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Vintage Purchases for the New House

Our new house is a different style and while we don’t have to completely change for the architecture, I’m VERY excited to incorporate a new style into the house. Our last place was light, bright, airy and midcentury which I still love, but I want this one to be more family-friendly, comfortable and warm. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive, but as a mom I’ve learned a lot about life with kids so I’m making some different choices this go around.

I’ve seriously tried to NOT buy too much before we move in and really learn how we use the space. Also I’ve had exactly ZERO time to shop lately. But during nap-time on Saturdays I troll craigslist and ebay and I’ve found a few gems that I pulled the trigger on. I thought it would be fun to show you the original Craigslist photos instead of them all styled out. You really have to use your imagination and envision it in your house, right?

First up was a collection of antique english pine furniture for our bedroom. As you all know good quality dressers are so expensive and yet vintage often have drawers that don’t work. I’ve been looking at Restoration Hardware but man, they are like $3k. So I found this beauty for $500 (which admittedly is WAY more than I spend on anything on Craigslist but I really really liked it, and so does Brian):


It’s so old and pretty, with some detailing but not too ornate. The same lady had this armoire:


It was only $350 and is in great condition, too. Our new master bedroom has two walls that can accommodate both and I love how much storage they both have. Hopefully we can get them into the suite (the bend into the room is pretty tight).

Then for some reason I also bought this from her. The description was ‘Gustavian Pine Antique’ and I will say that I’m a HUGE sucker for anything Gustavian. That might be the most pretentious thing that I’ve ever written. It was from the same lady and I think it was around $100 but i’m not sure it was a good move because I don’t have a place for it. It is super pretty, though. It’s just really large – too large for a side table but too deep for something against a wall … maybe a play table for the kids? Dunno. Whoops.


From a different Craigslist seller I bought this dresser which I LOVE for Charlie’s room:


How sweet is that! It was $350 and I have like 3 perfect places for it. I’m super into demilune tables because they can be implemented so seamlessly into rooms instead of a rectangle that juts out. So every time I see dresser like this I want it. I’m so glad I finally pulled the trigger.

Onto rugs. I’m going to write a HUGE post about family friendly rug options because you have many. Ultimately what has worked the very, very, very best for us is vintage or antique persian style rugs that are so busy and colorful that you can’t see a speck of dirt. Plus I LOVE how they look. The trick here is to not spend too much money on them or you will stress out about it. Our living room is really big and I wanted one big rug so we needed a 12×15. Typically 12×15 persian rugs are $8 – 20k or more from a dealer. So I’ve been on ebay and craigslist on the weekends trying to find a steal.

But let’s backup for a second. Three years ago I saw this at an antique store in Pasadena:


I LOVED it. The colors were so vibrant and it was just so old and pretty and storied. I didn’t buy it at the time because I was all ‘I want a bright airy house with bright airy rugs’ but I stared at the photo of it all the time, like a missed connection on the train or a vacation love that you didn’t get their info (this happened to me when I was 12… Austin… I thought about you for years). Every time I went to that antique store I visited it and wondered if now was the time. It was 12×15 and was $2700 which is an EXTREMELY good price. But I just didn’t need it! Ugh. and I was trying to be smart and not hoard something so expensive. So now, of course I need it but it is sold.

Well good news:

I found one very similar on ebay. This was what the photo of it on ebay looked like:


Yeah, not impressed, I know. Its SUPER hard to tell if its pretty or not, right? In the description it did say that its more corals, pinks and bright reds and less burgundy but I was still nervous. There were a couple more details of it that convinced me that it was really well made and bright. It a 12×15 for $2800 which is a GREAT price. I texted it to a couple friends (including Ginny) and they convinced me, late on a Saturday night … after a couple glasses of wine … to pull the trigger. I had 14 days to return it, by the way so I had an out but I was still nervous that this ENORMOUS purchase was going to end up looking like a cheesy burgundy machine made rug.

We opened it up and here is what it looks like:


It may be hard to tell there, but it’s extremely beautiful. The colors are so happy and bright – indeed more corals and pinks than reds. And the best part? This rug is going to hide everything. It’s going to be a huge dose of color in the room (with a navy sofa on top) and its going to make my life easier, right????

