Dining Room – before & after

Hello lovely friends!

Firstly, before I show you what we did in the dining room, which really wasn’t much at all, I want to answer a question a few of you asked after my ‘winter room’ reveal. Lots of you were surprised that my sofa is from ikea and that I buy things from Facebook marketplace. I had lots of comments from you guys wondering how I ‘make it look fancy’ and why my house doesn’t look like a flea market when so many of my pieces are second hand or from budget friendly stores.

I definitely believe there are places you can save money and places where you need to spend a little more, but that doesn’t mean that it has to cost a fortune, you’ve just got to be smart and know where to spend and where to splurge.

I have young kids and pets, we don’t have adults only zones and our home is pretty relaxed, I don’t like to spend a lot of money of sofas because I know they are going to get jumped on, have food spilt on them and who knows what else! I look for an affordable option with covers that can be removed and machine washed.

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Where do I splurge?
I’m happy to spend money on quality house fixtures like taps, hardware, lighting and custom made window treatments. These are things that you don’t want to get wrong. They form the foundation for all the layers of furniture and home decor. If you get them wrong nothing will flow harmoniously.

Lets talk about window treatments today as that is what has made a huge impact in my dining room make-over.

My dining room has grey tinted glass and lots of it, the grey glass reflects a dark hue throughout the dining room. I wanted to use white sheers to change that to a bright, white light radiating in the room.

There is 2 glass doors and one window in this space, they are all different heights and widths, I’ll tell you more about this later, but their varying sizes made it impossible to get a cohesive look without having them custom made.

This is where you splurge.
When I say splurge it doesn’t actually mean you need to spend a lot of money. There are ways to get custom made, professionally finished curtains, crafted from quality materials at a fraction of the price you would pay an Interior Decorator. It just means you need to measure them and hang them yourself.
I talked about choosing your window treatments here and installing them here.
It really is very easy, promise!

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Back to my dining room sheer curtains, you’d think choosing would be pretty easy, right?

I went to Blinds Online to order my sheer curtains and discovered there were quite a few to choose from. I decided to order samples just to make sure I got exactly what I wanted. You can order up to 10 samples free of charge!

I have a little trick that I use to help me choose my sheer curtain fabric. I sticky tape all my samples to the window where the curtains are going and observe them in different lighting. It’s the best way to see how your curtain fabric will look in the room and against the window.

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I chose TAHITI VOILE SNOW with a Pinch Pleat head and centre parting panels.

There wasn’t much to do in the dining room. It is in an open living area with the ‘winter room’, the two rooms are separated by one of the bench seats that we did while we were doing that living space. The living space is ‘sunken’, 2 steps lower than the dining room. I love how cosy it feels in there.

The only real change we made to the room was to refresh the paint, add pendant lights and curtains.

We patched all the holes in ceiling and the walls, my husband started out in the building industry as a plasterer, it’s very handy! Then we gave everything a fresh coat of paint.

I chose two oversized rattan pendants, they have a beautiful aged patina and even though I thought they were going to be too big when they arrived, once we got them up they looked perfect.

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The real hero in this room is the new curtains, they’ve made a huge impact and they make the room so bright and light. They way they dance in the breeze is dreamy, it’s like something from a beautiful movie. It’s worth putting sheer curtains in your house just to get your movie moment.

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 There are three windows/sliding doors in this area, two are in the actual dining room and one is on the adjoining wall. They can all be seen at the same time from multiple views, but they are different heights which is not pleasing to the eye and disrupts the harmony. Both the sliding doors also lead out to a central courtyard area which I am planning on making into a seating area, so I thought it was important to make them feel cohesive.

I decided to hang them all at the height of the highest door which was just under the cornice, and to be honest I probably would have chosen to hang them there regardless because the added height makes the windows feel larger.

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It’s important to measure all your windows, don’t just assume they are all the same height. I thought my ceiling to floor measurements was the same throughout this area, but there’s a 15mm difference from one side of the room to the other. This is very common, especially in older homes, so check your measurements.

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I chose the same curtain rods I used in the living room, firstly for continuity and secondly because I like being able to pull the curtains completely to one side or the other of the rod without a centre support interrupting them. The rod system is simple and unobtrusive which lets the curtains steal all the attention.

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As for the furniture in this space, there’s a mixture of old and new. I’ve had the chairs for about 10 years, they are a classic French Provincial design, they’ve been moved to and from 4 houses, they’ve been tipped over by kids, they’ve been broken and repaired … but I still love them.

