Masters of Furniture – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Good Morning!

It has been a long time since I have posted in my Masters of Furniture series. Way too long! These are some of my favourite posts to write.  I love learning about the history of design and delving into the lives of these design icons.  Today I’m featuring Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German-American architect and furniture designer.


Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Germany, and remained there for the first half of his career.  As with many of the other masters of modern furniture, Ludwig was an architect by trade.  He began his career working in an interior design studio and then in an architecture studio under Peter Behrens.  His talent was noted at an early age, getting his first commission for a home at the age of 20.  Some of the most famous buildings of his career in Germany were the Barcelona Pavilion and the Villa Tugendhat.

The Barcelona Pavilion was the German pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain and has been an influential building as a representative of modern architecture.

Barcelona mies v d rohe pavillon weltausstellung1999 03“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Villa Tugendhat was commissioned by Fritz and Grete Tugendhat for their home in Brno, Chechoslovkia.  They lived in the house for only 8 years before they fled the country in after the Munich Agreement.  It was severely damaged at the end of  World War II, and was then used for various purposes for decades after the war. In 1967, Greta Tugendhat returned to the villa with a senior architect from Mies’s Chicago studio and explained the original design to him, and a group of Czech architects began to bring the home back to its original glory. The villa was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001.

Villa Tugendhat-20070429” by Daniel Fišer (-df-) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Mies specified all the furnishings for both these buildings, in collaboration with interior designer Lilly Reich with whom he was in a relationship at the time. His most iconic furniture design, the Barcelona chair, which he designed with Lilly, was created as part of the Barcelona Pavilion but was first used in the Villa Tugendhat.

via Knoll

Two more of van der Rohe’s famous armchairs (also in collaboration with Lilly Reich) were specifically designed for Villa Tugendhat; the Tugendhat chair and the Brno chair.

via 1st Dibs

via Knoll


Knoll furniture now owns the rights to these 3 designs and the Barcelona and Brno chairs are still in production today, along with many knock-offs.

In 1930 van der Rohe was named director of the Bauhaus, the famous German school of experimental art and design, which he led until 1933 when he closed the school under pressure from the Nazis.  In 1937 he immigrated to the US, where he would take on the role as head the department of architecture of the newly established Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago.  In addition to a highly influential teaching career in the US, he would go on to design many more iconic modern buildings.  His most notable include:

S.R. Crown Hall in Chicago

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, Attribution: Joe Ravi

The Seagram building in NYC

via Wikimedia Creative Commons

The Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin

photo via Wikimedia Commons attribution: Manfred Brückels

Something else you might be interested to know is that many common quotes were coined by this design dynamo….

“Less is More”

“God is in the details”

“It is better to be good than to be original”

All these are Ludwig originals!  A wordsmith and a creative genius.  In general I think this masters legacy is more in buildings than furniture, but considering his furniture designs are still being sold today made me still want to include him in this series.  I hope you enjoyed this little walk back in the history books.


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New Obsession – Curved Sofas

Good Morning,

As an upholsterer, I always have my eye out for a piece of furniture with a great shape. Lately, I’m more than a little obsessed with curved sofas. There is something about a curve in a sofa that gives the whole room a softer edge. Not to mention that there are so many beautiful ones out there! And you know how circular dining tables are often more conducive to good conversation? I’m going to bet it’s the same thing for sitting on a curved sofa.  For all you traditionalists out there, I know that immediately you are thinking that curved sofas are mostly mid-century modern and retro in their design. And yes, vintage stores are packed with those beauties. However, many contemporary furniture manufacturers like West Elm and Crate & Barrel are now carrying curved sofas, so I am starting to see them pop up more often in traditionally designed spaces. Here are some examples of curvy goodness for your Friday viewing pleasure.

 1/New England Home magazine, photo via John Bessler 2/The Fig House Designed by Emily Henderson (photo from website)3/Designed by Parisien designer Pierre Yovanovitch (photo from website) 4/Photo via Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams Home 5/Designed by Amy Lau, photo via Home Adore 6/Photo via Domaine Home by Angus Fergosson

Sadly I don’t have space for one of these beauties but if you do, maybe you should get one so I can live vicariously through you.  Have a lovely weekend!


