Newbie needs layout help please!

SE_MEApril 24, 2012

My hubby, 3 big dogs and I moved to the DC area on extremely short notice (3 weeks). We had to buy immediately due to the dog situation, the house we bought has a great private, treed lot and very promising floor plan, but it requires a lot of updating. I have never done any sort of remodeling before, and this was not a premediated move or I am extremely green! Demo is already underway, so no backing out. I have a few days before they finalize the engineering plans for the load bearing walls, then it will be cabinet ordering time. Details:

House is a 1979 colonial, main floor has 6 separate rectanglular spaces. For the back half of the house, the dining room is north space, kitchen + eat in dining is middle, and family room is south section.

We planned a completely new space for the kitchen that absorbed the eat-in dining but brought down the wall to the family room, creating a larger kitchen w/ island seating open to hearth room.

We have a GC who is great so far, but I have not met with a KD. I've been lurking on GW for the past few weeks and think (hope!!) I have a decent layout. I would really appreciate your candid feedback..

Some notes:

* Both interior kitchen walls are load-bearing, we have only budgeted removal of the south / family room wall

* I like to cook. A lot. And from single ingredient / farm source. When I say scratch lasagna, that means I ground the wheat berries into flour and make the mozzarella and ricotta from raw milk. So I make a fantastic mess of my kitcen several times a week, it truly needs to be professional grade

* I could do without the wine cooler and likely will

* the ice machine is mandatory, though I am unsure about it's current placement being so far away from the glasses. I placed it near fridge.

* the island consists of 24" base on range side, 12" storage cabs on backside. 18" overhang on 2.5 sides.

* all upper cabs are ceiling height and all base cabs are drawers....I have not updated all elements of the design tool to reflect this


* Is there a track system that will allow the trash to slide from either the end of the island (towards the sink) and also the edge (towards the range)?? If not, I don't know if current trash is too far from sink / DW.

* I don't keep a lot of food on hand, so we are fine with the 24" floor to ceiling pantry to the left of the fridge coupled with the lazy susan / open shelving to left of sink. But it is a 5 bedroom house, for resale purposes should we include a 48" wall to ceiling pantry in the dining room? It is shown in the diagram on the notes / right side

* Does it look awkward to have the edge of the lazy susan be the edge of that run? I love having a lazy susan for my canned goods and that is my only corner

* Any concerns about bay window flush with counter? The old windows were 3 separate double hung, but I'd like bay window w/ fixed center and casement sides. The counter would be continuous from sink to the window, no backsplash or ledge. Water issues maybe?

* I only have 8' ceilings, but I love the tapered hood ranges (RangeCraft Miami model). Will that shape be ruined by 42" width but 30" height? I can dispense with the uppers flanking the range if need be for appearance sake, but I would rather not. Another option is shorter flanking upper cabs?

* Added small "charging station" for our phone caddy at the south end, table height. Does that look too strange? I would orient base cab to hearth room instead of kitchen, just haven't spent enough time with my design program

I now have a better appreciation for picture posting angst from other threads. Can't find the html info, hopefully this link works (the birds-eye view is more accurate, as I haven't filled in all base cabs / finishes for the 3D view). Hopefully it at least provides a decent visualization tool.

Thanks so much! I am really grateful a forum like this exists. I have learned so much over the past few weeks!

Here is a link that might be useful: Layout & Incomplete 3D

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Annie Deighnaugh

Good first step and you've done a good job of thinking about how you'll use the kitchen to design the layout. A few comments in no particular order:

. Charging station. I don't like the look of a small drop in the counter. What you might consider is keeping that counter height and putting a bookcase in below, facing the other room. We did something similar and had the electrician put an electric outlet inside so we can plug our phones in down there and keep the counter clear. You might want to add slots above for mail storage. We needed a desk area in our kitchen for mail and keys etc.

. Window bump out. We designed our window specifically to bump out behind the sink so I could put plants there. The counter runs right into the window in a flat step or sill. It works fine and water is not an issue as it rarely get splattered that far. Being stone, counter is easy to clean and it's great not having to worry if plants leak.

. Lazy Susan. As drawn, I think it looks awkward...I believe they make them where the opening to the cabinet is on a 45 so it would fill the space better and look less awkward. I'd put the upper on the 45 as well so it looks more pleasing partially rounding that corner

. Pantry space...more is always better, but I wouldn't want to destroy the symmetry of the dining room by sticking an odd closet in there. Only do that if you can gain the storage but make it beautiful...such as 2 matching built ins that are very formal and appropriate to a DR

. garbage track system...I don't know of any, but I sure wouldnt want to be flinging trash around my kitchen. This is one of those personal taste things. GF just finished her kitchen and went with a double pull out trash, but one where the baskets are supported on a tray near the bottom so they lift out easily for bringing to a counters to sweep in the crumbs. We went with a single can under the kitchen sink and a smaller one under the prep sink

. Range location. I see you are an intense cook, and for that reason, do you have enough space around the stove? I need at least 2' for working and elbow room. I ended up with more than that in my kitchen and I'm glad I did. That space is heavily used as I am a "chop and drop" cook.

