Building a new home: I need your help in the Living room!

Building a New Home on MADE

With the new year here I’m jumping back into home projects.  Because I don’t know about you…but I sort of have to be all in, or all out.  If I’m in home mode–I’m in home mode.  Or if it’s pattern-making time, I’m in the studio drawing and sewing.  It’s hard to be pulled in multiple creative directions—which is why we often have cereal for dinner.
Remember that?

Well some of you have asked about a home update on Instagram (@danamadeit) so here are some changes in the living room.

And if you’ve missed any of my previous home building posts, here’s the short version:
Two years ago we built a custom home in Austin, Texas.
For the next thirty years, we’ll be decorating it.

Check out my previous posts documenting the whole process:
We’re building a new home!
Groundbreaking Party
From foundation to frame 
Stucco, shingles, and Exterior Paint
Interior Paint colors and the back Deck
We moved!…and an ode to the old house
Backsplash, Shower Tile, Flooring, Countertops
The giant Ball Chandeliers and other lighting
Guest Room makeover 
Mosaic Bathroom Tile and Wallpaper
New Dining table, benches, and chairs
Large Craft Table for the Studio

So the day we moved in—ON Valentine’s day. How sweet is that?—the room looked like this.
(Read more about our gray + white paint colors, our fireplace + tile, and our floor tile)

Before and After pics on MADE

The gray couches we bought in California 6 years ago, right before we moved here.  Actually they were delivered to us IN Texas and there were major delays, so we sat on camping chairs for a few months.  And those are fun memories.

So the couches work great in the new space.
Next up: the rug.
I love this rug!  It’s from West Elm.  And I found it at the outlet (in San Marcos if you live in Texas).  It’s 9×12, which works great in this room.

New Rug and Home Improvement on MADE

Most of all it doesn’t shed like 10 cats in the house, like the last rug did.  Casey was happy to get rid of the “tauntaun carcass” as he called it.

end tables and new rug on MADE

Next item: piano.
The kids started taking lessons a couple years ago, so it was time for one.
We found this beauty on Craigslist, which was cared for by a piano tuner and restorer.  He also had an amazing baby grand in his workshop which he was restoring from fire damage.  So interesting.

Piano and Home Improvement on MADE

He brought the piano to our house, tuned the thing, and played some amazing music… which reminded me of how I’d like to be Lady Grantham one day.  Because I could use a household of cleaning help and I’d love to have a private musician play for us upon request, in the parlor.
If we had a parlor.

Piano in MADE house
vintage piano on MADE

It was hard finding the “right” piano that fit within our budget.  Obviously I wanted it to sound decent, which it does, but it’s not great.  But I also wanted the style to be simple and not too swirly or ornate.  And I LOVE the way this one looks.

And of course I wasn’t sure about the brown color at first.  But as I mentioned with the dining room table, I’m warming up to browns again.  Or rather, I think you can mix browns and grays together nicely.
I toyed with the idea of painting it because I’ve seen so many cool versions….

Custom Home before and after

But once we got a new TV console, hung the TV on the wall and added a little artwork, I loved the brown next to the white.

Custom Home improvements

And once the crappy piano bench that the piano came with broke one day (phew) I pulled the IKEA bench over and I loved it even more!  This combo works great together.

new TV console on MADE

It’s hard to pick out a full room of furniture.
(Well, maybe not if you’re an interior decorator.)
And I’m definitely no expert….but I find that starting with the key pieces that are either large (like a couch), or important/special (like a piano), or by purchasing a furniture item that really jumps out at you (like this TV console I loved the first time I saw it)…. well, those are good places to start.

And then you can slowly work your way through the room, piecing it together.  And by the time you’re done, you’ll be sick of it.
Isn’t that how it seems to happen?
But then you can sew new pillows, throw up a new family photo and call it good.

Okay.  Here’s where I need your help and input.
This little chair.
Or rather, this space where the little chair sits.

help me pick a new chair for the living room
The chair was great in the old house.  Remember how I had to redo the china cabinet before I could open it?  Well I still love that chair.   It’s just too small for this room and I can’t buy another.
(I miss the old house)

Fiesta Party on MADE

So it’s time for a new piece of furniture.
And I have looked and looked for months, and almost hit purchase multiple times.  And then I’ll chicken out, or someone else will give me a different opinion.