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I bought the table 3 houses ago, again it’s a timeless design, very simple in a warm timber with a parquetry top. It’s a long table at 270cm, almost impossible to find tablecloths, but I like that I can fit 4 chairs each side. I love a beautiful carver chair at the end of a table, but sometimes I don’t want to block the view down the table to what’s at the other end. This is one of those times …

I bought the huge cabinet especially for this room. I wanted somewhere special to display all my collected and sentimental china and all the shelves and glass doors in this cabinet was perfect. The cabinet gives me the ability to add personality to an otherwise very simple room.

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Eventually we will remove the carpet from this room and do either timber or stone floors. I personally don’t like carpet in dining rooms, especially when you have kids, they are feral creatures and spaghetti bolognese doesn’t mix well with wool carpet! The floors are always the last thing we do in a house, we’ve learnt from experience that flooring can get damaged during a renovation and it’s best to leave it till last unless you need to do it due to a change in floor plan.

Thats about it in this space, lets have a quick look at the before and after to see what a huge difference a few small changes can make.

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Before we moved in.
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During, progress.
AFTER!
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Before we moved in and AFTER
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Before we moved in.
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AFTER

As always, I’m happy to answer questions, e-mail me or find me on IG anytime.

What do you think?

Happy Decorating!

Hayley x

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My Blinds Online transformation

The day has come, my new curtains and blinds have arrived and the excitement levels are out of control.

Putrid Pink!

The putrid pink curtains have gone, thank goodness because I’m sure they were a health hazard, they were so disgusting! I must have sneezed 7,823 times as I was pulling them down, the lining was covered in black mould and they had dead cockroaches falling out of them everywhere.
I had no idea they were so nasty, they didn’t look that bad while they were hanging! Check your curtains friends, they could be extremely unhygienic and causing you all kinds of health concerns. Also, just so you know, we just moved into this house a few months ago and I have no idea how long those curtains had been hanging there.

Naked!

Okay, back to my new window coverings.
I ordered them online from Blind Online.
You can see how I chose and ordered my blinds and curtains here.
The entire process was an absolute pleasure, everything from choosing my fabrics, the excitement the day the samples arrived, the feeling of accomplishment when we installed them and the happy husband when he learnt how much money we saved by doing it ourselves. They arrived safely and on time (even during Covid delays) and were packaged well.

My fabrics

When you receive your online order confirmation, you will receive an installation guide, you can also find the installation guides here. They explain everything in basic language and it really isn’t hard. All you will require is a few basic tools depending on how you will be hanging your blinds and/or curtains.

We hung the roman blinds first. They are really easy to install yourself as they only require a couple of brackets to be screwed into your wall or architrave. The blinds just clip into the brackets and you’re done. So easy!

I shared some video of us hanging them on my Instagram and have saved it to the highlights here.

As I explained in my previous post, this window was a little bit tricky, so we decided to fit our roman blinds into the aluminium window head. This is probably the hardest place to hang them because you have to screw into the aluminium, and it’s still really simple.
First we made a small hole with a drill, then we use the screwgun to put the screws in. We used two screws per bracket.

Then they just click into place, I know that sounds easy, but it’s true, they simply clip into the bracket.

I got so many questions about the roman blinds as we were hanging them. I’m going to answer some of the questions here in case you have the same queries.

Are they lined?
Yes, they are beautifully lined with a separate layer of fabric. I chose the standard lining and it is a white cotton blend fabric.

Is the lining a separate layer or is the fabric coated onto the feature fabric?
As above, it is a separate layer, your feature fabric is not coated.
You can choose the standard lining, a thermal lining or a block-out lining.

How do they open and close?
They come with a metal ball chain, the chain runs smoothly and can be operated easily with one hand.
They also come with a child safety clip to be attached to the wall.

How far up do they pull up?
They pull all the way up to the top layer and fold on themselves neatly.
My windows are nearly ceiling height which makes my roman blind very long and it sits nearly flat against the window. It will depend on your unique measurements but it usually pulls up to between 26cm and 30cm.

Then we hung the curtains.
If you already have curtain rods, then it will be as simple as unhooking the old curtains and hooking up the new ones.
If, like us, you have a new curtain rod, follow your manufacturers instruction to install them first. I had a rod custom made and bent to suit my awkward window. It came with ceiling mounts that were simply screwed into the ceiling.

I chose pinch pleat curtains, you can adjust the position of the hooks on the curtains by gliding the hook towards the top or bottom of the heading tape. As I had a nice pole that I didn’t want to hide I chose to position them  towards the top of the heading. The adjustable hook also gives you a little bit of control with your length, depending on where you position the hook you will lose or gain a few mm’s so you can get them to fall at the exact length you want.
I made sure I had enough glider rings in my rod to accommodate all the curtain hooks and simply hung them starting from one side and working to the other.
If you choose Eyelet or Pencil Pleat curtains the fitting process is similar and explained thoroughly in the Installation guide.