Of course I didn’t stop there and at the flea market I collected a couple little rugs that can kinda go anywhere. img_3957

I got them both for $400. I have a fantasy of a stair runner out of antique persian rugs, but I’d hate to cut these up … I suppose I need to buy some that are in worse shape, right? I like the top one more than the one below, but they are both pretty and check off the boxes that we need – colorful, inexpensive and family friendly (they are both 3×6).


Next, I found this little cute guy on craigslist for $100 and couldn’t resist its adorable shape:



What say you, chair? Do you want to be in a ticking stripe? A vintage floral (ooh!!!)? or a classic solid linen?


Last but not least I snagged this little round side table up from a craigslist seller and love the details and secondary shelf on it. I have a lot of new stuff to show you, the sofa that is being made (from Cisco home and I’m SO EXCITED about it), a chair that we splurged on (from Big Daddy’s) and all our lighting (from Circa) but those all deserve their own posts which we have planned very soon. I’m trying to curb my vintage purchases for a while until we get in there (in less than 10 days!!)

So what do you think? Do you like that rug? Or do you think its gaudy? I’m firmly on ‘team rug’, and not just because it’s too late to return it. I feel like I know the market and finding something like this in LA, in that size, with bright colors, would be $8 – $20k. In my fantasy land we would have something less bright, like an Oushak or a muted more sophisticated color-way. But this rug is going to get an insane amount of traffic, and the doors to the backyard are going to be right next to it so I just really wanted something that wasn’t going to look gross in a year.

Wish us luck, and I will see you on Craigslist/Chairish/Ebay/EBTH on Saturdays between 1 – 3pm πŸ™‚


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105 thoughts on “Vintage Purchases for the New House

  1. Wow, you are very brave to buy a large rug like that on-line. I love persian type rugs and it looks like you got very lucky in your choice. Can’t wait to see it in the house.

  2. The rug is insanely pretty, and it’s a great call to have something that won’t get destroyed or show dirt instantly with kids in the house. I like the vintage pieces too. I’m curious to see how you refinish/paint them, what have you. It’s fun shopping for a new house, may you enjoy the process!

  3. I think the Gustavian table would look amazing off the kitchen as a secondary eating, gaming, puzzle, block building table. Two slender black chairs with it. I think you would use it a lot. Drag it out on the deck for extra table for entertaining, etc. I love it so much.

    1. There are no dimensions given, but that table looks way too small for those purposes. I think it would make a great children’s play table. It’s already distressed! LOL Our grand-daughter plays at our coffee table a lot; it’s about the same height as this table, I think. Kiddie chairs would work with it too since it has a big overhang.

      I enjoyed seeing the vintage things you have bought, Emily. Can’t wait to see your new house with all the stuff inside.

  4. I love all your purchases, Emily! I like that you put the original picture in… it made me ask myself if I would see the potential in each piece. I also love that you told us the price you paid. I like knowing what others would pay for something. I can’t wait to see these items in your home! So excited for you! Enjoy the process.

  5. Very exciting seeing you embrace another style! Also, Craigslist or not, I think that antique English pine dresser is a steal for $500. I’d pay that very happily. I’m pretty sure I paid $300 for an IKEA one and it’s falling apart after two years so I’m currently looking for another in opshops and on Gumtree (Australian Craigslist – I’m very jealous of Craiglist, you guys have the most incredible secondhand goods!)

    1. Yes, here in Australia vintage aka antiques are very, very expensive. Whenever I have looked at Gumtree I have never seen anything remotely like these pieces.

      1. THAT, they are! We had an antique store when I was a teen…but then the butt fell out of tables and reproductions from China filled the grave in pretty much.
        I like a mix of modern and old and I have found some great, really unusual pieces in so-called “junk” shops. I think we Aussies need to rummage more than the US and Euro folks, tof find a good deal.

  6. Love the rugs! Question…it always seems a bit icky to be buying someone else’s used rugs–particularly as I am usually barefoot in the house. I assume you clean them before you use them? Do you go to a specialty cleaners or can you do it yourself?

    1. These types of rugs require professional cleaning. It’s a bit of a hassle but most companies will pick up and deliver. Absolutely always have a used rug cleaned before using! I sometimes even have new rugs cleaned first b/c they still smell like animal (sheep I guess).

