Do you like a lot of natural light, in the kitchen?

lavender_lassApril 12, 2012

Do you have a lot of natural light in your kitchen? Do you wish you had more? Do you grow herbs? I'd appreciate you comments on this subject. I've included my kitchen plan, but this is as much about your kitchen as mine...so if you want to comment on the plan, fine...but otherwise, just comment about the natural light questions. Thanks in advance :)

I recently had some people recommend I add more windows, to the kitchen, in our farmhouse plan. I like a lot of natural light, but some on the Building a Home forum thought the light would not be as bright, filtered through the sunroom...so they suggested I switch the range and sink.

Here's the result... From Fairy tale cottage

While I love all the windows, I have some concerns about losing the upper cabinet storage...but I also don't want light mainly on one side of the space. The light will be more balanced with windows over the range, but I'm just not sure about the layout. What do you think? Many of you cook a lot and I'd like your opinion on this, too...if you don't mind.

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Shades_of_idaho

Lots of light is a must for me.In the kitchen. We have two 30 inch windows and a 46 inch window and there is also light coming in from laundry room half light door and a full light door as entry in dinning room.The one thirty inch window is a long one going down to 19 inches above the floor. The other is above the sink.

The living room adjoining the kitchen dinning room has four more 46 inch windows a half light door. Some times we have to throttle down the light with the blinds. I would rather have it this way then not being able to have enough light.

Do you remember I added the tall window in the center bathroom wall to let light in? Even though the window faces the bright bright laundry room and the window does have mosaic on it but very little color mostly patterned clear glass. the inside bath is still not as bright as I had hoped it would be after adding the window. I am seriously considering adding a full light door with privacy curtain or glass. I just HATE the dim bathroom because it is an inside room. I really thought there would be so much more light come into the space with the window. At least now I can see in there with out a light and both doors shut. It was totally dark.

I do grow house plants in the laundry room. It is a perfect plant room.

Even the slight 6 foot width of the tarp covered, top only, on the kitty kennel takes light out of our master bedroom. I am ordering white tarps for next winter and taking the one side over by the bedroom window down soon maybe today.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 6:37PM
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marti8a

I like light, but I like having cabinets more. My kitchen is on the west side of the house and I have to close the blinds in the late afternoon because the sun is blinding. Where I really want light is near the table so that when I sit down I have something to see.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 7:37PM
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dekeoboe

Light is important to me in the public rooms of the house. When you take your plan to your architect, their computer program can easily convert your 2D floor plan to a 3D model. Then, they can place the model so that it is oriented in the proper direction, add in your longitude and latitude, and show how the sun will come in the windows during the different times of the day. That way you can see if you need to tweak the window sizes or placement or move your rooms. It is really quite helpful.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 8:40PM
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desertsteph

I do in the new place. the window over the sink is about 30", the east 'wall' is only a partial wall w/2 doorways into the LR/DR. That has about a 6' window on the north wall and a 5' sliding door on the south wall. all open.

I also have a skylight in the kitchen. lots of light - I love it.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 9:00PM
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kitykat

YES, yes, yes!!! Coupled with light, I also require a 'view'... not just in the kitchen, but in all regularly used rooms. Over the sink is a 64"w x 40"h window overlooking the front garden. The table has a 48"w x 78"h window, w/front view. Living room has two side by side 48x78 w/view of back garden. Office has 64x50 window over the desk with rear garden view.

This is just me, but I could NEVER be happy in one of those houses with a huge deck, that when seated in the house all you see is the deck floor and railings, tree tops and houses behind. Even worse is having a 'walk-out' lower level. I need to see my plants, paths, benches, bird feeders. I require the colors, texture, flowers... the connection with nature and the outside world.

The big windows bring the outside in, making my small rooms feel and live larger. Also... all blinds are opened each morning, and closed only at night.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 12:01PM
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lavender_lass

Thank you all so much, for your responses! I'm busy at work, but wanted to post a picture, from Athensmom on the Building forum. Love it! The windows, the hood, the beams, the chairs! LOL I will be back to give a more detailed response, later today. Have a great Friday :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 4:46PM
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colorcrazy

Hi, Lavender!

