Pierre Frey Colette Fabric

Pierre Frey Colette Fabric

One of our favourite fabrics from Pierre Frey is the Colette collection. It is woven in one of their Northern France Living Heritage Mills, and looks beautiful on the 1920's style sofas we make. 

Tone-on-tone fabric with a tiny feather pattern available in a variety of colours.  A high-quality chenille fabric thread is used for the weft. In addition to its soft, comfortable feel and outstanding resistance, the chenille thread reacts to weaving by coiling and adds a wealth of highlights to the colours available in this collection. A cotton and viscose mix makes this a hard wearing fabric. Luxury at an affordable price without the advantage of not having to worry if it will wear out.

Pierre Frey have some amazing fabrics at some eye watering prices, which for most us, are out of reach, but this is one of their fabrics which is timeless and worth spending your hard earned cash on.

An inventive family business with a strong sense of eclecticism by combining craftsmanship and modernity, Pierre Frey was  founded in 1935. Maison Pierre Frey creates and produces fabrics by taking inspiration from classical and contemporary art, or from faraway ethnic groups, always interpreting it in a very French style.

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Small Sofas

Small Sofas

Why in this day and age of smaller homes and small rooms are sofas from many of the national retailers so huge? I do giggle to myself every time I see that sofa advert with Owen Wilson sat on a huge sofa in front of a window which looks out to sea (I had to google him as I didn't know who he was) . How many of you have that view and a home that size which would fit that sofa? We can all dream but that aside, there is nothing worse than having to sit on a sofa or chair which is not comfortable.

Many sofas and chairs are very deep which is fine if you are six foot tall or have long legs, but for most of us, they can be just too deep. We have lots of customers who say they cannot find a sofa or chair so their feet touch the floor. If this has been a problem for you, then you could consider one of our traditional hand made sofas. Because they are based on older traditional designs, they are smaller and not so deep. Because we make the frames ourselves, we can alter them to suit your needs. Because we make them ourselves, we have 1000's of fabric to choose from. Because we are a family run business, you can speak to us, come and see us and even see your sofa frame.

If it sounds complicated, its really not. If it sounds expensive our prices are comparable to high street chains, but if you are comparing, make sure its like for like. We do not use chipboard, our frames are beech. We do not use serpentine springs, but a traditional coil sprung seat. This means your sofa is made to last. We don't make furniture to throw away in five years time.

If you are looking for a restored sofa, we do tend to buy small sofas. If you see a sofa on our website which has yet to be restored and re-upholstered, then you can choose the final fabric. You can visit our workshop and see the sofa in its original state. You do need some imagination, but having an old piece restored is much better for the environment than buying a sofa which is not going to last.

Before you dash off to the nearest retail park, then do consider speaking to us and coming to see us. We don't have a huge showroom, but what we will do is give you the best advice we can and help you find a comfortable sofa for you.

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Environmentally friendly, sustainable living

Environmentally friendly, sustainable living

It looks like everyone is jumping on the environmentally friendly, sustainable living band wagon. Call me cynical, but when have the big manufactures cared about anything but profit? I now see that a large national "sales ends soon" company are offering a range of sofas which are made from sustainable wood (its actually quite difficult to buy wood which isn't from a sustainable source). They don't actually say what type of wood they are using, so sustainable it may be, long lasting doesn't mean the same thing. Their springs are made from recycled steel. They are still only zig zag springs which don't last and are one of the cheapest ways of putting springs in a sofa. Fabrics are made from recycled bottles. The fabric is still plastic, and whatever fabric you use, a huge amount of energy and chemicals is used to produce these fabrics. I love the idea of recycled fabric and using plastic is better than it going into landfill.

I'm all for saving the planet as much as we can, but I do believe you have to delve further into this matter. Where is your furniture made, UK or quite often the Far East. Lets face it, its much cheaper to have sofas mass produced in countries which don't have the same employment standards as we do in the UK. These are then shipped in containers from the other side of the world. Not very environmentally friendly. I often wonder how much these workers are paid to make this type of furniture. 