    2. I would love to see a post about buying antique rugs….I love the look of them, but I don’t feel like I know enough about them to know what’s a good price or how to tell what’s good quality, so I’ve never invested in them.

      1. I second Laura. Would love to see a guide about buying antique rugs. In your post you said “there were a couple more details of it that convinced me that it was really well made and bright” β€” tell us more! What should we look for to find good deals on high quality vintage rugs, too?

  7. I’m envying you several of your purchases right now, which is my way of saying I really like them. I think you made good choices that bridge the difference between a Tudor house and your style of bright and playful and warm and family friendly.
    Seriously, i want Charlie’s dresser. He’s into toys. He won’t even miss it…

  8. I can’t wait to see the rug all styled out! It’s such a change from your last home, so I am very curious.

    Also, “Kids’ table!” was my very first thought for the “Gustavian antique”/”Why’d I buy this?” table. I am sure you will be able to find the perfect vintage schoolhouse chairs to go with it. πŸ™‚

  9. That rug is gorgeous (especially in your pictures), and I’m in love with the dresser you got for Charlie’s room.

  10. I am on team persian rug, for sure. I raised two very active little boys with a huge old persian rug that filled the entire living room. It is such a forgiving choice. You can wipe up spills, you can vacuum and occasionally roll it up and dust mop underneath. It always looks great, and you are not hovering over your kids and their friends every time they play or drink a glass of juice.
    Good for you.

  11. For the table, I’d shorten the legs and use it as a coffee table. Great for the kids and they can fit their little legs under it when sitting down…
    Love the rug choices!

  12. wow, that rug is so beautiful! i absolutely love it and can’t wait to see it incorporated into your house! i also love that side table in the last picture…i don’t think you posted the price on it like you did with the other pieces…would you mind sharing how much it was? (helps non-designer folks like me know what is reasonable to pay for stuff like this on craigslist!)

  13. I think all your finds are awesome. But I really love the large rug. I think it’s nicer than the one you passed up. The colors are wonderful. Good job online shopping!!!

    1. I agree! The ebay rug is much better than the one from the antique store. I also love the rugs from the flea market; I actually prefer the bottom one to the top one (but I love both of them).

  14. That rug is gorgeous. If you change your mind, I’d gladly take it off your hands πŸ™‚

  15. beautiful rugs! you may have covered this before, but in a future post would love to hear how you clean the rugs after you buy them- especially the rugs from the market.

  16. Great finds can’t wait to see the rugs in action! Your scalloped hide rug is so lovely…i hope it finds a new home in your new house. My first though for the “why’d i buy this” table is craft table for the kids. its perfect for two little chairs and the draw makes cleanup easy. Everyone is saying that same thing so we must be right πŸ™‚ maybe there will be a spot in the living room to plob them down with some paper and crayons around this adorable table and some sweet antique chairs.

  17. Emily, I just wanted to tell you that the antique furniture/sticky drawer problem has a cheap, harmless fix. Buy yourself some ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) nylon tape from a woodworking supply place or your favorite online retailer and stick it to the drawer glides. It takes about five minutes and the drawers will move like they’re floating on air. So fun to have a tip for you after all the great tips you’ve given me!

    1. This is the BEST reader tip ever!! I have a few lovey pieces that I throw beeswax on regularly and curse at every time I have to open (bc it sticks so much) it makes me want to sell them but this might just be my sanity and antique dressers saved!

  18. That large rug is AMAZING! I have a 9×12 in a similar color way and it photographs so beautifully!! I just wish people sold stuff like that on our craigslist. What a great price and I’m shocked at the sellers photo. I would have passed it up by that photo – not at all the reality, just shows you what bad lighting and a crappy photo can do. Get a thick plush rug pad, your knees will thank you and you’ll crawl around more with those adorable kiddos of yours. I have one now and wish I had gotten it a year ago, it makes floor play so much nicer!!

    Not nuts about the chair, when I see it all I can think is hammer head shark hehehe. I’m sure you will make it beautiful. The dressers and armoire is a good score and very interesting!

  19. Beautiful finds! I can’t wait to see everything come together in your new home.

    I recently saw an online source on another blog for affordable Persian rugs (especially cheap still today with an extended cyber sale for the holidays):

    My large white wool rug in my living room has not held up super well to visitors – muddy shoes which are hard to avoid this time of year in the pacific northwest. I will definitely be going the route of a Persian rug next time I buy.