So I’m hoping you can help steer me in the right direction!

Here are some choices I’ve narrowed it down to.
You’ll find links to all of these on my furniture board.

So many chairs to choose from on MADE

This area of the room definitely needs more seating to pull the socializing aspect together.  So it’s either two chairs, a love seat, or settee.  My two favorites are the green settee and blue chair above.  I love the yellow loveseat way too much.  But it’s also too big for the space.

The coffee table is also going away and needs to be replaced with either one rectangular table, or two squares, or rounds?  I don’t want the room to become overly mid-century modern.  But I do love many of those styles.

Custom Home improvements on MADE

There are plenty of yellows, greens, and blues throughout the house.  So any of those shades work. (read more about lights, wallpaper, shower tile, exterior paint)

yellow lights on MADE
Green wallpaper on MADE
Shower Tiles on MADE
Building a Custom Home in Texas

I worry that the green couch will be a lot of green near the door.   But it all depends on your angle in the room.
AND I might replace that white bench behind the couch with some upholstered benches?  Maybe those could be yellow?

I’d love to know your thoughts.
Which one do you like?
Or maybe you have a link to something else?  I’m open to new ideas.

help me decorate my house

And already since taking these photos, I’ve added some new plants and artwork to the room.

But I’m still searching for more.  I can’t stomach the price of these Gray Malin prints, so I’d love to know if you have any good artwork leads!
Baby steps to home improvement.

Thank you friends!

Gray Mallin prints

    • 3) Dana

      ahhh. Thanks for sharing these!

  1. My vote is the two yellow chairs…they would tie in perfect with your yellow lights in the kitchen.

    • 5) Mo

      The two yellow chairs are what struck my eye, immediately, as well!! They’re so sunny, beautiful, and welcoming. They invite you to sit for a spell.

  2. 6) Emily

    I vote for two chairs, maybe with a table in between – a place to set drinks or play a card game on. I would not choose a loveseat, because they are never quite big enough to comfortably seat two adults on.

  3. 7) bdais

    Okay – hear me out on this one…

    Can you flip the smaller sofa over to where the chair is? Then I’d go with 2 chairs. Because you have those gorgeous french doors. Two chairs would be more airy on that side. Plus it’d be easier to pull one over by the piano or swing it around for tv access.

    I love all your furniture choices. I’m jealous of a family that enjoys a good coffee table. My husband loathes them. As for color I’d probably go with the yellow or the green (or a pattern that has both). And a more industrial coffee table because a) it’d tie in to your kitchen light fixtures and b) it’d balance the mid-century mod.

    I’m also all-in or all-out. Right now my interests are playing tug of war. We’re finishing up projects that didn’t get done when we built our house 6 years ago. But I also have 5 quilt projects and multiple other sewing projects, not to mention my 2015 photo book, that need to be finished. And for some reason my boss thinks I ought to do my job, and my family wants to be fed and cared for. Can someone please clone me? 😉

    • 8) Kf

      I like the idea of flipping sides with the love seat too. At least try it out. Then I’d go with 2 chairs or one larger chair on the French door side of the room. Another love seat type piece would be too heavy.

      I have a similar furniture layout and am baffled on a good coffee table for my space. Looking forward to seeing what you pick.

      • 9) Dana

        That’s too funny that you both said to switch the couch and the chairs….that’s actually how we had the furniture when we first moved in! But because the fireplace sticks out into the room, it was really hard to see the TV with the couch on the other side…and so comfort won over fashion :).
        And it’s actually really nice to have some open space near the fire so Casey has room when he’s making a fire (which we do often).
        So I guess that’s the reason! But I agree…chairs in front of the french doors is ideal. And would be gorgeous 🙂
        Thanks for chiming in!

  4. Ooooh, I love the idea of an upholstered bench behind the couch, that would look so cute and would also be some additional seating when necessary… In fact, I might have to do that in my own house 🙂 Love it!

  5. This is my kind of style! I love all the white!

  6. 12) EmmyA

    I like the blue chairs. I thrifted two lime green, velvet chairs that same shape and they are really comfortable. Even my husband likes them! I have a small round table between them and it makes a really nice place to sit and chat. I would go for two chairs just because a small loveseat or settee can end up seating only one person (darn personal space bubble) when you are entertaining.