Wool is a better fabric to use in my opinion. Its a natural product and will compost without harm. Many wools are made in the UK, but the wool does come from the other side of the world due to the UK not having the correct sheep to produce enough wool needed for the demand. Not as green as we would like, but it is all compromise. If you are wanting to have a more sustainable lifestyle then small things do help. Not replacing furniture every five years because you want a change. When buying replacement, do you want new or restored? If you want new, buy new which will still be around in 30 years not 10 years. Each and everyone of us have to make these decisions if we want this planet to survive, but if we all try and make small changes, these can make a difference.

Shop locally, buy quality and as Vivienne Westwood once said, "Buy less, choose well, make it last" Handmade sofas

 

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1960's Style Chair heads to Sheffield

1960's Style Chair heads to Sheffield

As lock down continues, so does our business. In November I had a call from a lady who had seen the 1960's chair we make on our website in the two tone lime green fabric. Unfortunately, the fabric was not longer available so it was decided that she would like a raspberry colour to bring a splash of colour into her living room.

I arranged fabric samples to be sent and she chose the fabric which is on the chair. The textured weave is a new fabric from Romo's Oxley collection, an upholstery weave with modern charm; an intriguing combination of boucl√©, undulating chenille and knitted yarns, with a tactile quality and colourful appeal. This was for the seat cushion and the inside back, with contrast detail buttons in the plain fabric.  The arms and outside back are from the Linara collection, an exquisite cotton-linen blend, Linara has a beautiful brushed finish with an exceptionally soft, peach-skin feel that adds a luxurious quality to this versatile plain. Highly acclaimed, Linara is practical and durable and with 360 colours available, there is always a colour which suits most homes. Both are hard wearing fabrics.

Delivered to its new home to be used as a reading chair, these 1960's style are chairs are both comfortable, practical and perfect if you have a small space.

These 1960's style chairs are individually hand made. It takes 32 pieces of timber to make these frames. The angles are complicated and not easy to get right, but if you look at the shape, you can see its not a simple design. This was copied from an original 1960's arm chair which we adapted for the 21st century.

You can view more here 1960s chair

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Welcome back

Welcome back

We were finally able to re-open our doors on Monday and its been a fantastic week. After 14 long weeks, its lovely to see so many customers, old and new, and to see Shrewsbury buzzing again. The weather has been kind (a little chilly) so many have been able to support the hospitality industry by eating and drinking outside. It feels like we have our freedom again, although we must remember this can change quickly if we do not continue to social distance.

Free parking is available in the council car parks for another week, so make the most of it whilst its on offer. Wyle Cop and the High Street is closed to through traffic from 11 am to 5 pm, so you can wonder around Shrewsbury at a safe distance.

If you've not ventured out yet, the please do come and see us. You have been missed.

 

 

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One month to go -12th April

One month to go -12th April

Keeping everything crossed that non essential retail will be open on the 12th April. I don't know about you but I'm so looking forward to re-opening the shop and seeing customers. This latest lock down has been tough on everyone.

Our youngest son has only been back to school a few days and his mood has improved, he is much more talkative and I think he is pleased to be back at school (he may say otherwise) Its not good for teenagers not being able to socialize. Our eldest son has still not been to university but we are hoping for some news after Easter.

Talking of teenagers not being able to socialize, its not good for me either. Those who have met me know I like a good chat. I have customers who quite often call in for a catch up or just to say hello. I love that they can do this with me. Having been open for almost 20 years, many of my customers have seen my children grow up and will call in to ask how they are getting on. Some of my customers live on their own and will call in for a bit of company. I don't mind this one bit. I have missed this enormously. I'm hoping by the time we are able to open, I will have had the first vaccination. I know many of my customers will have already had the first vaccination and will be keen to meet their family and friends. Things won't be normal for sometime, but getting out and shopping will be a step in the right direction.

Until the 12th of April, stay safe and I can't wait to catch up with you all.