What did I learn during the process?
This was the first time I had ordered blinds online. I measured everything myself, I took my time and I checked and double checked my measurements.
My roman blind measurements were absolutely perfect, my husband was so impressed with me!
As for my curtains, what I didn’t take into account was that we changed the curtain rods, the layout of the new rod is slightly different to the old rod. The old rod was 4 separate pieces and they overlapped in the corners, ultimately making the rods longer. The new rod is one continuous rod with no overlap, hence shorter overall. So a couple of my drops are a few centimeters too wide for the rods, it doesn’t really matter, you can’t tell when they are open and they are just a little fuller when closed.
Lesson learnt and I thought I’d warn you so you don’t make the same mistake. I probably should have put the rod up first and measured from that rather than taken my measurements from the old curtains.

The last thing I did was gave them a quick steam to help the fibres relax.
They will drop on their own with time, but I helped the process along because I’m a bit OCD like that, ha!

Ta Dah!
All hung in a few hours and I couldn’t be happier!

The total transformation of this space is phenomenal. The window treatments have changed the entire look in this room from dated and drab to classic and chic. I don’t think there is another component in this room that would have made such a huge impact.

Have a look at the Before & After … mind-blowing!

BEFORE (obviously!)
AFTER

If you still have shabby old curtains or broken vertical blinds, or maybe your windows are still naked, what are you waiting for? Read my blog post full of tips for selecting the perfect window treatments for your space, then order them online  from Blinds Online and transform your house into a home.

Happy Measuring!

Hayley x

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Blinds (and curtains) Online

Would you be happy to live naked, completely exposed to the world at all times?
What about a sheet? Would you be happy to wear a sheet in lieu of a beautiful frock?
Of course not!

Then why do we leave our windows stark naked and expose our lives to the whole world with no privacy?
Then we decide we need privacy ….. so we staple ugly old sheets up on our windows, is that look you are trying to achieve?
In my case the ugly sheets may have been a better option, I inherited these putrid pink curtains with our new house, I say putrid not because of the colour but because I’m pretty sure they had been hanging there for 20+ years, and I’m pretty sure they had never been cleaned, they were PUTRID! They were also very heavy and dark and I had no option to control the light in the room other than open or closed. They made the room feel dark, dated and dirty.

Some of us live with our current situation because window coverings can be tricky, the options are endless and confusing and we don’t know where to start. Or maybe you decided to take the plunge and got a a local curtain maker around for a quote and were blown away by the price. Or maybe you got savvy and decided to order them online but the process of ordering and hanging them yourself was a little overwhelming.

I’ve done the research, got the quotes and made the mistakes, now I’m here to share all my tips for getting the perfect window treatment at the best price without the hassles and headaches.

Your first step is deciding what type of window covering you would like in your space.
You need to consider both practical and functional elements, as well as the decorative factors of how it will make your room look and feel.

Lets talk about practicality and functionality.
Think about your natural sunlight or light from other sources like street lights or adjacent building. How much you do you want to control it? Do you need a full blockout, or do you want to filter the light? Also consider which way the window is facing, the sun can be harsh in Australia and choosing the right lining can help you with heat and energy efficiency.

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Sunscreen Roller Blind

Often a bedroom will require a sheer for privacy and a blockout for sleeping, this can’t always be achieved with one layer and you might need to consider a blockout blind with a sheer curtain, or a blockout curtain and a sheer curtain, or a double blind.

Double Roller Blind

What other elements do you need to consider in this space? If it is a bathroom you might need to consider water and condensation and choose a material that can withstand the moisture.

Honeycomb Blind

Next, think about your furniture placement. Are you putting a piece of furniture under a window? In that case I would choose a blind, curtains never fall nicely if they are tucked behind a piece of furniture, and sill length curtains don’t give you the same impact a beautifully made roman blind or classic plantation shutters will.

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Roman Blind

Lastly, where are you going to hang your window coverings and/or stack them? Do you have room to hang a curtain rod above your window? If you don’t have room above your window, can you hang curtains from the ceiling, or can you fit a blind recessed inside your window architrave? Do you have space to stack your curtains to the side? If you chose a plantation shutter, have you got room to open it to access the window?