  7. 13) Sasha

    Hi! Love your home, you could easily be an interior decorator. I think blue color perfectly fits in this area so I vote for blue chair (the first one – with more intense color). With yellow or orange pillow would look great! I like the yellow table, but I would choose the round one. Also, I like the style of bench behind couch, but I feel something is missing …
    (I’m really sorry if I made some spelling mistakes – English is not my first language.)

    • 14) Dana

      You are too sweet! Thank you Sasha!

  8. 15) Meghan

    I was in the south Austin Haverty’s store and saw two of these shoved together like a love seat. They are a bit pricey, but teal leather! You need a statement piece. It’s the first thing people will see when they come through your door, and everyone will want to sit on them! Also, you can pull them apart and maybe put little side table between them for parties or whatev.

    • 16) Dana

      What fun chairs! Thanks for sharing!

  9. I would go with 2 chairs. Even if a love seat seats 2, 1 person usually always uses it. (Kids included, fights can ensue) The blues you’re showing look good.

    For art I like pier1, minted, and home goods!

    Good Luck, I have a love/hate relationship with home decorating! It’s so fun and frustrating too!

    Your style and home look amazing, so it’s coming together!

  10. 18) Ange Moore

    I’d go two blue chairs. Then you have some flexibility if you want to change the space and they’re not so “heavy/solid” as another settee or loveseat. Love the fun colours in the house – bet it’s great to live in!

  11. 19) Annet M

    One of my design gurus is Sarah Richardson on HGTV (Sarah’s cottage, Sarah’s house, etc). She gets chairs recovered all the time in bold patterns that pick out colours from the other hints in the house. Plus I agree with the above 2 chairs is much better / more versatile than a loveseat.
    So I’d suggest you find a fabric you love with a bold statement print, that picks up the greys and the yellows and such, and then use that to pay to recover the chair you love and thrift another chair even in a completely different style, in the same fabric, so they look like they are a pair, but you know they aren’t really, but that’s okay because I think they’ll still work. Recovering can be so amazing and might work out the same price as some of what you are considering (I didn’t click on any of your links though, so not sure of your budget).
    Plus I agree with above that I’d put the chairs nearer the doors and move the couch to the other side.
    Good luck!

  12. 22) christina

    Two chairs, yep, but perhaps slimmer in style like the teal example. They’ll be more versatile than a loveseat, give a grownup ‘conversation’ feel and a brighter color like yellow would lighten the dark gray of the other large pieces in the room. As for coffee tables — mid century is all about the awesome oval/rectangle coffee table. It must be seriously considered. Perhaps two or three smaller ones that nest so you can easily move them where needed. Something like these 3 —

    And yes, I’d be itching to paint that piano too — and I normally wouldn’t even consider it!

    • 23) Dana

      Ooooo. fun. Love that table idea! Hadn’t thought of that.
      Thanks Christina!

  13. 24) LK

    I like the green settee or two of the aqua chairs in the upper right corner. On the coffee table, have you thought about bringing in more wood? Something cool like a live edge table, basically a big stump (or slice of one as the top) that has been striped of its bark. I think it could look really neat in the space. I am going to have to check out San Marcos, several of my friends here in San Antonio have said it is great… Now I just need to find the time.
    Love your house, thanks for sharing it with us!

    • 25) Dana

      Fun idea! That’s really cool. I’ll have to look around for something like that.
      Thanks for sharing!
      and yes, you’ve GOT to make time to go to the Pottery Barn/West Elm/Williams Sonoma outlet. That’s the only store I go to in that whole outlet mall. Oh and Restoration Hardware. It can be hit or miss. But it’s always fun!

      • Dana, you’ll find some great furniture shops with that type of style in Fredericksburg. I love that most of the pieces found there are not from mass production, usually have a story, and you can actually meet the artisan/craftsman who made it. Also, there’s a ton of shops for more artwork. Hubs and I bought a 3-foot wooden teddy bear statue there from a guy on a corner who was making them out of stumps with a chainsaw. It looks great in our home and we love the memory of buying it and meeting the gent who made ours.

  14. 27) Celeste

    I always find the just right thing a month or two after I’ve settled for something. Maybe you just need to keep looking a little bit longer?

  15. Do two blue chairs! You already know that you love the old blue chair, and the brown legs on the new ones would tie the brown piano in with the room even more!