  20. Absolutely LOVE the big rug. It won’t be too bright when thwee rest of the room is put together. In fact for me, not now. Love all your finds. I just saw an incredibly beautiful old oak chair for $8 bucks! But had no where to put it. It’s going to be one of those “Austin” things.

  21. Love all your purchases. So many questions in the comments about cleaning persian rugs – we take ours to a rug cleaner every year or two (or three when we are lazy). Every city has them!

  22. Love the rugs! My 100 yo house is filled with them and it’s awesome. They are like good friends to me I love seeing each one so much every day. I have a similar large living room to yours and we have actually used two Persian rugs in the room. They don’t match of course but have complementary color stories. The big one (12 x 15) is for the bulk of the room and furniture. Then we have an 8 x 10 going the other way right next to it with a love seat, round table, and two needlepoint chairs beside it. It is a great area for cocktails and I read on the love seat daily. We’ve even had dinner for two at that table when we want to sit near the fire. And while I don’t allow my grandchildren to eat in rooms other than the kitchen and dining rooms, and we have a no shoe policy indoors, these rugs are amazing at hiding the dirt. We’ve even “lost” puzzle pieces on them! If you vacuum regularly and take civilized precautions these rugs will last a lifetime. And you won’t have to send them out for cleaning very often either.

  23. Lovely finds!! I especially love the dresser for Charlie.

    I would also love to hear tips about purchasing used rugs.

    And I’d love to hear your ebay/CraigsList strategy. It’s so overwhelming! Do you just search everything? Keywords? I feel like I’m always either sorting through EVERYTHING or missing out on things by using keywords.

    Can’t wait to see the house all put together!

  24. Love, love, love the rugs. I have Persian rugs in my home mixed in with a bit of mid-century mod and room looks well curated. Love your blog, I see the chair in a linen with a pop of color in a lumbar pillow. You did good!

  25. Love the purchases, especially that living room rug. What a beaut!
    Question-when you purchase rugs from craigslist or a flea market, do you have it professionally cleaned before using? Wondering how much that costs for a rug of that size?

    1. I’m in Portland and the cheapest (while still being reputable with Persian rugs) was around $3 per sq foot to clean. They also offer a discount for bringing it in which of course I’ll roll it/fold it up and load it to save some dough! Also you can ask if they do any discounts (cash, senior, military, college, first time customer, returning customer, multiple rug, holiday, etc.) and sometimes you’ll get a really good deal on top of that. Don’t just take it to the cheapest rinky dink if you’re not willing to risk it being ruined. The rug cleaner should know how to identify if it’s painted, vegetable dyed, hand knotted, loomed, etc. all of these factors can change how and what it’s cleaned with so ask questions and read reviews. Rugs are an investment and honestly with regular vacuuming don’t need to be cleaned every year. Clean them anytime you buy a used rug tho – you never know where/what it’s previous life has been/seen. It’s just like getting your carpet cleaned every once in a while – it’s a pain at the time but then you get to roll around and enjoy the refresh you gave your home!

  26. LOVE it all! Moving in less than 10 days!?? Woo hoo!! Moving stinks, but I’m super excited for you and your family and your new home. I also completely understand ALL THE FEELINGS that go with leaving behind a home that you loved and put a lot of work into. I bawled and bawled on the day before, and the day of our move from our last house that we built entirely with our BARE HANDS! (Channeling my inner Orlando, ha!) It was all I could do not to sob through the closing.

  27. Bravo!

    Every item you have purchased is perfect for your new home.

    The rugs have such great color, and they look like long lost cousins.

  28. Team “YES” for the lovely carpet you found online, but team “NO” for stair runners made of cut up rugs. A staircase is a strong architectural feature and it feels jarring to coat it in something too trendy or decorative – like putting gingerbread trim on Villa Savoye. Unless your space is very bohemian then I don’t think the multi-rug-runner fits, and worst case scenario can look tacky and 2014-Pinteresty. Have a nice runner professionally made for your stairs – it can still have some color or pattern but hopefully still look good 10 years from now!