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Plantation Shutters

Now lets talk about the look you want to achieve and how to choose fabrics and colours.
What is your decor style? Do you want your space to feel casual and relaxed or would you prefer a more tailored and formal look? Some types of window coverings work better with certain styles than others, for example, a floral curtain would be perfect in a cottage, but probably not in a sleek and modern highrise with minimalist style. It would take me days to go through all the different styles and options available, I would suggest popping on to Pinterest and finding your style, then have a look at the window treatments that are used in the rooms you love.

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Pinch Pleat Curtains

Often larger rooms with large windows look beautiful with curtains and smaller rooms benefit from the more streamlined look of blinds, but this isn’t always the case and each room needs to be considered individually. Maybe you have an tiny window with an amazing outlook, curtains are a great way to frame your view.

Curtains framing a small window

When you are choosing your fabric and colours consider what other elements are already in the room, things like floor coverings, paint colours or wallpaper and existing furniture. Remember, you don’t have to create a matchy matchy space, but you want all your colours and patterns to compliment each other. If in doubt, choose a beautiful sheer curtain or neutral fabric, they are timeless and won’t date.

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S-Fold Sheer Curtain

Lastly, don’t forget to consider what your house will look like from the outside? You might prefer all your window coverings to be the same colour from the front of your home, or it might not matter to you at all.

When I finished my research and I was confident I would make the right decisions, I took the plunge and ordered my curtains and blinds for my living room from Blinds Online.

Here’s the thought process I had for my space.
It’s a tricky bay window, very large and high with multiple 135 degree angles and minimal space at the sides to stack my curtains.

BEFORE – the putrid pink curtains!

I wanted to filter the light, and would usually choose a sheer but I ruled this out as I didn’t want to block the view. The window faces East and gets the morning sun for a short period of time, I decided a roman blind would be perfect as I can lower them enough to block the sun but not close of the window entirely. We also have a fireplace in this room and I wanted it to feel cosy in the winter, so I added a curtain to layer over the blinds. Having two layers gives me the ultimate choice to control the light from partly blocked with the roman blind to nearly full blockout if I close both the blind and curtains. You can choose from S-fold, Eyelet, Pencil Pleat or Pinch Pleated curtain headings, I chose the pinch pleat for this room for it’s classic and tailored look.
I chose to recess fit the roman blinds as the windows are very high and it will only block the light I want it to block.
The curtains will be ceiling hung on a simple rod I had bent to mimic the shape of my window as this gives me the cleanest, most streamlined look and doesn’t detract from the beautiful roman blinds. I know I’m ignoring my own advice as I don’t have space at the sides to stack the curtains back on the walls, but as I also said, each room is individual and some rules need to be broken, especially when you are dealing with a tricky window.

Roman Blind – V&A William Morris Fruit, Autumn

As for fabric choices, I knew I wanted something fun, but also timeless and I wanted to add colour without it being too bright or overwhelming. I saw the Blinds Online  collaboration with V&A featuring the range of William Morris fabrics and I knew this was something I would like. I popped online and had a browse. I instantly fell in love with a fabric called Fruit (AKA as Pomegranate) in the Autumn colour palette. I knew I had to use it, but things often look different on your computer screen than what they do it person, so I ordered a few samples. You can order up to 10 samples for free to help you choose at home from Blinds Online. I knew I was having a roman blind and a curtain so I also ordered a few plain fabric samples for the roman blind that I thought would coordinate well with one of the patterned fabrics I chose.

Once my samples arrived I placed them in my space and observed how they looked throughout the day with the changing daylight. I still loved the Fruit fabric and had to use it. I knew that the curtains wouldn’t get closed often in this room and certainly not during the day, but I really wanted to appreciate the full pattern of this fabric so I decided to switch up my original plan and use it as the roman blind where I could enjoy the full design more often.
Then I chose a plain Oatmeal linen blend for the curtains, It compliments the Fruit fabric and is beautifully classic and timeless.

Curtains – Bijou Oatmeal Linen

Now I knew what type of window coverings I wanted and I’d chosen my fabrics, it was time to measure up and order online. I know this sounds scary, but it really isn’t hard at all. Before you start measuring, here’s a few things to consider –
* Even if your windows are all different, try to have your window coverings all at the same height.
* Place your curtain rods high above your window and extend it out past the window so your curtains stack on the wall not on the window, but be careful not to expose any wall between the window and curtains. This will make your windows look larger and grander. It will not reduce any daylight, but it will provide a better blockout when they are closed.
* When determining the length, nearly touching the floor is ideal, Blinds Online suggest 15mm above the floor. I know we’ve all seen the images of curtains puddled on the floor on Pinterest, it looks so luxurious and glamorous, it’s hardly practical if you have kids and pets, but if you have a space it will work in, go for it!