. One thing I insisted upon was an outlet built into the face of my island, even though it meant my one oven would be 3" smaller. I use that outlet all the time for appliances which only seem to come with 2' cords these days...I'd hate to be running extension cords to put the appliance where I want it.

. Prep sink. I see you have room on both sides of the sink. Good. Many times they put them on the edge of the island and they become much less useful

. Microwave. We are intense users of our microwave including morning hot cereal. We couldn't stand having it under the counter where we'd have to squat to watch the oatmeal so it doesn't cook over.

. Island. I can't tell if that island steps up to bar height or not. We chose to keep ours all at counter height so it acts like a large kitchen table. I did this for a number of reasons. We are not tall people and I can't stand bar stools where my feet don't touch the ground so once I get up there I can't move. Having the large single surface is great for rolling dough and such. It has also worked well when the girls come over and we are all working on baking pies and such...we can use the entire thing as a work surface. For company, having the large surface makes it easy to slide trays and such around for drinks, snacks, etc.

. Refrigerator. We argued a long time and I lost and got a counter depth refrigerator. It meant paying a lot more money for less refrigeration space. I need to get an additional fridge in the laundry room for party situations as this one is fine for every day but not big enough for platters and such. Not my favorite choice.

. Stove. That is one giant stove. If that's what you have your heart set on, fine. We chose an induction cooktop which I absolutely love. Then I went with 2 ovens and no warming drawer...I figure I can use the second oven to keep food warm if I need to, but I can't use the warming drawer as a second oven. Induction also allowed me to save space as it needs a smaller fume hood than a gas cooktop.

This is a fun process to go through...enjoy designing your kitchen!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:22AM
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Annie -
Thank you for taking the time to post your feedback!
First, the questions:
* Yes, the island is all counter height
* Range situation - I actually downgraded from a 48" for this very reason. The new 42" range has double ovens, so we actually wound up with more space in this configuration than if we had gone w/ double wall ovens and rangetop. The counters are 24" on either side, which is more than I have ever had in the past. I intend to do most of the prep on the island. More counters would be nice on either side, but it will mean giving up the second oven....unless someone can visualize a completely different layout here.
* We don't actually use/have a microwave, we're intending to put our big convection counter oven in there with one of those hydraulic lifts like you see most commonly with the kitchenaid mixer. When we go to sell the house, we'll put in a drawer microwave there.

Comments -
Outlet - I will be sure to incorporate a middle island outlet, that is a very good point. I was planning to tuck a power strip under each end, but at 9' an appliance in the middle wouldn't reach.
Charging station - agreed, I'm worried that drop looks strange. I just am drawn to the idea of a separation of gadgets and the rest of the kitchen
* Refrigerator. I hear ya. this is a big point of deliberation for us. We do have a spare fridge on hand though
* Window - glad to hear that works, I really love the look.
* Pantry / Lazy Susan - I think this is the corner that needs the most work. I need to post some pictures of my dream floor to ceiling open shelving in that corner. Also need to look for alternatives, bc I am unsure about current config. The DR pantry would be floor to ceiling built-in in a darker wood cabinetry (kitchen is likely cream w/ hazlenut glaze)

I'm traveling today for business, but will try to find pictures for that awkward corner. Thanks again Annie!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:55AM
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I like your layout a lot. I do think the fridge needs to be moved to either the far end of the wall to the left of the range or across the kitchen to the end of the sink cabinet run by the sliding doors. We have the Kenmore Elite badged Samsung 24.5 cuft counter depth fridge and love it. We have thrown a few get togethers and no problem on storage so far. We do have another full depth fridge in the garage, but to date it has only housed extra milk, the gigantic box of pudding cups from Costco that DH just threw in there because he didn't want to unpack it, and the occasional overflow of left-overs. I highly recommend it.

The lazy susan being the end run will be fine IMO as long as you leave the cabinet at a 90degree angle as drawn. I think more attention would be drawn to it if it was a 45 degree.

Have you considered moving the trash to the skinny side of the island? We did this in a similarly configured kitchen and island and it works very well. Trash is very convenient for cleanup (where we need it the most) and just convenient for food prep/cooking. Here's a couple drawings of island plans in 2 different kitchens for you of what I mean...