  29. Per usual, great blog post. Thank you for conutnine to share your new home style with us all.

    My husband and I have a very boho, traditional mix going on in our 1930’s colonial with art deco influences, so scouring Craigslist or Facebook Buy, Sell, Trade groups is my thing.

    I would love to hear more about how you go about contacting or other people-to-people selling sites/groups. What it takes to write a successful email to sellers, what questions you ask before setting up a visit/meeting, etc.

    Please consider this as a future blog post!

  30. LOOOOVEEEEEEEEEE that rug! So obsessed!

    I like the intrigue of the format of this post as well — seeing how you shop and what you get outside of the completely finished context. Like, “I see where you’re going here but I just don’t know DEAR GOD WHAT IS SHE GOING TO DO NEXT….I WANNA SEE THE END I NEED CLOSURE!”

  31. I think even though the rug photo from eBay is not great, you can tell it’s beautiful. I looove vintage rugs! All the ones you picked are gorgeous!

  32. I love the demilune dresser, the chair, and the rug, which has so many colors you can draw from, while hiding everything!

  33. I think that rug is AMAZING! My husband and I just purchased our first place together, and after buying several neutral staple pieces, we are looking to spruce up our space with some Persian rugs, too! the busy patterns will definitely be helpful for Chicago winter boot traffic. I definitely want vintage as well but don’t know enough yet to spot a good deal when I see one. Can’t wait for your follow up post about it, and to see where you put the smaller ones too!

  34. I’ve been looking at rugs on eBay and have found a seller that has the most amazing rugs that should check out. The seller is Rugemporium240. They have good reviews but I’ve not purchased from them yet. I’m trying to be patient and find just what I want for my master bath.

    1. Thanks for sharing your source! You’re a gem πŸ™‚

      Team Persian Rug all the way! Love all your finds Emily!

  35. That 12×15 rug you bought is AMAZING!!!!! My jaw literally dropped when I saw the picture you took of it. Nothing like the eBay photo at all! Makes me want to look closer at the listings now. Well done. It’s gorgeous. I can’t wait to see it in your home, which is looking incredible, btw. Can we be friends so I can come over and see it in person? Haha πŸ™‚ jk

  36. I own a 1925 English Tudor and I have these type rugs in practically every room. I bought all of them off eBay for great prices. They hide everything which is great with our 2 daughters, cat and dog✌?

  37. Team rug βœ”οΈβœ”οΈβœ”οΈ
    All gorgeous purchases……looking firward to seeing them in the house ???

  38. Team rug all the way! I have three little kiddos and anything that is that beautiful and will hide all the dirt feels like a win! I love your finds and do you have any tips on finding non-midcentury vintage/antiques in LA on Craig’s List? Do you have general search words, etc? Basically, tell us all your secrets! Ha!

    I have been lucky (if I’m patient!) with a few things but it is such slim pickings on traditional antiques (that have not been painted in a high gloss color :/ out here!

  39. Just curious… Do you go check out the craigslist finds yourself? Do you ever get recognized? I know I would be flat out on the ground if you showed up at my house to buy something!!

    1. Ha, ha, I hadn’t thought of this! It’s probably best she doesn’t go, because it would make people rethink selling the furniture.

  40. I am not Team Rug, but I am prepared to be amazed when I see it styled. So far I have yet to see a red-based antique rug I like on anywhere online. I also think the demilune table screams Oak Furniture Land (this is a bad thing), but everything else is gorgeous, especially the dresser. I am really looking forward to when you get all this stuff into your new home so you can teach me to appreciate this style.

  41. You will so not regret that rug! I bought a new rug that basically wants to be your rug for our living room last year and I am so glad I went with something colorful to hide the dirt. We have a little rowhouse where the front door opens immediately into the living room and we have two dogs who are frequently in and out of the back yard, and that thing hides dirt so well. My only regret is that I couldn’t afford the real deal! Also love seeing what you found on Craigslist. Loving this more traditional house and seeing the departure from your last house. It’s so fresh and inspiring!

    1. Update: This post got my Craigslist nerves itching and today I bought a semi-antique 8×11 Persian rug for $500 today! I was practically skipping around the car as we unloaded it. I figure even if it’s not an heirloom, $500 is a decent price for any rug!