    • The blue chair on the very top right of your little collage, that is. I just scrolled up and realized there are more than one style of blue chair. 🙂

      • 30) MamaG

        That is exactly what I was thinking, those 2 blue chairs with the brown legs to tie in to the piano! Two chairs break it up much better than another large couch/loveseat…things would get too bulky for the eye. And the brown round table–voila! Whatever you do, we know you’ll make it look good!

        • 31) Dana

          Fantastic ideas. Thanks!
          And yes, the brown legs and table with the piano….perfect 🙂

  16. 32) Rosa

    I wish the settee came in the blue. But since it doesn’t, the blue chair is my vote. You have a lot of yellows and greens already. The blue gives it another color. Good luck!

  17. 33) sarah watkins

    i vote for the two seater grey sofa but in green as i think it draws the room together nicely.

  18. 34) Natalie

    I like 2 blue chairs in that space. As long as they are a good scale for the room, I think you could choose either one of the choices you show above. I also think doing an upholstered bench would totally punch it up! Very fun and spacious-feeling room! I really love your bar chairs in the kitchen and how they set off your backsplash!

  19. 35) JennA

    What about a wide, open sofa table instead of seating and 4 ottomans pushed together instead of a coffee table? The ottomans can provide extra seating if needed. Completely not what you asked for….I like the grey piece

  20. 36) Diane

    I tend to feel “closed in” easily, and I love the light and airy feel you have, so I wouldn’t add a big piece. Maybe a couple of low-profile ottomans on casters? Also a plant between the two big windows that are behind where the blue chair is now–it’s the perfect sunny spot for a plant and I’m jealous of it!

  21. And that old rug from West Elm, I had that one too!! It shed like a herd of dogs. And then our dog peed all over it. Then I threw it out on the curb! ha!!!!

  22. I vote for the 2 yellow chairs! Better seating for adults who prefer their own chair to sharing a settee and the yellow would pull in the lamp shades in the kitchen so nicely.

  23. I’m voting for two chairs. Years ago a decorator told me this about seating: Q. How many people sit on a love seat (settee, bench, etc)? A. One.

    If you want seating for two guests then you should consider getting two chairs.

    • 42) Dana

      Great advice! Thanks for sharing!

  24. 43) Meagan

    Hi!!!! (waves enthusiastically)

    I am rather conservative with my big pieces and therefore, I would lean more towards the gray chair and then accent it with a bold print that coordinates with your other colors, or maybe a cool throw (and pillow) that ties in colors.

    We are on a budget so any piece of furniture needs to be a more neutral color. THen I can change out pillows, rugs and throws for way cheaper than frequently changing out furniture because I get on a decorating tare. 🙂

    I absolutely LOVE your blog and your pictures on your blog and your style. And, thanks to you, I am hooked on Girl Charlee!!! (My husband is less than thrilled but I am ecstatic!) I digress….

    Keep up that good work!!!

  25. 44) Lisa

    Have you tried moving the matching gray couch to the front door-side opening so that there is a full view out the back french doors? Then, maybe a chaise lounge or a couple matching kid chairs with a small table between them . . . or two/three bean bag chairs.

    Maybe something architectural like a mini Eiffel Tower statue or columns?

    I love how all your colors pull together both rooms. Nice palette. Just finished a quilt in that palette.

  26. 45) Laura T

    Wow you’ve already gotten a ton of advice, but I’ll through my 2 cents in anyway. I think 2 chairs are a better answer. Specifically the lighter blue one you have in the examples. I think the lines of the chair pick up nicely on the lines of the couches (and the piano in a way) without being too similar or too mid-century. Also I like how the lighter blue picks up your fireplace tile color. In the pictures at least the tile feels a little washed out. As for the coffee table question. I think one question to ask yourself is what is the purpose of the table? Putting one’s feet up? Putting down a drink? Displaying cool books or small things? I think those functional questions will help direct you to an answer. Also don’t forget about the options of small footstools for chairs or love seat if you just want one coffee table, but still want to be able to put your feet up. Thanks as always for sharing!

  27. I *love* the style of those yellow chairs! LOVE! So my vote goes for the yellow chairs in either the gorgeous yellow or the darker blue/green on the chair above. But those yellow chairs….swoon.