That photo/kitchen is gorgeous, but very big.

My kitchen has three 30 inch windows that stop above the backsplash. The sink wall and the stove wall have upper and lower cabinets. There are only lower cabs in either side of the fridge (north wall). The fourth wall is further away and has more cupboards.

The kitchen is on the NW corner of the house and the window over the sink faces west. There is a cherry tree in front of that window, but when (at the sink) I look to my right (north) I can see out one of the back windows. Small house AND small lot.

I agree with Deke that the direction your windows face will be critical. I have Blenko and Pilgrim glass on my window sills upper and lower, as well as hanging in front of the windows. No curtains or shades.

I am curious how many feet it would be (in your drawing) from the sink to the fridge. It looks a bit too far for me. I like a smaller work triangle. Each leg of my triangle is about eight feet.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 10:37PM
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lavender_lass

Shades- All that light in the kitchen must be so cheerful! I know what you mean about the bathroom...that window is a great idea. My mom and I looked at a lot of manufactured homes that had the 'center bathroom' and while it's convenient, it is a little dark. I remember you talking about the window...can you post the picture, again?

Marti- How's the dining room addition progressing? You're going to have plenty of windows (and view) in your new room. It's going to be so nice! :)

Dekeoboe- The dining room window seat and the windows over the kitchen (and the front side of the sunporch) all face southeast. The other side of the porch will face southwest. That's the breezy side...which will be great in the summer, when the screens are in. This is all existing space (except for the sunporch) so the views are already determined...but the light will be great, in the winter!

Steph- Oh, that sound so pretty! I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the new place :)

Kitykat- LOL! I agree with you, completely! It's so nice to have pretty garden spaces to see, from the house...not to mention the fun of watching the birds, bees, butterflies, etc. Even in the winter, we still have the pine trees and a few birds that winter over.

Colorcrazy- Oh my gosh...I saw the rest of this kitchen/family room (and house) and it's HUGE! Beautiful, but huge (LOL). As for our kitchen, the plan is to put it where the porch is now...which is 10' x 16' and then the fridge/oven will add 2'...so the distance form the sink (under the windows) to the fridge is about 14'. That is too far, so the little circle in the island is supposed to be a prep sink, which should give us two work areas, or a prep and clean up area. Nice, when the nieces/nephews come out to 'help' bake! :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:05AM
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Shades_of_idaho

Thanks LL. this is a picture from the bright laundry room looking towards the window. When I try to take the picture from the other direction it turns dark. I have changed things in there now and have a plant shelf on a small table with the litter box under the table.

The bath is through the door.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:22AM
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lavender_lass

Shades- That's a beautiful window! What a clever idea...they should offer that option, when you buy the manufactured home. That would make such a difference! Great idea for the kitty box, too :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:50AM
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Shades_of_idaho

I do like the window. Just sorry it does not let as much light into the bath as I had hoped it would . I could not go any larger because of plumbing. You can see in the bottom picture even with the bath door open the bathroom is dim.

The kitty litter box under the little table works really well.It is just a deep tote. Helps keep most of the litter inside.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:22AM
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desertsteph

shades - i love that window also!

I have a skinny vertical window in my mstr bath and a skinny horizontal one (over the tub/shower) in the hall bath. both are frosted tho. i'm probably going to replace the one in the mstr bath (doesn't open/close easily - my friend tried to fix it and broke it more!) The replacement won't be frosted - I want to be able to see puppy out back thru that window to check on her at night.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 4:07AM
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jakabedy

There are always skylights. The newer ones are SO much better than the older ones. My kitchen is in the center of the house, but in the middle of the ginormous "great room" that includes LR, DR, kitchen and garden area. So I get the light from their floor-to-ceiling windows. However, the windows are still far enough away (15') that they don't provide good light. So I have a giant skylight cluster over my kitchen/garden, and it is great. Unfortunately, it is vintage 1978 construction, and needs to be repaired/replaced now, because it is leaking.