Heather xx

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Kilim Footstool

Kilim Footstool

A kilim footstool in your home is the perfect compromise if you are looking to add colour and texture, without having to replace other furniture. The Linwood kilim fabric is a heavyweight soft upholstery fabric, available in five designs, inspired by Persian rug found in the bazaar.

Alti - Warm shades of ochre and burnt sienna imbue this horizontal stripe fabric - woven from a soft linen blend - a charming rustic feel.

Mahan - A timeless geometric, inspired by a Turkish motif. Woven using a linen mix, this fabric has a soft handle that makes it perfect for upholstery.

Pirot - Classic, earthy colours bring this vertical stripe, based on a Turkish rug to life. Woven using a soft linen blend, this is a great fabric for statement upholstery.

Sarouk - This classic kilim design, woven with linen/viscose space dyed yarns, is ideal for loose covers, upholstery and curtains.

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Cocktail Chair

Cocktail Chair

We've restored and re-upholstered many cocktail chairs over the years, but not had one for a few years as there are so many cheap reproductions about, and ours can look expensive. However, you do have to look much closer and understand an original cocktail chair, is a million miles away from the cheap ones available. First of all why are they so cheap? They are often made in the Far East where materials are not the same quality and the workers are often paid a pittance. These mass produced pieces are made to a fixed price so quality and attention to detail go out of the window. If you don't want a piece to last then these chairs are disposable chairs and eventually end up in landfill.

If you are looking for originality, quality and attention to detail then you've found the right company. When we buy furniture to be restored, we look at what potential it has. We love chairs which are a great shape and the curves on the back of the cocktail chairs are real head turners. A plush luxury velvet is a fabric which suits the cocktail chair style. The cocktail chair made an appearance in the 1950's but has features from the Art Deco era which was a glamorous decade. 

This cocktail chair has been stripped backed to the frame, a new traditional coil sprung seat, and the top cover is a teal velvet from Kirkby Design. If look closely at the piping around the back, you won't see a single stitch. This has all been hand stitched to ensure a cleaner smother finish. All these details matter to us as we pride ourselves in offering furniture for customers who are looking for something different, and individual.

You can call on 01743 352102 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you would like further information.   

https://www.littlefurnitureshop.co.uk/ready-to-buy/1950s-cocktail-chair-detail

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Lock down 3, month one

Lock down 3, month one

One month of lock down 3 already gone. January did feel like an eternity if I'm honest but we are into February now, snowdrops in the garden, daffs poking their heads through so it feels like Spring is fighting its way to get through, and our shop will hopefully be open soon.

I've been in the workshop almost everyday with Mark. I can tell you its not easy. There is only so much tidying up to do! We've made and sold some footstools in January, re-upholstered chairs for customers, finished off a chair which is heading to Sheffield, and currently Mark is in the process of making two 1920's style sofas for a customer in Chester.

We've restored a few pieces for the shop which are on the website, taken some orders for new pieces to be made, so keeping busy. It does feel different from the first lock down. There are more vehicles on the road than before, but its feels scarier than the first lock down as so many more have been ill with the virus. Thankfully, we've been lucky but taking care to make sure when we deliver we are masked and sanitized before and after delivery. Customers have been brilliant, staying at a safe distance but it doesn't feel good having to leave quickly when we have delivered. I do like a chat with customers but now is not the time to do so.

It's also our 20th birthday in May. Yes 20 years since we opened our shop in Shrewsbury. I still believe that there is a future for the high street but you need to come and support the high street retailers before its too late. Shrewsbury has many independent retailers who are here to offer great service which you won't get from Amazon. We all will be welcoming you back as soon as we are allowed to.

In the meantime, I will continue to be the apprentice in the workshop until the shop can be opened. Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss any pieces for sale.