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 9:52AM
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mydreamhome - you are much better with your design software than I am! Thanks for providing a more accurate representation. I agree that the trash would work better from the skinny end....I was just hoping there was some sort of two-way mechanism where I could access it from either side.

Question - I was hoping to overhang both ends of the island for additional seating in overflow situations. Not the full 18" overhang, just a 12" with columns supporting the countertop. I like the aesthetic as well. I'm not able to find my fav pic from a magazine, but the link below shows the idea, but minus the bookshelves. Or maybe I could make the shelves removable? Does what I described make sense? Are there any cons to doing this, aside from losing valuable cabinet space? I'm not sure how it would impact putting the trash can on the skinny edge, if the trash drawer was full extension would it be able to extend adequately past a 12" counter overhang?

Here is a link that might be useful: Extended island countertops

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 12:12PM
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As far as I know there is no two-way, full extension trash sliding thingy like you're describing.

There are two-way, full extension sliders (very pricey, @ $100 pair) but they require a cut out on each side of the face of the drawer front panel to accomodate the sliders.

There is considerable interest (and lively discussion) in contriving something like this on various woodworking forums. I plan to have a narrow island (28") with two-way, sliders but it's still an engineering work in progress. For light duty drawers simple wooden tracks may work, but for heavy-use drawers (ones with dishes in them, for instance) some mechanically-aided solution must be devised. My DH (an inventor by profession) is currently experimenting with taking apart sliders and reconfiguring them in peculiar ways, but nothing so far either works as well as we want, or looks as well as we hope.

I'd go for the end trash route as it is a known thing, right now.

If you figure out a solution to the two-way thing, please do post about it - it's the last unresolved issue in my long-delayed reno! If only I could get it off my Honey-do-figure this-out-(soon)-list, I'd be in Heaven.



    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 1:29PM
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Have you had a chance to read the "Read Me" thread? It has instructions for posting pictures as well Layout Help information.

In your case, I simply right-clicked on the picture and copied the image location. Then I pasted it into this string:

I replaced "http://www.XXX/image.jpg"; with the image location:

Do you have a layout that shows interior dimensions? In addition, widths of walls/windows/doors/doorways and the distances between the walls/windows/doors/doorways are a big help.

Do you have a layout of the entire first floor? It helps for us to see the flow through and around the kitchen to enable us to give you better advice.

Very looks like a pretty good layout. A couple of things: Seating should be at least 15" of clear space (i.e., 15" behind the island cabinets + decorative door or end panel on the back of the cabinets). So, an island with standard 24" deep cabinets and with the minimum recommended overhang (15") would be 41.5" deep:1.5" counter overhang + 24" deep cabinets + 1" decorative door or end panel + 15" seating overhang I would not put seating on the end of the island that faces the sink & DW You will probably need a bit of filler b/w the wall and the 24" pantry

More later....

BTW...there is someone on this Forum who has a 2-way trash pullout, but I don't think it's full-extension. I'll look it up later tonight.

Here is your layout:

Here is a link that might be useful: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Yes, I like that, mydreamhouse, moving the fridge down to the corner. It can be a full depth that then opens into the doorway. Still in the workspace but available to family to get drinks without getting in the cook's way. Then you could center the range behind the island as it will be the focal point of that wall.

Se-me, I like the idea of having a place to tuck away the oven...very clever using a lift shelf to do it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I don't know where the doorways go to, but it looks like the major path through the kitchen is in front of the cooking surface. Everyone tries not to do that.

You need to leave room at the doorways and windows for trim - casings that surround the element. Also consider space for switches, phone jacks, network jacks, cable box or whatever is important to you.

You need to leave clearance in front of the fireplace for safety. For example, the clearance from a wood stove to furniture is 36". You need to check for your particular device. I think you'll find that when the furniture is correctly placed, you will not have room for stools.

The clearance between an island with stools and other furniture (like a sofa) is suggested to be about 5 feet from the edge of the island. This allows about two feet for a seated person and the stool legs with a walkway between the seated people and the furniture.

Personally, I'd try the room with a kitchen table and no stools and no stuffed chairs. I would try to work in a settee or something comfortable at the table or maybe a small desk in a sunny spot.

Be careful about using all of the "prime" space for stuff like wine refs. I wouldn't want people coming in and opening up bottles in my workspace.

The corner susan wouldn't work for me, It looks crowded and unbalanced. Plus, I give up a 3 foot drawer unit for a susan and less counter space. I could put a 6" smaller wall cabinet and appliance garage in - or - just keep those appliances in the drawer unit.