Old pics from before the kitchen and floors were redone:

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Shades_of_idaho

jakabedy That is such a wonderful space you have in your house. Would love some thing like that here. not sure how it would hold up to three of some times four foot of snow. Sure is a dream space for me. LOL you could garden in the middle of the night.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:21PM
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jakabedy

I hadn't thought about snow. That's not an issue for us. But maybe a couple of the smaller solatubes, or something along those lines?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:25PM
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lavender_lass

Jakabedy- What a wonderful space! Like Shdes said...not sure that would hold up to three feet of snow, but it would be so great, in a different area.

That's my concern about solartubes and skylights. The light is nice, but I'm not sure about the snow load. We get a lot more snow here, than they do in town, so I may have to stick with lots of windows :)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 1:53PM
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desertsteph

jakabedy - wow - that IS a great space! I'm also not sure that it wouldn't be too MUCH with the AZ summer sun here.

I'm sure something similar could be done w/o being cooked by the sun tho.

LL - you could probably do some type of angled 'roof' window on the sunroom (close to the kitchen roof) that would bring in lots of light. The angle would allow the snow to melt off of it. Usually if close to a heated room it would help melt the snow, wouldn't it? Don't solartubes work w/o a snow problem?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 5:11PM
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Moccasin

Lav, I adore lots of natural light. When we redo our kitchen, the entire back (eastern) wall will be mostly glass or Lexan. Plus, the window over the sink facing south will become a garden window.

What I want to do, and it is possible to do it easily in a one story house, is to put in the LIGHT TUBES. The tubes can have two outlets, and the tubes are really reflectively lined and create a little spot of natural light to dark and depressing interior spaces. I want a two-outlet to put more natural light into our existing hallway, and on the interior wall of the dining room. If I'm not mistaken, you can also have a light ring mounted for use at night when no natural light would be coming in.

My kitchen at MoccasinLanding was an interior room, once the original owner added a family room behind it. It was like a cave in there. My whole time in that house was spent bringing light inside. I put a skylight in the carport roof beside the kitchen door. I made that door a 15 light French door. I added two French doors to the family room, and put in 3 36 x 72 windows in that room. I knocked out a piece of the wall separating the kitchen from the family room. I added mirror as a back splash to bounce natural light around. And, I put in 20 feet of track light in a U shape (8-4-8) on a dimmer.

Good light is important to your happiness. The "winter blahs" are bad enough if you have short winters, but during long winters, it would pay to take heed of your lighting requirements. Doesn't mean you have to move your kitchen location. More than one way to skin a cat.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:49PM
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marti8a

LL, would you email me please? I just added the check mark so my email shows up in my profile. I thought it was there already.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:05PM
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Moccasin

Jakabedy, I love your space! If I could have done that in MoccasinLanding's kitchen I'd have been blissfully happy. But the contractor said that the gables intersecting over it for the family room built on the back would make it impossible. So I opted for the one skylight over the carport just outside the french kitchen door.

I wish I'd noticed your post before I did the previous one, because it is what I meant about thinking creatively to bring light inside even when your space is an interior room. Your kitchen and garden area, they are like an atrium. Love that exposed beam like a ship's keel running down the length of the room. Very nice place to live, I bet.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:41PM
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marti8a

I love your house too jakabedy. I remember seeing pictures of it before, the kitchen I think. Is your living room on the side with the wicker chair?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 4:47PM
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kitykat

Shades, what Jakabedy said about using the Solatubes is THE ideal solution to enclosed interior rooms. I had two when I lived in AZ. One was in the laundry room, the other a bathroom. So help me, it was like full daylight or having the lights on in there! Sometimes, I would reach for the light switch to shut of off... and it was. I had the smaller of the two sizes, think 14". The little domes on the roof do not detract. The only issue would be with snow piled high atop. It wouldn't harm, but would affect admitting light... thus ceiling light is a necessary addition.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 5:36PM
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desertsteph

'it was like full daylight or having the lights on in there! Sometimes, I would reach for the light switch to shut of off... and it was'

that's how it is with my skylights in kit and mstr bath! might not be so good for someone w/ a hangover. It's been many decades since I've had one but I remember not liking light - lol!

just yesterday when I went over (and it was not the usual clear sunny day here) in the afternoon and walked in to bright daylight thru out. the DR/LR has 5-6' of window/glass on the north and south walls also. I had no need of turning on a light. I often check lights when leaving because of that tho.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 6:39PM
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nancyinmich

Our kitchen has one window, and it faces the neighbor's brick house. No room in our house has more than one window, but it seemed bright in here when we viewed the house because the windows are large.