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Here we go again lock down 3

Here we go again lock down 3

Just four days into 2021, and the UK is back in lock down. It wasn't unexpected if we are honest as this virus has been spreading more than ever. Although the shop is now closed, you can still buy anything which is in stock and we will deliver in a Covid safe way, into the room of your choice. If you'd like to order anything, we are working in our workshop so taking orders as we are allowed to. There is only Mark and myself in the workshop, so all safe if not a bit cold.

Your support is now welcome more than ever before so please do call or email any queries, questions, or to place an order.

We look forward to seeing you when its safe for our shop to re-open. Thank you.

Heather & Mark

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Goodbye 2020, hello 2021

Goodbye 2020, hello 2021

Well, 2020, what can I say? It's been tough. January was a great start to the year. We were busy and looking forward to our best year. Then we were hit by rain, and more rain which caused Shrewsbury to have the worst floods for decades. We had to close the shop because we couldn't get in. All roads in and out were flooded. It was pretty grim. Shrewsbury even made the national news.

Just as we thought things couldn't get any worse, Covid 19, Corona virus hit the UK with vengeance and we had to close. Schools closed early for Easter, but it will be over in a few weeks, perhaps a month or by the end of April we thought. How wrong could we be. We carried on working in the workshop as we had orders to fulfill until our supplies ran out and we couldn't get anymore until our suppliers opened. They re-opened and ran out of stock as the factories making upholstery sundries had been closed. They were now having to social distance so less people working and less stock being made and going out. The NHS (quite rightly) were given priority over anyone else, so we had to make do, and do what we could. 

June re-opening was a bit of a damp squib if I'm honest. I think many people were still too scared and worried about coming out. July picked up and we had a great month. 

August's drama was our son's A level results. Not what he was expecting but after a stressful few days, the results were over turned and he got what he deserved. University at Liverpool Hope was waiting to welcome him. When the virus started to spread again in September, our son's Computer Science course was online only. As parents we were worried that he wouldn't be able to come home for a weekend if he got homesick so we all waited a few weeks to see if things improved. It got worse in Liverpool with the city going into the highest lock down in the UK. Our son, initially not happy about staying at home, was then somewhat relieved that he was able to study from the comfort of his own home. When some of his friends caught the virus from other universities, he understood our concerns and was happy to continue working from home online.

November lock down arrived. It was cold and miserable in the workshop. I can honestly say that I was not enjoying being in there and I now have more sympathy with Mark when he is grumpy from working in a cold environment. Is there such thing as a warm workshop?

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Danish Sofa Restoration

The Danish furniture we buy to restore and re-upholster is quite often unusual pieces which you may not have seen before. We like interesting individual pieces, and we can see beyond the sad upholstery. We can see shapes and detail that lots of people would miss or would not even entertain! The skills Mark has lets us buy furniture which some would turn their nose up at and dismiss without a second glance.

This particular sofa caught our attention for a few reasons. Its actually bigger than we would normally buy, but what struck us was that it wasn't deep. We have so many people come into the shop complaining that lots of furniture is so deep, their feet don't touch the floor and its not good for posture. This hit the spot and the teak arm tops gave this simple looking sofa, style and elegance without being fussy. We don't like fussy show off furniture! 

It hadn't been long on our website when a local couple came into the shop to enquire about it. They had been looking for quite sometime but couldn't find anything new they liked and most sofas were just too deep. They came out to the workshop to see the unrestored sofa and decided it was for them. They chose the orange wool from Abraham Moon as they liked bright colours. Most of the modern furniture they had been looking at was beige so beige was not even and option on this piece. Orange works so well with teak and is one of our favourite fabrics. Natural wool and hard wearing so ticks all the boxes.

The sofa was delivered yesterday, so take a look at the video to see the before and after photos. If you don't have imagination then hopefully this will help.

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We are open

So we are back open after lockdown part 2. The month has gone quickly but to have the shop closed for a month before Christmas has not been easy. We've not been twiddling our thumbs though. I've been in the workshop helping Mark and we have made a new style of sofa. It's based on another Danish sofa but with a liitle bit of detail. We are having some legs turned especially for this new design but the good news is its still small but very stylish. Watch this space!