Also, remember that your life circumstances will change. Being the only workerbee in the kitchen has a way of changing.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 8:02PM
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Great feedback, thanks. I did read the beginners guides, but tried using source instead of location. I will try again with an updated drawing that shows all dimensions and proposed revisions. Traveling today, but will update later tonight

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 8:14AM
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SE_ME-- you can also just upload your pics to photobucket and post by just copying and pasting the html code once. Here's how to do it...

1) Go to and open a free account.
2) Follow their instructions for uploading your pics to their site.

Now your pics are ready for posting on sites like GW!

Posting pics in a GW message:
1) Begin the written portion of your posting on GW.
2) When you are ready to add your pics, simply open a new browser window and log into your photobucket account.
3) Go to 'My Album' & copy the 'HTML Code' underneath the photo you wish to add to your GW post.
4) Toggle back to the browser window with your GW posting, place the cursor where you want to pic to appear, right click and select 'paste'.

Your pics will appear in the preview so you can ensure they appear properly before the final submission.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 12:55AM
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I appreciate all the tips on the picture thing, I don't know if it's my OS or what but I didn't get the option that Buehl described. But I broke down and signed up for photobucket. their image location is super easy to find

Here's a revision that moved the fridge to corner (came home from my business trip to find a fully demo'ed kitchen with some surprises...there was a dead space we didn't capture that changed the fridge side wall...I know we picked one fridge that is corner friendly, but can't remember if it was counter depth or not), juggled the island for end trash access, removed the lazy susan, removed the table height desk, and chose smaller furniture in the hearth room (the last revision was big overstuffed chairs).

I actually bought this house bc of the ability to create the hearth room (I adore the one in my parents' house), so having comfy chairs around an ottoman is a must. And I like the idea of island seating for when I have friends over or just need a place to sit while prepping. But I do want it to be functional for other people. bmorepanic - what size table were you envisioning? 4 or 6 top? I almost make your distance recs with this revision

Notes - contractor said we might need a column, that's the new green square. I will do my best to eliminate, especially since I can't tie it into the island.

Stairs to the basement on are on the other side of the fridge side wall, so that wall can't be shortened. I initially panicked over that big blank wall, but I think a magnetic / chalk board message wall will be perfect.

Question - for the window wall, does it look strange to have one upper cabinet extend all the way to the counter and one not? It looked better with 2 full uppers, but functionally i would prefer the counter space.

I don't love that the island is smack in the middle of the view when you walk into the front foyer, but I don't see an alternative.

Buehl - can you please elaborate on why you wouldn't seat someone at the island facing the sink/dw? It happens to be a very pretty view out of that window, so I'm wondering if your comment is related to looking at a pile of dirty dishes or more about flow / blocking the entry point.

Whole house:

Revised Kitchen:

3D View:

View from entry hall (island is roughed in, not final look)

Please keep the feedback coming, this really helped a lot!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 4:40AM
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Think about which way you want the ref to open. Generally, the position of the ref in the above MEANS the ref will need to open from left to right - the door will be in your way and you won't have any landing space. Again, just generally speaking a single door ref needs at least a couple of inches of clearance on the hinge side for the door to open at all.

If you were thinking of a french door or an sxs, the problem would get worse because they generally need a fair amount of clearance on both sides to open the doors wide enough to use or clean the drawers.

Are you moving the windows? I'm asking cause I'm kinda itching to get the ref and icemaker on the other side of the room near cleanup -> so snackers and beer drinkers aren't attracted to the working area of the kitchen.

I think I have an idea of what you want when you said hearth room. For me, it would involve sofa, possibly a built in one. If the fireplace DOESN'T exist now, I would try it out in different locations in the room other than dead center because there might be a balance between open kitchen and cozy hearth room that you haven't found yet.

And if the fireplace wouldn't move, I would have the space be casual dining - like a monks table 30-34" wide but long with small scale seating. Possibly a hutch/buffet for the real dish storage with a small disguised icemaker.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Apologies for the delay in response, the past 4 weeks have been terrible for me. DH diagnosed with a sarcoma, favorite dog I've had since college nearly died of heart failure (fortunately meds and subsequent Addison's disease diagnosis and more meds have fixed him right up, at least for another year or so). So kitchen redesign went on backburner.

And to add to the angst, we've experienced lots of engineering delays with the load bearing wall removal. I had to fight my contractor to go with column-free design, then wait for the PE to re-do everything the way I originaly asked. This is all going down AFTER they completely demo'ed the kitchen. Going on 4 weeks of bare studs.

But now the huge, column free LVLs are going in, I need to be ready to order cabs the moment they are done! And happy to say that after the surgery to remove the tumor, biopsy revealed DH had a schwalloma and not a sarcoma, which is very good news.