  42. Emily, was your big blue rug in your old living room durable? I am considering buying another loloi rug made out of the same material (but with a pattern) and it is on sale so I have to decide now. It will go in a living room and we have 3 kids so it needs to be durable. thank you!

  43. I love all your finds! Especially the dresser, chair and rug! Although the “cheesey burgandy” comment made me a little sad as I just purchased a Persian karajeh rug (to layer on a blue sisal rug). Sigh. I guess that’s why people hire designers! Can’t wait to see everything!

    1. I have a burgundy rug and I love it. It’s very dark, not a pinkish burgundy, which I would not like.

  44. I love all of it. The rug will be fantastic and I am so excited to see your style go more traditional/antique. I can’t believe you are moving into the new house so soon! Good luck!

  45. Team Rug here all the way. The rug is GORGEOUS!

    You are officially my source for rug inspiration. Case in point: I had decided on painting our bedroom Hague Blue — been obsessed with the color for years — and stumbled on your post about the Reading Nook in the Rustic Spanish California House. Then I went to Chairish (again, following your excellent advice) and found this beauty: Paired with Hague Blue walls, gold accessories, and lots of art framed in white, our bedroom is essentially perfect.

    Thanks for being my ultimate home style guru!

  46. I bought a rug like that 35 years ago and it lasted through my single days, two young children, two grown children, divorce, remarriage. Lying on the sofa now, it’s still here:). Mine’s slightly pinker in tone than yours, but I’ve loved it every minute of every day its been mine.

  47. I think you will be very happy with the persian rug. I have a similiar coloured rug. It looks beautiful with the denim blue couches I have and great in a well light area.
    Question: is there a way to make a persian rug look good over another rug (possible even a short shag) with out flipping up or distorting?
    I will be moving soon and most of the houses I have looked at have carpet in the living room. Totally bummed that my rug might not work.

  48. For DIY cleaning of hand-knotted wool persian rugs, I just take my rugs out on the deck in the backyard and hose them down real well and then scrub them with a rag and a small dose of Woolite, then I hose them off again and they are just drenched. Lastly, I suck up as much water as possible, passing over the rug 3 or 4 times with my rug doctor (you should see the filthy water that I dump out) and then lastly, I prop them up on several pieces of lawn furniture to go air flow around them and they dry pretty nicely within 24 – 36 hours in arid Utah. This is a great way to not go broke if you have naughty lap dogs and don’t want to have to hire a professional all the time. The rugs are very fresh and their color remains vibrant after this cleaning technique.

  49. Would love to see a guide on how you shop Craigslist, ebay, etc. with your key search terms and other tips!

  50. I see someone else mentioned this too, but I would love a post on how you go about searching for items on Craigslist – are there certain keywords you use? I feel like whenever I try, all I get is a bunch of junk! I know it’s a hunt, but maybe there are some things that would make it easier!

  51. I really love all of your vintage purchases! The rug is gorgeous. The colors are stunning. I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

  52. ok, I am in love with that large rug and imagine all the thoughts whirring! And Charlie’s dresser totally rocks! can’ t wait to see the sofa! thanks for sharing!

  53. I think IF we get to see the finished house – or main chunks – it’d be like a Christmas pressie for everyone! :))

  54. Hi Emily, really loved some of the vintage furniture that you got there esp., the wood collection. We have similar collection like that round table and the dresser in our site ( You just have to wax or polish them from time to time and hey remain even more priceless with age. Waiting for your next update πŸ™‚

  55. I basically have that same rug, so now I feel VERY validated in my design choices. πŸ™‚ I also have two young children and two cats, and I can testify that the rug hides dirt well. You won’t regret it!

  56. Have you ever thought about bleaching it? There are rug dealers out there that will do that for you. It ends up looking more like a soft-toned oushak, very beautiful….

  57. I love the rug. The colors are gorgeous. I also had a huge Persian rug in my family room when my kids were little and it was awesome. You couldn’t see any dirt!! ?

  58. yes! Please talk more about vintage/persian/handmade rugs, differences in quality, typical prices, materials, etc etc etc. All things rugs.

    Thank you πŸ™‚ xoxo

  59. Hey Emily! What do you do about the germ factor on the big vintage rugs when they arrive? They seem super expensive to clean, do you just do it or leave them or something else? Is there a secret!?

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