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Finished Front Porch Columns (And A Few New Photos Of The Front Exterior)

My front porch columns are finished! If you missed the first two posts about this project, you can find them here:

So after working for two days to correct that setback and get them all primed and painted, here’s how they turned out…

Quite an improvement from skinny, bare 4″ x 4″ posts, right?

This porch has had bare posts since the day we bought the house. It’s amazing the difference it made to wrap them!

I kept the tops very simple and attached some panel moulding to a 1″ x 2″ piece of wood with wood glue and a few tiny finishing nails. Once the glue dried, I cut the pieces to fit around the tops of the columns, mitered on the corners.

The columns may be done, but by no means does this mean that the front porch is finished. There’s still a long list of things to do, and that’s even before I get to landscaping (which is desperately needed, as you can see). The porch still has no ceiling, I still need to decide what to do with the concrete around the base of the porch, and I still need to build new steps with handrails.

And as far as the concrete around the base of the porch goes, I have a picture to show you exactly why doing nothing isn’t an option. Last night after getting everything finished, I hosed off all of the dust from the porch, and then stood back to take a picture. Here’s what the concrete looked like, and what it looks like every time it rains…

Since it’s not sealed, it turns dark when it gets wet. And since it never gets wet evenly, it turns into this ugly light gray/dark brown patchwork eyesore. So again, doing nothing isn’t an option.

After discussing three different options in this post last week, I decided to do some mock ups with my photo editing software. I actually fully expected to like the stone look the best, but my favorite ended up being this non-lattice simple white trim. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a picture of the finished columns when I did this, and I didn’t take the time to do a new mock up with the finished columns, so you’ll have to use your imagination. 🙂

But regardless of the direction I go with that, it’ll have to wait until the new steps and handrails are finished.

So there’s still lots to do, but it feels great to finally be making some headway on the exterior of the house! Here’s a look at the progress so far…

When we bought the house, the main part of the front exterior looked like this…

And now it looks like this…

The windows to the left of the front door are still the original windows. I’m hoping that we can at least get the three remaining original windows on the front of the house replaced this year. That will leave just the three remaining original windows on the left side of the house.

The porch area is probably the most changed area of the front of the house (followed closely by the garage). Here’s a great view of what the porch looked like originally, with its two doors, original windows, concrete porch floor, ramp, and vinyl siding. The side wall was also covered in stone, which has since been removed…

And here’s how that looks now…

The view from this angle (the stone side of the house) is the least changed since we bought the house. Here’s the original view…

And here’s how it looks now…

We’ve still got two windows with window unit air conditioners in them, and I’m afraid to even attempt to take them out because I’m pretty sure that neither of those windows will actually close. So until we can get new windows, the window units have to stay, even thought they’re not used anymore.

One of the best “before” pictures I have of the front of our house is actually the one I found on Google Maps. The quality of the picture isn’t the best, but the view of the entire front of the house is pretty great, although it looks a little squished horizontally.

So much has changed since then. We got rid of the leaning (and dying) pecan tree. The garage is now my studio. We got all new siding and a new house paint color. The ramp and railing are completely gone. We got new windows on half of the house. The extra second door on the front porch has been removed and covered over. And I’m sure there’s more that I’m missing.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a “before” picture from the other angle showing the side of the studio, but that’s the side of the house that’s the most changed. I started out with a sad little garage with doors so narrow that I could barely fit my not-so-big car inside, and a dark and dirty front porch area…

…and now, those areas look like this…

One thing I do plan to change is the paint color on the vertical trim pieces on the corners of the studio. After getting the columns finished, I noticed that the vertical white trim just seemed too busy, and was competing with the columns. You might notice that I already painted the vertical trim pieces on either end of the porch, and I think it looks so much better. I had hoped to get the rest of the vertical trim painted, but I ran out of time. And that will make it more cohesive with the other side of the house since the stone doesn’t have vertical white trim pieces on the corners.

So it’s getting there! There’s still so much to do, but it’s come a long way since we bought the house.