So, after long-winded story, back to layout. Overall concept stays the same but I've juggled a few things around.

Bmorepanic - the fridge will now be a 27" all fridge column with hinges on the left. Sub Zero somewhat cantilevers in, so all we'll need is a 2" spacer to ensure plumb with wall and handle clearance. Intend to use the island as landing for stuff coming out of fridge.

There is a very nice forested view out of the bay window over the primary sink, so we're leaving that in place. Fireplace is also fixed. We will play around with hearth room furniture once the kitchen is complete.

I am actually very happy with where everything is now, thanks to everyone's suggestions, the one HUGE concern I have is symmetry around the door into the dining room.

Due to the joist design from the kitchen that "juts" out past the dining room on the exterior wall, we can't widen the right side of the door between the two rooms without more expense. And potential functionality impact to DR. But at the same time I am not sure if the bigger space on the right side of the door with drive me crazy. I would give up landing space on either side of the range if I shorten the cabinet run to the left, which I would really like to avoid.

Would the larger expanse of bare wall on the right side of the door be acceptable? One of those things that looks off in the schematics but in real life wouldn't be so noticeable? Or do I need to redesign the cabs on the RH side? Our cabs are completely custom, so anything is technically possible.

Please excuse the disaster of finishes on my design program, all I am using it for is sizing / spacing.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 11:41AM
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This is such a well thought-out kitchen! I don't think I'd worry about the space around the dining room doorway. If it doesn't have a better answer, it doesn't, and in the scheme of things, I think it's a very small worry.

But looking at your rendering now, I'm worried about the symmetry around the stove, not the doorway... and maybe that's what you meant, too. The way you've designed things, it calls for symmetry, and I think you'll prefer it to have the cabinets the same side on each side of the range and hood. I don't think you'll miss 3 inches of landing space on the left side. Those inches might be more important if you didn't have the great island space opposite.

If you shorten that run, I'd shorten the island to match the run length.

On your counter hutch to the left of the main sink, have you thought about putting a drawer at the bottom? This gives you space to open the doors if you also want/need to set something on the counter in front of it. The way it's drawn, the doors will sweep across the countertop. We did that (have drawers at the bottom) with our dish hutch and have found it helpful in everyday use.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Thanks rhome410, I'm relived to hear at least one opinion that the extra wall to the right of the wall isn't too strange. Originally I made the drawer bank to the left of the range larger so I could fit a warming drawer next to the range. But I am a big fan of symmetry too; I can just put the warming drawer on the island and, since the cabs are custom, make the cabinets flanking the range equal sizes.

Oh, I just noticed this sketch does indeed show Warm Drawer on island, I just need to balance range flanking cabs. Good catch, thanks Rhome410.

We'll actually do a single, lift-up door for the bottom of the counter hutch, about 18" tall, as we intend to use it as an appliance garage. I am oscillating between open shelving or glass doors for the upper shelves. I wish I knew how to change my design tool to reflect all of this!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 2:18PM
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It's looking wonderful and should be great work area for even a total from-scratch cook. Have you firmed up an idea for your hood yet? I like the one in your diagram and just mention it because the allows you to search by ceiling height and for hoods. Melinrk's kitchen, for instance, has a slight flare to the hood, which made me think of you.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 4:53PM
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I like it! I would just make sure the fridge opens toward the island and range, so you're not working around the door, every time you need to take something out of the fridge. If you're changing the base cabinet, to make the range area more symmetrical, you should be able to add a small spacer, to allow the fridge door to open all the way up.

I think I'd rather have a base cabinet with glass upper, next to the fridge...for added counterspace...and keep the upper to the countertop over by the main sink.

Is the fireplace facing the kitchen or the other room? Can't tell from the drawing, but it would be a great feature if it faces your seating area :)

    Bookmark   May 24, 2012 at 6:46PM
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Thanks Rosie and lavendar_lass. I agree that extra counters next to range would be nice, but I need a second appliance garage more than I need the counters....since I will have all the island counter space just a step behind.

I had my heart set on the Miami hood from range craft, but I accepted that I would need to eliminate range flanking uppers to support the look. I am going to do a liner with wood mantle instead. Should save some money too. I have seen Melinrk s though, it does look great!

For the fridge, it has a fully functioning design with door against a wall, but I do have a 3" filler to allow for install space. Door will open against the wall, for ease of access from kitchen.

Layout is officially complete! I only have a few odds and ends to work out, will create a new thread for those finishing details. Thanks again everyone for the feedback, I am so happy GW exists!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2012 at 6:43PM
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