When we remodeled the kitchen, we added and operable skylight. It is 2x4 ft, but the box that Jim built between the roof and the ceiling gets larger at the ceiling end. That makes the skylight seem much bigger. We think that the skylight might be the best thing we did. The kitchen faces north, so even if the neighbor's house was not 15 ft away, there would not be a lot of light in our kitchen without the skylight.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:28PM
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desertsteph

'Jim built between the roof and the ceiling gets larger at the ceiling end'

what a smart, thinking guy he is. I want him. He can keep his wife, it isn't that kinda 'want' - lol!

it sounds like it comes in like a ray of sunshine!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:23PM
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jakabedy

Marti -

The living room is at the other end, where you see the fireplace and a sectional ( this is actually the PO's stuff, in photos from when we bought the place 5 years ago).The room on the near side, where the wicker chair is, is identical to the far room, but with no fireplace. It has glass across the whole end wall. Half of it is our DR and the other half houses DH's jukebox and a couple of lounge chairs.

It's a great space, but awkward. Each of the living spaces is roughly 12' x 20'. And with a raised hearth on the FP, it's a challenge to work out seating that doesn't look like a minivan.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:14AM
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jakabedy

Desertsteph -

I meant to reply to you, too, about the sun. It gets very hot here, as well (Alabama) and the skylight doesn't help matters in the heart of July, August and September. When we were exploring solutions, I came across a company that makes custom skylight covers out of heavy-duty screening fabric that blocks 80 or 90% of the UV rays. it bungees over the whole skylight cluster, and I can still see through it and look at the treetops. We put it on in the spring (DH put it on this weekend) and take it off and store it over the winter. it has worked wonders and the A/C doesn't run full tilt all summer anymore.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:20AM
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desertsteph

'skylight covers out of heavy-duty screening fabric that blocks 80 or 90% of the UV rays'

oh, that is awesome! this will be my first summer with the skylights. I was in/out of the place last summer getting things done (not much done!) but didn't notice any extreme heat. We did have a mild summer last yr tho and the a/c where I was (still am) was barely working so I'm not used to being really cool in the summer. The new place is much better insulated and that should help. The 3 broken windows and broken sliding door have also been replaced - and this yr - no workmen running in /out not caring if the door is open with the a/c on.

But I will be paying close attention in case I need to make some coverings for mine during those hot months!

and the 12x20 rooms? i can so identify - my first house as a young bride (A-frame in a woods) had rooms about like that. Our LR and kit were each about 12 x 22 - with angles on the outer walls of each.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:25AM
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shelayne

YES to natural light! YES!

When we took the wall down between our kitchen and dining room, an unexpected and WONDERFUL surprise was the natural light that streamed through. It was actually a "DUH" moment, because--of course--there would be more light because there were more WINDOWS. Like I said, "DUH."

Our kitchen/dining area has a 45"W X 43"H (southern exposure) window over the sink, and one 32"W X 57"H window on the south and east walls. This provides a lot of light that used to be "trapped" in its own room, so it was like boxed sunlight. It didn't bounce around or stream through to other light.

We just returned from visiting relatives over Easter. Though their house is beautiful, it is dark--almost cavelike. There are no windows in the kitchen, but a window in the breakfast nook. When we returned home, DH said to me, "YOu know what I noticed when we got home? I noticed how BRIGHT our kitchen is. There is so much light, and that is really nice."

I love light and realized how much I missed it, when I spent a week in that home.