 



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77 Comments

  • ← Reply To This Person
    CathyR
    March 21, 2018 at 10:09 am

    From the Google pic to now it looks like you stretched your front porch! What a magician you are!!😜
    You have to be so proud !!!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Johnnie Dunford
      April 27, 2019 at 12:14 pm

      Wow. Just found your blog via Google search for ideas on my porch. I love that you bumped out the columns to make the door centered, so smart! Probably a blessing you figured out the rain damage early on vs years later with dry rot. I cant wait to see what you do over the concrete stairs! Doesnt even look like the same house not having all the bushes near the house really gives a clean view while making design choices. Amazing!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    VaBarb
    March 21, 2018 at 10:15 am

    It looks so great. Love the idea for the porch skirt. You are really amazing and a great inspiration!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jayme
    March 21, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Your house looks amazing! You are the prime example of how a good house that needs a lot of TLC can turn into a great house with tons of character and beauty…one project at a time. If I looked at a house like yours I would be so overwhelmed with the amount of work it needs that I’d have to just move on. But I am so happy that you are resurrecting this beauty. I loathe new construction homes…they just look so temporary! Keep up the good work!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Judy
    March 21, 2018 at 10:21 am

    You have so much to be proud of. Great job.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Laurie
    March 21, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Right after you said, “Here’s what the concrete looked like, and what it looks like every time it rains…”, there came up a picture of a whole lot of rusty rebar. I could not figure out what you had photographed that would look like that. Took a second to realize that it wasn’t your picture! LOLOLOL

    Love how the house is morphing into something wonderful!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Joyce
    March 21, 2018 at 10:27 am

    I am in love and so jealous that I dont have a front porch! The trim over the cement is going to look amazing. Will you paint the cement black like you did under the porch flooor boards?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

      I’ll either do that, or I’ll use a concrete stain and stain it really dark. Since it’s obviously so porous, I think it would take stain really well. And since stain penetrates the concrete, it wouldn’t peel off in the future like paint might. But I’ll need to do a bit of research on both option and see which one makes the most sense. But either way, it will be very dark before I put the trim over it.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Emily S
        March 23, 2018 at 2:06 pm

        I love this idea of a concrete stain! The columns and porch are so beautiful, I think a skirt in front of the concrete will just compete. If it was my house I would leave the concrete as I personally don’t think the water thing is an issue – everything looks different when it rains, but the picture further down that you posted with everything dry looks nice to me!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Carol F
    March 21, 2018 at 10:33 am

    It’s like night and day! I wouldn’t have bought the house as it originally looked. It’s so beautiful now!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    patty reed-pederson
    March 21, 2018 at 10:34 am

    You are Amazing!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    ~ Angela
    March 21, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Wow! The improvements are stunning! You should be so proud of your talent and hard work!! 😊😊😊😊

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Tracy
    March 21, 2018 at 10:44 am

    Awesome Kristi. I was going to comment on those vertical trim boards, glad you could see that they needed painted. The trim against the house porch floor catches my eye too.
    A pergola like trellis over the studio windows would be cute, connect those two windows and add some dimension to that side of the house. ( I love a pergola)
    Landscaping is going be the home run! I’m so jealous of that huge amazing tree. Please don’t skimp on the landscaping, go big go bold!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

      I’m actually planning on a trellis over the breakfast room windows. They’ll need something like that since there’s no enough room there to do the shutters and window boxes that I plan for the studio windows. And Matt and I were discussing this morning that we need a grand landscaping plan for that area in front of the breakfast room windows, but I’m at a loss. I know I want some sort of fountain/bird bath with gently flowing water and other things like that that will attract the birds, but other than that, I’m clueless. 😀 Landscaping is definitely not my thing, so I’m sure I’ll have to call in a pro for help.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Mary Henderson
        March 21, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        We have a bubble rock fountain that the birds just love. And we gets lots of compliments on it from people who pass by.
        Here’s a website
        http://www.bluethumbponds.com/bubbling-rocks.html

        • ← Reply To This Person
          Kristi
          March 21, 2018 at 12:57 pm

          I love that! That’s the very type of thing I’m hoping to have in that little area. I’d love to sit at that window at the breakfast room table and watch birds.

          • ← Reply To This Person
            Marianne in Mo.
            March 21, 2018 at 3:05 pm

            Birds love moving water as opposed to still water. And they want a hiding place nearby (bush/tree) where they can go to dry off after a bath. Just a bit of FYI! (They also love misters or light sprays!)

          • ← Reply To This Person
            Rebecca Neustel
            April 2, 2018 at 1:07 am

            I’m glad you’re thinking of doing the bubble fountain for the birds! The trellis will be great for giving them a place close by they can fly to, so they can get away from predators. But, I do have to tell this story. I was at a friend’s house once in East TX, watching the hummingbirds feed at the porch overhang, and we saw a big, black rat snake hang his head off the edge of the porch and grab a little hummingbird!! It was pretty freaky, so I guess you might have to watch out for sneaky snakes!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Mark Tisdale
    March 21, 2018 at 10:46 am

    Great work – I know there’s much more you want to do, but it’s already night and day!