To measure up you will need a tape measure, something to write your measurements down on and possibly a stool if you need to reach your ceiling. I also found it handy to have another person to help me hold the tape measure in place since my window was so big.
Tip : Please don’t try and use a ruler and shimmy it along to measure a large window, you want these measurements to be as accurate as possible.
Bigger Tip : Follow the measuring instructions online from Blind Online, they are the experts who have been doing this for for 46 years, and online for more than 14 years. They know what they are doing. If you take the time to read the instructions and follow them closely, you will be fine. They are written in easy to understand language with lots of pictures and diagrams to help you. They have separate instructions for blinds, shutters and curtains.

Once you’ve placed your order you can track it here.

As soon as I’ve got mine ready to go, I’ll show you how to hang them and the before and after photos.
I can’t wait, are you as excited as me?

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

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My window has better clothes than I do!

It’s true!
My window has the most amazing new dress and I just had to share it with y’all.
She’s been naked for quite a while now and every time I looked at her I felt embarrassed by her exposed frames and glass.  Winter has been approaching and the lack of any window coverings made the house feel even colder and open to the cold winter nights.

BEFORE & AFTER
BEFORE & AFTER

Finally I decided to do something about it.
Choosing curtains can be such a pain, having those pushy sales people around to your house with their little folders of fabric and unwanted opinions. I have done this exercise so many times and I was not looking forward to wasting hours getting multiple quotes and still gasping with shock every time I finally received one back.

This time I decided to try an online service, I am using online shopping more and more these days so I thought it was worth a try. I looked at a few different sites and read lots of reviews and settled on Pret-a-Portiere. They supply made to measure curtains and drapes that are easy to buy and install yourself. They also supply to interior stylist and decorators worldwide.

I popped over to their website armed with my window dimensions and Pinterest ideas.
I knew I wanted linen, I am currently having a love affair with anything and everything linen and they have a whole section dedicated to linen drapery, I was happy to see so many options available. It was a hard decision, there is so many styles to choose from, but I decided to go with the Soho design with the double bottom banding. I have seen this type of curtain a few times in my favourite designer spaces and was excited when I realised I could achieve this look in my own home.

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Next step is to choose your header style and colours, again, such a hard decision as there is so many different combinations to choose from. I went with a Double Pinch Pleat and 2.5 x fullness. I chose Snow and Mountain Blue as my colours.

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When you have made all your selections you will be given a quote right then and there, none of this – ‘give us all your details and then we’ll e-mail you stuff’, they give you a quote immediately.
You can chose to ‘add to cart’ and get your curtains underway or you can go back and try a different selection.

They only took a few weeks to arrive and I was completely blown away by the quality. I have had custom curtains made before, but these are amazing. I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful weight of the linen, the precise workmanship or the fact that they are just gorgeous, but I am totally in love with them.

 I put hubby to work hanging them, which is really quite easy and I probably could have done it myself, but he was home and I know how much he loves me ordering him around.
My window is no longer naked, her linen dress is much more fabulous than anything in my wardrobe and the whole space finally feels finished and cosy.

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What do you think?
Curtains make such difference to a space, they make it feel complete. I love closing them at night to keep the warmth in and I’m sure they will be great in summer to keep the afternoon sun out. And who doesn’t love the glow of filtered light through linen curtains, it’s just dreamy!

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If you want to have a play with some options for your own home, grab a tape measure and head over to Pret-a Portiere and get some instant ideas, advice and prices!

But here’s the bit you’ve all been waiting for ….
I have some curtains to giveaway to one very lucky home!!!
You may choose from the Soho (same as mine) or Madison range in any colour combination up to the value of $1100, I know … you don’t want to miss this one!!!
We’d love it if you follow Pret-a-Portiere and myself on Instagram here and here, and please come and make friends on my blog mailing list.
Leave a comment here or on Instagram telling us where you need new curtains.
EASY PEASY!

Check back here next week to see if you’re the winner, and don’t worry if you’re not because I will have something special for you anyway – a code to receive 20% off your purchase from Pret-a-Portiere!

HERE IT IS – MLL20 for 20% off!!!

There’s no need for naked windows anymore!

Happy Shopping!

Hayley x

*Competition is open worldwide. Entries close at 11:59pm on Friday 28th July 2017. Winner will be announced Sunday 30th July 2017. No purchase is required. Entrant must answer the question, the winner will be chosen by Pret-a-Portiere.

** UPDATE – WE HAVE A WINNER!!! As chosen by Alice from Pret-a-Portiere the winner is Michele.J. CONGRATULATIONS! Alice from Pret-a-Portiere will be in contact to organise your prize.

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