  28. 47) Susan Green

    Hi Dana,
    I would find a black lacquered sofa table to take the place of the white settee.
    I also might build a bookcase or cabinets that open toward the windows between the pillars to give the room a line.
    Where you have the blue chair I would put two matching barrel chairs that swivel (kind of hug the person that sits in them)
    Would the blue chair fit near the piano? or a fireside chair?
    good luck!

  29. 48) Laura

    I love the colors in your living room; it is so bright and cheerful.

    As for furniture, I like the idea of two chairs (which will be a nice contrast to the sofa and loveseat and offer flexibility later). On your board, I really like the armless teal chairs from and the lighter teal chairs from Target.

    I also like these chairs from CB2 : (in teal, too, or maybe in yellow).

    Good luck. It looks great so far!!

  30. 49) Sarah

    I’m going to vote for 2 chairs- some guest prefer a seat to themselves!

  31. 50) Amy

    I agree. Two matching chairs. They will be more functional for bookclubs, birthdays, watching _The Game_. Easier to scooch around. I think a patterned is needed. Sure you can bring patterned with the throw pillow, but you are doing that on your sofas. And living rooms are like outfits: neutral, color, pattern, accessories. Best to have a balance of all.

    Behind your couches you do not need more additional seating. May I suggest an entry table for family photos, important keepsakes, and if needed a landing for all the Bookclub ladies’ purses.

    There is nothing, NOTHING, like owning an original oil painting that speaks to you and feeds your soul. Of course the prices on those can be a real downer. If you cannot find a painting, and cannot commission one from family or friends that are artists: you must consider painting one yourself. Oil paintings have a friendliness and unobtrusive quality that is hard to (impossible) to match in a photo. Think about. Ask your fella if he’d paint one. And then get a very simple frame for your paintings when they are all done.

  32. 51) Petra

    Hi from Melbourne 🙂 A little bit of Aussie input – two chairs would look great – perhaps in that soft blue tone. Large mirrors are good as “art work”, or a beautiful b&w family photo, or something you can do yourself e.g. beautiful fabric on a canvas. Looking forward to seeing the results 😉

  33. 52) Ellen

    About the cute little chair.
    It looks like there’s either a pillar or a corner behind it. If there’s a corner by the windows, put the chair in the corner. Or, if there’s a pillar, put the chair on an angle by the pillar.
    This will make it look like the chair is supposed to be there (rather than “someone left a toy chair here”) and it will be a natural “I’ll just pull this chair over to sit on” for guests. If you don’t have that many guests over (or you just usually don’t need the chair) you could put a pillow or blanket or a stack of pillows or even a stack of books on it.
    Just a thought!
    If this wouldn’t work (it’s difficult to understand the room from pictures) maybe you have another corner somewhere to put it in. (My husband’s grandmother has all of these tiny tables with one or two chairs scattered in her house. They’re not meant for using – except when we need seats for many – and on every single table there is a tiny table cloth and a plant or tea pot or something weird. It’s adorable in a weird way.)

  34. 53) Jolien

    Go with 2 chairs. seriously, doubling up the current chair you have and the coffee table would already be enough for the space. I think adding another love seat next to the 2 big one’s closes up the area too much. I actually like the yellow a lot too, though definitely pick one that you won’t be fed up with in 2 years, that’d be a shame.

    I’d totally keep the chair, in some corner or another, it just adds such a fun splash of color. 🙂

  35. 54) Maribeth

    I vote for two blue chairs. They tie in well with the backsplash and offer more flexibility than the love seat. Happy decorating!

  36. 55) Marianne

    What about the two blue chairs that you have shown, purposely NOT matchy-matchy. And put a little orange/red table between them to tie into the other tables? I think adding another sofa-looking thing will look heavy and perhaps like the red-headed-stepchild.

  37. 56) Aimee

    Love the two yellow chairs! Otherwise you have no individual seating. I always like having an option for someone to sit by themselves. Maybe they don’t like squishing. But we host a lot of church groups,so maybe that’s why I feel that way.

  38. 57) Bonnie

    First, I think you should slap a piece of foam on top of that square coffee table, cover it with a funky fabric and turn it into a cool ottoman, to be used in the living room or elsewhere.