    Mark

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Barbara H.
    March 21, 2018 at 10:47 am

    It’s a wonderful transformation. Good job!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Gwen
    March 21, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Well done Kristi, it’s really beautiful. And once again you’re proving your eye for detail by painting those vertical trim boards. Also quite loved the mock up of those vertical boards on the porch foundation. What do you know – my least favorite of the options you posted but it does indeed look quite charming!

    BTW, hope to see you pop one of these what-it-looks-like-now pictures from today’s post into your “current” Front Exterior & Front Yard” house tour post. It just keeps getting better and better! 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Gaye Austin
    March 21, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Stunning difference…amazed how a new porch and new addition turned this very sad and neglected house into your sweet palace! “jello” and happy for you and Matt!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Betsy
    March 21, 2018 at 11:03 am

    I wasn’t much of a believer in the non-lattice simple white trim for your porch but the mock up looks pretty good, I have to admit!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Tracy
    March 21, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Looking good, Miss Kristi!

    Two things… what are you plans for gutters and downspouts?

    and two…. you might want to look into down there, but a couple different landscaping companies near me offer a landscaping master plan for $75-$100 (that was the price for just the front of my house.) (You get it all back if you buy your product from them.) This way you know what you’re working toward and as the budget and your time allows you can add in pieces. It was well worth it to pay them. I got some of my plants from them because they had unusual varieties, but I got the main pieces from my home improvement center (or late in the season when everything’s on clearance!)

    You’re doing great…Keep on keeping on!!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 11:26 am

      For a little longer, I’m ignoring the gutter and downspout issue. 😃 I hate the thought of adding a downspout and having it wreck the look of my column, but I know I have to address the issue eventually.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Tracy
        March 21, 2018 at 11:35 am

        A rain chain would be a good option, they are less abstrusive from a distance.

        • ← Reply To This Person
          Kristi
          March 21, 2018 at 1:05 pm

          I do love a rain chain! I was looking at them just the other day and found two that I really like. It seems like the water splashes a lot, though, so I wasn’t sure if they actually do a good job at directing the water away.

          • ← Reply To This Person
            Marianne in Mo.
            March 21, 2018 at 3:10 pm

            I saw on Ask this old house where they set a planter at the bottom, with the chain going in to it, and filled it with river stones. You could include in that a smaller pot with a trailing plant, like Asparagus Fern, to soften the look. The rain water went through the rocks and out several drainage holes drilled into the bottom of the big pot.

          • ← Reply To This Person
            Tracy
            March 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm

            We’ve had them next to a porch, and splash wasn’t a problem. They do usually have gravel/rocks at the base and in the ground a French drain type tubing to direct the water away from the foundation a ft or two.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Brenda Pawloski
    March 21, 2018 at 11:06 am

    Just beautiful! I’ll bet your neighbors are happy too. Can you make that non-lattice trim to cover the concrete foundation out of that same plastic wood you used to trim your column bases?

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I’d definitely use the PVC boards. I don’t think real wood would last long at all that close to the ground unless it’s pressure treated. But even then, it wouldn’t last as long as PVC.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Anon
        March 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm

        That skirt idea is adorable…would be so cute at a beach cottage, where sand wouldn’t be a problem. But do you really want to clean dirt and leaves off/out of it? Hosing it off won’t be great if it just hits the dirt and splatters up mud. And the leaves will get stuck in the slats. Unless you have pebbles/stones covering the ground. But the leaves would still be an issue, no?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Dale
    March 21, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Kristi,
    you are really doing a great job. I love that you are doing the outside. I bet the neighbors compliment you !!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Nikki H
    March 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

    What a fantastic transformation! I can’t wait to see what you do next.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Lez Fairbanks
    March 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Wonderful job amazed at your work ethic.
    On the side question, in one of the pictures I see little coloured flage, when on holiday in Florida we noticed them and assumed they mark cables or pipes, can you please tell.
    I’m in the uk

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Shannon
      March 21, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Lez, the little flags are used to mark the utility lines like electrical, gas or cable before construction.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Yes, what Shannon said. 🙂 I’m planning to have a landscape pro come out very soon to come up with a plan for me, hopefully including an irrigation system. Any time you plan a project that will include digging, there’s a number you call and they’ll notify the various utility companies to come out and mark the lines for you. So far, they’ve marked the gas, sewer and water lines for me. I’m guessing that’s all of them, because they were supposed to all be marked by yesterday.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Tracy
        March 21, 2018 at 5:08 pm

        Electric lines🙂

        • ← Reply To This Person
          Kristi
          March 21, 2018 at 5:51 pm

          We’re in an old part of town. We don’t have underground electric lines. Our electric lines are all on poles about 20 feet high.