If you are out Christmas shopping, you will find a great variety of independent shops in Shrewsbury. We've all been supporting each other through these difficult times so we would all appreciate your support. Whilst there is lots of doom and gloom on the high street, you will find everything you need from our lovely independents. You will be able to receieve great customer serice, help and advice with your purchases. What is also good news is that from Thursday 3rd Decemeber, you can park for free in any of the council car parks after 11 am. Take advantage, shop and support your independent retailers. Thank you. 

 

 

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Lock down week one

First week of lock down done. As I've not been able to open the shop, I've been in the workshop helping Mark. Lots of tidying, sorting and trying to make some space in a busy workshop. I also hasten to add a cold workshop and the key to keeping warm is to keep moving!

Last week Mark made the frame for a bespoke 1920's sofa he is making for a customer who loves just a few miles away. You can follow some of the progress on our Instagram page if you'd like to see more. I've also been taking some short videos of him working. It's not something he particularly wants to do but many of you will find this interesting. It also shows what is underneath one of our sofas. You can see the beech frame, the jute webbed seat and the springs which are all hand tied and lashed in. It how traditional seats are done. No cheap elasticated webbing, no spring units where they are nailed into a frame, just good old fashioned hand made and traditionally done. Hard work,a great deal of skill and expertise is required to do this, but Mark has been doing this for 35 years so I'd like to think he has got the hang of it now! 

If you'd like to see more of our new sofas and chairs, handmade in Shropshire then take a look here Handmade sofas Handmade chairs

 

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Covid 19 update lock down part 2

Covid 19 update lock down part 2

As a non essential business, I had to close the shop from 5th November. The door is locked but full of completed furniture looking for a new home. If you would like to buy anything and have it delivered, please don't hesitate to get in touch. The phone is diverted to my mobile so if I don't answer, leave a message.

I am in the workshop helping Mark with the orders we have. I will be stripping furniture, sanding legs and helping Mark build frames. An extra pair of hands in the workshop means we can get some of the furniture completed a bit quicker. We are therefore able to take orders for footstools should you want one before Christmas. Please do call or email.

In the meantime, please stay safe and take care of yourselves and I will hopefully see you next month. If you can support independent businesses during this difficult period, then please do.

Thank you for your continued support. Its our 20th birthday next year so looking forward to celebrating in May.

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1920's Style Sofas

1920's Style Sofas

Our handmade 1920's style sofas are probably the most popular style we make. They are not too big, or deep but are comfortable and can be made to the size you want.

When we first opened almost 20 years ago, we sold restored and re-upholstered original 1920's sofas. Customers loved them but if they didn't like the fabric we had covered them with, or they were too big or small, we lost a sale. After a few years of selling the 1920's sofas, we were struggling to find them. Some we bought had warped rails, broken rails which meant the framed had moved, so some had to go to a friend for her wood burner. When a sofa lasts 80 or 90 years I don't suppose its bad value for money .

After some consideration as to how we could solve this problem, we came to the conclusion that customers bought our sofas because they liked them. The size fitted and we always used fabrics which were a bit unusual. Mark had been taught furniture making when he took his City & Guilds in the 1980's so he decided he would look at a frame and make one. You may think its an easy process, but getting the angles right, making sure joints fitted correctly, making sure rails were in the correct place so they could be upholstered, all took time to work out. He made a prototype and made a few adjustments, and today we have our 1920's style sofa which can be made to size. 

A square back or more rounded back, a lower back to fit under a bay window, not quite as deep due to not being 10 feet tall are adjustments we have made for customers over the years. 

When your 1920's sofa is made by owners who care about quality and attention to detail, you can be sure that we will talk to you and make sure its the perfect sofa for your home.

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Ergonomic chairs

Ergonomic chairs

Since lockdown, more of us are working from home which has lead to an increase in musculoskeletal complaints according to a recent survey. This is not really surprising with many sitting at work stations not designed for this and sitting in uncomfortable or inadequate chairs. This can lead to an increase in neck and back pain which can in turn lead to sleepless nights.