I love the inspiration photo of the HUGE and yummy kitchen LL posted, and I always enjoy and appreciate jakabedy's fab space--and those skylights OOOOOH! Let's see MORE MORE MORE!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:13AM
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jakabedy

steph -

Here is where we got our cover. Ours was clearly pretty large, and I think it was about $1,200 5 years ago. They're much less expensive (and easier to wrangle!) when dealing with single skylights rather than a cluster like ours. DH thinks a big bonus is that the cover smells like the interior of a '68 Volkswagen.

Here is a link that might be useful: skylight covers

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:13AM
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Shades_of_idaho

"DH thinks a big bonus is that the cover smells like the interior of a '68 Volkswagen."

Hahahaha I know that smell well even after so many years. Instantly recalled. Thanks for the smiles.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Moccasin

Hmmmm, I'm going to look up the link to skylight covers in a sec. Interesting.

But if Steph is thinking of making her own, it isn't that difficult, you know.

The Home Depot sells 100 foot rolls of what is called SHADE CLOTH. I bought a roll of it intending to make roman shades from it, but DH opted to have plantation shutters installed here in Alabama like the ones I persuaded him to install up in Massachusetts. He really likes them.

Now, I will probably use the shade cloth to make a cover outdoors for my shade loving hosta that I've gone nuts over.
I have two roll up shades made of it on the totally Lexan walled sun porch, and it truly cuts the heat down, plus like Shelayne says you can see through it looking out.

You don't want to put a shade on the INSIDE of your skylights Steph, because in AZ what you have is radiant heat, which will come in regardless of you stopping the LIGHT, if you don't stop it on the outside to keep the glass from heating up and transmitting/radiating the heat inward.

If those purchased skylight covers can be bungeed into place, then you can see about making them yourself....or maybe ask your SISTER to sew them up for you? Are you handy with the sewing machine? Didn't we just chat about that sitting unused in most of our homes? Well, think about running a few flat hems easy as making a towel, threading the bungee through the hem, and get some young buck of an Arizona cowboy to climb up there on your roof and install it for you.

Isn't your neighbor's boy big enough to help you do that?
Think about it, Steph. You get the shade, and still have the light. It will make a difference.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 9:45PM
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Shades_of_idaho

ML good to know about HD having shade cloth. I made the curtains on our front porch of shade cloth. It really is simple to sew. You can finger press seams then stitch them down.I did not even have to buy a special needle. Going to go look it up.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 10:49PM
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desertsteph

'You don't want to put a shade on the INSIDE of your skylights'

oh no! don't tell me that! lol! oh dear. then I hope it isn't too much heat this summer. last yr was a mild summer...

I'd have to find someone to climb up there each spring and then again in the fall. well, i'll see how it goes this summer.

I'm sure they wouldn't be hard to make. I have a large piece of shade cloth here that i bought for my boy's pen. It'll be used on the now 'puppy pen' this summer.

btw, my sister doesn't sew AT ALL. I was shocked she even had a safety pin in her house. She did have a skylight (or 2) in her mfg home yrs back and I never heard her complain about too much sun or the heat from them. I'm sure she didn't concern herself with the cost to run her a /c tho. She has a skylight now too. I'll email and ask her about the prev ones and the current one.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:35AM
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young-gardener

Cook and window lover here!

I can't get enough natural light. If we had enough lower cabinets, I'd wipe out the uppers and build a giant wall of windows. We want to swap out the window in our breakfast room for a french door, just for more light, but it's likely to get cut from the budget since it's not a necessity.

Have you seen this kitchen? She built an open cabinet over a window in order to get light AND storage. (My house is too dusty for that. haha!)

Here is a link that might be useful: lovely (large) kitchen

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 2:56PM
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desertsteph

that wouldn't fly here in the desert either! we have dust devils and it just whirls around like a tornado.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 3:00PM
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jessicaml

If the trade off is between storage and light, I'd happily get rid of some dishes or appliances! Or, in my case, move them to the garage...I do like the solution posted by young-gardener, though, assuming you have pretty things to store! I don't think I'd be that organized.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2012 at 4:48PM
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lavender_lass

Young- How goes the remodel? Any new pictures? You seemed to be making a lot of progress :)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2012 at 7:00PM
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