          • ← Reply To This Person
            Lez
            March 21, 2018 at 6:00 pm

            Thank you all. At one place we went through they all had the flags I fact so many we thought it was some sort of celebration lol.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Rochelle Blackford
    March 21, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Looks great! Can you tell me what photo editing software you use? My house has a dark barn red steel roof and we are going to be replacing the siding this summer. I’ve been looking for software to use so I can do some color coordination with the siding and the roof. I don’t think im going to have many options.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Adele
      March 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm

      Most of the big paint companies have on-line programs in which you can up load your photo and then change different elements to a color of their paint. Might work for your purpose.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      I think the paint companies’ websites are the easiest way to “test” paint colors on a house. The software that I use is called Paint Shop Pro. I bought it on Ebay, but you can also find it on Amazon. It’s a great program, but there’s a learning curve, and I still haven’t figured out an easy way to change colors on things. I think that Photoshop makes that pretty easy, but it’s a very expensive program.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Lisa Johnson
    March 21, 2018 at 11:15 am

    You are making such nice progress now, Kristi! I love how the columns tie in with the style of the mailbox, too. I have forgotten (sorry!), are you building a ramp on the back of the house for the wheelchair? Or are you doing something at the studio/office door? Everything is looking so crisp and fresh! I’m so glad you painted your front door that cheery coral! Great job! 🙂

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      For immediate use, we have a ramp going from the doors of the music room down to the sunroom and out the back door. But the final plan will include a back deck directly off the family room door, and that deck will have a ramp down to ground level. And then there will be another ramp from the French doors at the back of the studio to the carport. That’s the one that will probably be used regularly.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Kathy Gray
    March 21, 2018 at 11:18 am

    I admire your fortitude, ambition and vision. Great jobs on everything. I also enjoy the comments from your loyal fans. I’m sure they will help you with landscaping.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Arli
    March 21, 2018 at 11:22 am

    Incredible! It looks fantastic! Congrats on all your hard work.

    A few flats of annual flowers in front of the porch and maybe a few buckets would do wonders until you can organize and implement a full landscaping plan (if it won’t be right away).

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Gail
    March 21, 2018 at 11:26 am

    Such a beautiful transformation!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Nancy
    March 21, 2018 at 11:36 am

    The whole thing looks great and I love the vertical lattice around the skirt of the porch. It will add some real interest. I can’t wait to see the addition of window boxes and trellis!

    Don’t ignore gutters too long…I have very similar columns and ended up having to replace the wood of the fascia and columns at one end from the rot that developed since rainwater wasn’t being siphoned away. Lesson learned after having to do all the repair work!

    Nancy

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Shannon
    March 21, 2018 at 11:43 am

    It is looking pretty amazing. The front porch looks inviting and I do agree about the vertical trim being painted the same color of the house. Keep up the good work.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Heather Gillett
    March 21, 2018 at 11:53 am

    Fantastic transformation to date! Looking forward to seeing it finished.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Linda
    March 21, 2018 at 11:55 am

    I agree with some others here. My least favorite covering of concrete under porch turns out best in your mockup! Love it! You’re simply amazing!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Bev
    March 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Absolutely ahhhhmazing. You remain my hero!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    sharon
    March 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    I like your mock-up skirt. I would also leave the water table trim on your house below the porch white to tie into the skirting. Even your mock-up little garden is perfect 🙂
    Such a talented handy woman!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Annie
    March 21, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Love what you did with the house. However, I am not 100% sure I like the color of the stone with the gray of the rest of the house. Have you thought of painting the stone, maybe a lighter, fresher color?

    Congrats on the hard work!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Catherine
    March 21, 2018 at 12:35 pm

    Your improvements are amazing! Beautiful!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sandra
    March 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm

    Love it all! The vertical trim looks much better painted the house color. There’s another little section that would also blend in better if painted that color; it’s the corner up above the porch next to the trim. I have that same configuration on my house and couldn’t figure out what I didn’t like about it till I changed it from white to the house body color (also a similar gray as yours). It blends in and looks MUCH better now.