Investing in furniture which is both comfortable and stylish will lead to a more serene ergonomic home.

As home working shows no sign of abating, a good supportive desk chair is paramount. It should be supportive but also allow for plenty of movement. Standing and stretching throughout the course of the day will also help with circulation and will help ease strain.

Good sofas and chairs will also help support your posture. Mid century furniture and antique furniture is often more supportive due the lifestyle we lived. Sofas and chairs were in proportion so you could sit and your feet would touch the floor. 

All this type of furniture can be found here at A Little Furniture Shop. Many customers have found that our furniture is perfect for them as their feet can touch the floor for the first time when sitting on a sofa. Our furniture fits. 

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Tartan wool footstool

Tartan wool footstool

Who doesn't love a tartan wool especially one made in the UK? There are so many to choose from with some wonderful colours, there is bound to be one which suits your home. 

If you're not brave enough to have a tartan sofa or chair, then a tartan footstool is a great compromise. Tartans work really well with leather and can bring some extra warmth into a room. A tartan wool footstool can make a real feature of your living room but is something which is useful too. Use it as extra seating or as a coffee table with and a tray. You can of course just put your feet up in style.

We love tartan wools which have been manufactured in the UK. Our favourite companies are The Isle Mill and Abraham Moon and Son. Both companies manufacture their own tartans and have been doing so for over 150 years. We are proud to use these upholstery fabrics and always keen to support British manufacturing. Wool is naturally fire retardant so we don't have to use any chemicals to ensure it meets UK fire regulations. 

Wool is eco friendly. It uses significantly less energy during its production than manufacturing man-made fibres. Wool production produces lower carbon dioxide emissions and hence has a low carbon impact on the earth.

Old wool fabric and fibre can be recycled for many uses including insulation, as well as being an effective compost as it slowly releases nitrogen rich nutrients back to the soil.

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Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Shrewsbury, Shropshire.

Shrewsbury, a medieval town on the banks of the river Severn. Higgledy-piggledy streets with names you want to say out loud - Bear Steps, Wyle Cop and Grope Lane. A river that scoops up the town in a loop. Two bridges, each with a different nationality. Wonky buildings left, right and centre. Bread, still warm, made with flour from a water mill a few miles away. Mick Jagger and Margaret Thatcher watching from a 1500's building. A blockbuster in a Tudor cinema. The world's tallest town crier. 921 years of wine buffs.

Shrewsbury's name has evolved from Old English Scrobbesburh, its later Welsh name Amwythig means "fortified place"

Charles Darwin was born in the town and went to Shrewsbury School which was then housed in the library buildings. Follow the Darwin Trail around town. Look out for the Quantum Leap sculpture on the riverbank opposite the Theatre which was created to mark Darwin's 200th birthday.

Founded in 1083, the Shrewsbury Abbey was once the centre of Norman and Medieval power in the region as well as the centre of a daily prayer, study and work for a community of monks. It's still a place of worship today and well worth a visit.

From the red sandstone castle walls, you'll see why Shrewsbury Castle was once a place to guard the town. Inside the walls lies the Museum of the Shropshire Regiments, which is dedicated to the King's Shropshire Light Infantry.

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Love Seat

Love Seat

The love seat or snuggle chair or cuddle chair is a versatile piece of furniture. It is perfect for a cuddle with your favourite person, or great for curling up in if you don't want to share!

Our version of the love seat is a shorter version of our Danish sofa. When we decided to make these, our initial thought was this is perfect for ladies who want to curl up with a good book and a favourite glass of wine. 

It could be in a bedroom where you can escape from all the madness and relax in your favourite arm chair.

It could be the perfect tv chair where you can relax and watch television.

The love seat was originally designed for courting couples so the history books say. They could be close together without compromising their decency in anyway. They were designed in an S shape so two people could talk to each other whilst looking at each other and retaining a modest barrier.

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