windows arranged around a chimney. That, to me, would be a much more pleasant view than the side of a garage with a single window.

Just my opinion but, if your house is a two story set in the midst of all single story homes, it is going to stand out some anyways. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Neighborhoods full of houses that are all just alike are bland and boring anyway. So long as your exterior uses similar kinds of materials as your neighbors and is not starkly different in overall style, it should blend in well enough. I certainly would not sacrifice an opportunity to make the interior of my home decidedly more pleasant, just to MAYBE fit in a tiny bit better.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 1:31PM
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Just thought of one more thing. I wonder how you are planning to get furniture up there. Looks like your stairs are walled in so how will you be able to move a larger mattress upstairs? Ie make the turn at the top. Even other types of furniture could be tough unless everything you own is possible to disassemble. Or maybe I'm missing something.

Also when thinking of furniture and large family, I assume you will be using bunk beads as there isn't too much space available in the bedrooms to fit beds otherwise. You may want to look at the placement and size of the furniture in relation to window placement so it all ends up looking well planned and functional too. Even if not a plan for bunks, you will likely want to consider multiple beds and window placement.

This post was edited by lyfia on Sat, Dec 1, 12 at 22:49

    Bookmark   December 1, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Cam- I would want to flip the house plan and have the house facing the corner. Then, add a porch that would wrap around the side, from the front...and give you easy access to the backyard.

If you want, you could eventually screen the side porch, which would give you a wonderful bug-free play space/seating area :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:38PM
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I like the idea of flipping the orientation too. I like houses in my area where the two driveways are next to each other so there's a bigger expanse of lawn on the other side.

It looks like you'll have some space under the stairs at the DR end (no basement, right?) If so, make that into a closet. You already have a closet in the front hall so I'd probably have one that opens toward the DR/LR space. It would be great for table leaves, folding chairs, table cloths and other DR items; or DVDs, games, etc. that you might use in the LR.

I like the door from the mudroom into the pantry, maybe because I'm usually the one carrying in the groceries. :) Look at different placements (such as all the way to the right) and swings (swing into the pantry) to see what works the best for traffic flow and will also accommodate future built ins.

It's looking good!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Cam, I didn't realize you were SO close to your neighbor's garage.
I, like another poster above, like when neighborhoods have the garages/driveways closer together (neighbor to neighbor).

I also think, if you were to flip your house orientation, not only would you have a nicer side street facade (I wouldn't mind 2 stories with windows in a mostly rambler neighborhood), you'd also have a better front face and corner face, for your home.

I'd be interested to hear if you end up flipping it or not. I think, in your case, it is definitely worth considering.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:42PM
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Whoops, no, there is definitely a basement, we just forgot to put in a door there! Glad you caught that, thanks!

Re: flipping, I do think I'm convinced, I just have to figure out how many windows to add to make it not look to barren. We will probably transplant some 8' pines or similarly tall trees on the side of the house during construction, so that will cover part of the house from that view... I love the idea of a chimney, but we won't need one if we do a direct gas fireplace, and having windows in the middle of the side wall will really limit furniture placement in those rooms (not to mention add additional cost). We will play around with it--if we flip the plan, we definitely need more windows there to not make it look weird.

LL--I'm not sure about having the porch wrap around, simply because of the cost, but I will float the idea by my builder. That's probably an additional $5k or more... I wonder if it would need to extend along the full side of the house?

Re: tight spaces for furniture. This is another situation where I've been in other houses with similar corners and turns that are even tighter, and they've been able to get in queen beds, large dressers, etc. It won't be easy, no doubt, but the occasional difficulty is worth it if the design otherwise works well for our family, it seems to me!

We will probably want to make the windows smaller in the two back bedrooms, to allow at least enough room for a double bed between the wall and the window (and to save cost).


    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:46PM
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I don't have the elevation from the builders yet, but I'm envisioning the house to look very similar to this (except with the gable ends and bump-out shifted left instead of in the middle):

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:49PM
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You wouldn't have to have the porch along the entire side wall.
Will you plan to have a fenced in backyard? If so, a logical place to stop your porch is where your fence begins. So, if you start it mid-side, then the porch would be mostly a decorative element on the front corner of your house. If you plan to start the fence at the front corner of your house (and have side yard and backyard all fenced) then maybe you will forgo the side porch. Or, if you like the idea of a full sided front porch, then you start your fence at the back corner of the house...

One thing, where you ended your side porch (and started a fence, etc), you could keep the side roof going to create a covered, if not enclosed, area for yard tools, dog, etc.

There are possibilities, but you could also leave it plain.

Your inspiration picture is great, but I really feel like that house shown is a sandwich house and not a corner house.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 7:27PM
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We will have a fairly short, while vinyl fence.

I really hope we can leave the side plain, with a few extra windows. I'm not at all excited about the idea of a wrap around porch--as you've mentioned, it would primarily be decorative, but would have a significant cost.

You've got me a little terrified that our plan won't work well for our corner lot. What if we put lots of trees and such along the side of the house?

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:26PM
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It will work fine. I was just trying to help you visualize how you might go about a side porch. But, if that isn't something you love (LL LOVES porches :) ), then you need not stress out about your plan. It will be wonderful!

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 10:33PM
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One other thing about your upstairs hall bathroom

It looks like there is a short wall-ish thing next to the tub?

If so, is it possible to move the pocket door wall closer to the front house wall to make the toilet space a little more narrow and give your vanity even more length?

(or a linen closet for storage)?

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Thanks for the great detail you're paying to my plans! I think that was a mistake in the plans to show the stairs underneath--there won't be a pony wall or anything, but just a rectangular room 5' deep to exactly fit the tub. That's one aspect of the plan that's not great is that huge area next to the toilet, but we want a large area there for bathing kids, so I don't mind it terribly--we'll fill it with a linen tower or something.

Thanks for your reassuring words about the elevation. As we get close to the no-turning-back point, this gets more and more stressful. I was in a bit of a panic last night.

How is your plan/build going, by the way? I saw your plans a few weeks ago and felt bad that I couldn't return any of the wonderful advice you've given me--I just couldn't think of anything to add!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 3:27PM
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One thought, although I haven't read all the comments. Why the 4' aisle and the 5' island? We have aisle widths between 39" and 42" in our kitchen and they are very ample. I would rather see the extra foot added to the island, particularly if you want to have a large family. A 6' island could sit 3 people if you don't have legs or brackets. A 5' island would only seat two comfortably. We have a 9' island with 4 seats and the kids and my husband eat breakfast there every morning.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Thanks for asking.
I had to scrap my original GC. He has raised his rates quite a lot in the last 3 years, and he just wasn't justifiable (and he took 3 months to get me an estimate... Just didn't seem right).

So, it took a little longer, but we are back on track to get it started in January. Mine is just a remodel/finish addition. Had I found this forum 3 years ago, I would have done things a little different when we did our addition. So, I've been having to live within the constraints of the addition.

I do, however, love your "small house" that lives big. I always like to have a look at the floorplans that are posted on this site to see how they'd fit and function for my family. I am home most of the day and so feel every tiny constraint my house has. I like to optimize and dream (within my own walls). And, I've enjoyed optimizing and dreaming along with you on your floorplan. :) (And, should our house ever burn to the ground, God-forbid!, your plan would be one of my top start points for our lot, family, and lifestyle.)

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 8:55PM
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Cam- I do love porches! LOL

If you don't want a wrap around porch, I'd still flip the house. Maybe some clerestory type windows, in the family room? It would not take away from your TV space, but it would give you a nice view of the top of the pine trees. Same thing with the master bedroom, too!

    Bookmark   December 7, 2012 at 2:05PM
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