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Kristi
      March 21, 2018 at 1:29 pm

      Do you mean the trim that’s visible in the second picture of the close up of the top of the unfinished column? If so, I’ve already painted it the house color. I did that on both sides of the porch, and it does look so much better. The one area that I can’t figure out now is the outside side of the porch roof (on the right side of the porch) that’s visible in the first photo. It has both siding and trim. I originally had the siding painted the house color, and the trim (horizontal, vertical, and angled) painted the trim color. I hated it. So yesterday I painted it all white, but I don’t like that either. I think the horizontal part that meets the columns needs to be white, and the angled trim close to the shingles needs to be white. So I guess next I’ll try painting the little bit of siding plus the vertical trim board the house color. Hopefully that’ll be the right combo, but I’m totally open to suggestions.

      • ← Reply To This Person
        Sandra
        March 21, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        Yes Kristi, THAT”S exactly what I was talking about…that piece that you’re puzzling over. I think you’ll like it painted the house color, trim and all.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Dolores Reese
    March 21, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Wow! Its a stunning improvement already. Your across street neighbor must love it! I always like when my neighbors do improvements!

    • ← Reply To This Person
      Marianne in Mo.
      March 21, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Agree! At our old house, the house across the street was totally bare of plants for about 5 years, and in one window upstairs they had alternating curtains – orange, blue, orange, blue. Drove. ME. CRAZY!!! They FINALLY landscaped, with shrubs, flowers, a tree and decorative rock. YAY! Better. But when we move two years ago, those curtains (now faded) were still hanging. Also, they had some sort of lacy curtains in the master, which you could see right through. I mentioned it to them in case they weren’t aware, but they didn’t seem to care. PEOPLE – Look at your houses from across the street – day and night! I also had a friend who realized after two years that you could see her in the bathroom from behind her house!!!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    janpartist
    March 21, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    I has to feel so rewarding to drive up to your home now! Looks great, and just think, it’s not even finished!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    SusieQ
    March 21, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    Wondering what kind of comments you’ve received from the neighbors? They better be upping their game cause your house looks amazing!! 🙂

  • ← Reply To This Person
    chiflipper
    March 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Irrigation tip…have it “hard piped” (PVC). The old method of using flexible pipe does not last, it develops “splits”. You fix one, another one occurs. I learned about this issue after having my own “repaired” 3 times. Pony up for several valves; the turf requires one schedule, trees another, bushes a third.
    I think what you have done to the exterior is just fabulous!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Marianne in Mo.
    March 21, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    Yay, you like the same skirting that I do! It really looks good on your house! The before and afters already are awesome, so it will be stunning when completed!

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sharon C
    March 21, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Such a transformation, your home is looking just beautiful Kristi. You must feel so proud of what you’ve done already as the curb appeal is looking so totally different, new, fresh, stylish. The front door color looks awesome and can’t wait to see the difference with all the decor touches added…….shutters, planter boxes, new steps, landscaping. You’ve done an amazing job, kudos to you. Well done. I imagine your neighbors are so envious?

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Holly C
    March 21, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    Spectacular and totally inspiring. You are my hero, literally.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Wendi
    March 21, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    My vision includes pretty shutters and window boxes full of flowers on those other 2 front windows.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sheri Hepworth
    March 21, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    You have probably made your neighbours so very happy!! You’ve done a stellar job. Congrats.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    KathieB
    March 22, 2018 at 8:33 am

    My, O my! Your vision is coming to life. I salute you, your vision, your perseverance, and craftsmanship! How I wish it were 30 years younger right now.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Sue
    March 22, 2018 at 8:39 am

    It’s coming together. While I originally wanted you to paint the cement, I think the vertical lattice will look nicer with plants in front of it. I like the columns very much – clean and bright.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Tee
    March 22, 2018 at 8:43 am

    Love following along, you inspire me to dream bigger on my home diy wish list. Thank you.
    Love how the porch is coming along. Regarding the skirting, your mock up looks great but it is only the view of the porch. Feel like a whole house view mock up would perhaps lead to the stone option for the foundation area. Especially if the stairs/railings will be white. Just a thought.

  • ← Reply To This Person
    Jaybird
    March 23, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    I think the neighbors are waiting with bated breath to see what happens next ;^)
    It is looking beautiful!!
    blessings,
    J

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