    Second, I think I’d do something a little more mobile, like two brightly colored rocking chairs. They can easily be part of the conversation, if everyone is piled on the couches, or turned directly toward the fireplace when you and Casey are chillin’ by the fire after the kids go to bed. 😉 I think I’d go with a blue/teal to bring in the color from the kitchen backsplash, or simple white with a modern print on a seat pad.

    Good luck. I love the look so far!

  39. 58) Sharee

    My vote is for 2 chairs but in a patterned fabric. Then you can have multiple colors that you love in the chair fabric. The gray sofas need some live-ing up and I think you’ll miss the pattern that your chair that you have gives to the room if you go with a plain color on its own. Also, I’d introduce more wood tones…like the color of your beams on the ceiling in a narrow couch table behind the couch where the white bench is or as a coffee table. Depending on the style of the narrow table, you could store some large poufs in a color you love under it and bring them out for additional seating.

  40. 59) Sharee

    In the above comment…it should say liven-ing not live-ing**

  41. 60) Sarah Heat

    What’s that space behind the chair with the windows? Can you put window seats there and make a reading nook or something?

    It’s hard to tell from your pictures what that is.

    As for the chair, I think 2 chairs with a little table in between would be good.

    Also, if you’re thinking about replacing that bench behind the couch anyway, I think that something longer would be great. A console table or benches makes sense to me.

  42. 61) tracy

    Two yellow chairs with the round wood coffee table! I think you need chairs there because adding another sofa-type piece of furniture would look kind of weird. The round coffee table will help soften the other edges in the room, and the wood will tie in with the piano.

  43. 62) Trisha

    Super cute!!! I vote for two blue chairs.

  44. 64) Line

    No surprise you have no decluttering section on this blog: what you harmoniously arrange on these pictures is what I try to cram in 10 square feet! 😉
    More seriously, I agree with some other comments: 2 chairs is nice, especially for elderly people (straight back, arms to help get back to standing position), but I wouldn’t actually add seating here.
    I notice you have some nice & quite empty area just beyond the 2 “pillars” (sorry, I’m French & my architectural English is not always adequate). What are you planning there?
    Organizing THIS space would be interesting, with some piece of furniture that would make a transition between the entryway & the porch windows on the one hand, and the living room on the other hand.
    Now, to be honest (& dream a bit…), I’d sell the piano, go back to the piano restorer & buy him the baby grand one for this space…
    Well… I don’t think I’ve helped you much, but I so much like browsing your blog I had to share my thoughts
    Good luck!

  45. 65) Janice Nikuin

    This would be my first comment on your site, but my girls and I adore your videos.

    As far as the furniture goes. I like the first teal colored chairs since the wood legs have a similar shade as the piano. I think 2 of them would look great, and give warmth and balance to the room. I like the current lay out–it looks great.

    Janice (Jah-niece)

  46. 66) Meredith K

    SO many great choices! I think if I were in your shoes I may add TWO of the top blue chairs that would match your kitchen backsplash – but also balance the yellow in the rug – a small side table in the middle of the chairs and a large round wooden coffee table with a shelf or drawers underneath (for kid clutter : ) that will center and weight the room a bit. my two cent, but I know you’ll do something fabulous ! ENJOY!

  47. I’m thinking two of the blue chairs (the ones with little buttons on the back) would look great! Or maybe something red…

  48. 69) Kim

    I just wanted to leave a link to some totally great artwork. It’s not photography but she’s from San Clemente and has some beautiful mixed media beach pieces. Very fresh and modern…I think you’d like her stuff.

    Apparently cut and paste isn’t a thing my computer wants to do right now. Search “Kristine Brookshire” on etsy…you won’t be disappointed!

  49. 70) ana

    How about 2 two square leather ottomans (about 40x40x18 in) with a nice tray in lieu of a coffee table… thats what I have and it works great, mine are super simple, they’re custom made
    take a look at these:
    (without the stitching or tufts.

  50. 72) Beth

    So I keep looking at the pictures wondering what you are going to do in the space behind that chair, in front of the windows. I think the plans for that space might change what works best closer to the fireplace. It’s hard to tell how deep that space it, but it looks perfect for a couple of chairs with a table in between. Like the set of yellow ones you showed. Then to finish the living room, a single chair with more wood might add texture. You selected one on your pinterest board, this one ( I think that is lovely. Then decide if it makes sense to place is closer to the fireplace or to the couch. Loved someone’s idea about the three coffee tables.

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