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Rustic Masculine Desks

Good Morning!

It’s been busy few days, which will continue for the next next couple of weeks. My parents are here visiting from New Brunswick and we had a full weekend of visiting relatives and getting out on the town. They leave on Thursday morning and then I fly to NYC on Thursday night until Monday night! A whirlwind week to be sure. I always prefer being busy to bored, so I’m not complaining at all. This is my parents first visit in a year. They usually come at Easter, but this year while they were en route here they got word that our town was hit with a massive flood so they had to turn back.  The arrived home to 1.5 ft of water in our finished basement.  This was in April, and they only just recently got everything cleaned up and renovated.  My father moved his law practice to the house a few years ago (also in the basement), and the flood really forced him to re-organize and purge his space. And now that it’s re-organized, it’s much more clear that his office needs some design help.  He has a HUGE old desk that takes up 3/4 of the room, and it’s definitely not going to be winning any beauty contests.  There are 2 standard office chairs for clients, also pretty ugly, plus a bunch of cabinets and shelving units. I mean, it’s OK, but the space could  use some TLC.  First thing on the agenda would be to get a smaller more efficient desk.  My dad’s style would be best described as rustic and traditional with some nautical twists.  He likes furniture with a heavy sturdy look and decor inspired by the woods and the sea.  A rustic masculine desk is what he’ll need….but in a size that is more appropriate for his office. So today I’ve rounded up some potential options for a new desk for my dad’s office.  Half of these are definitely outside what he would spend on a desk, but I included them anyway so he can see what is available.

Rustic Masculine Desks


I really like the steamer trunk desk from Restoration Hardware, and also the light and dark wood one with the metal legs from Uncommom Goods.  But really, any one of these would fit the bill!  They are handsome, have some storage and have a rustic feel.  However, I’m going to guess he will automatically gravitate to the most expensive one….just like I always do.

Fall Home Show 2014 – Tickets Giveaway!

 Good Morning!

In case you didn’t catch it, yesterday on the blog I revealed my Fall Home Show Upcycle Challenge project (Vote for me here!).  But today, I wanted to give you the low-down on some of the other great things in store at this year’s Toronto Fall Home Show which runs September 17th to the 21st, 2014 at the Better Living Center.

First up, if you follow design shows, you will know one of the show’s headliner’s VERY well.  It’s TOMMY! Yes, I’m talking about HGTV star, Sarah Richardson’s right hand man, designer extraordinaire and the most insane #hashtager ever (follow him on instagram and you’ll see), Mr. Tommy Smythe!  He will be presenting on the main stage on Saturday, September 19th.

And as a blogger, I certainly know the name Marion Parsons as I have read her DIY/Decor blog Miss Mustard Seed a lot over the years.  Along with her blog, Marion has created her own brand of Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint which has been very successful.  She is also a freelance writer, stylist and photographer, an antiques dealer, and the author of the book Inspired You.  She is going to be appearing daily on the main stage talking about the Flipping Furniture!

There are many other presentations from design celebrities like Emmanuel Belliveau and Leigh-Anne Allaire-Perrault, not to mention cheesy goodness presentations from Keven Durkee from Cheesewerks! (you can see the full stage schedule here).  And these presentations are over and above the more than 100 exhibitor booths you can peruse for all your home reno and decor needs.

Also be sure to visit the Habitat for Humanity Restore booth and bid to take home one of the fabulous Upcycle Challenge pieces, with all proceeds going to Habitat!  (And while you are clicked over on that page if you could throw a vote my way for the competition I would be most appreciative!).

And the BEST news is I have 8 pairs of tickets to give away for the Fall Home Show!!!  (1 pair per winner)


1. Leave a comment below telling me how much you would like to attend the show!

For additional entries:

1. “Like” Recreated on Facebook

2. Follow me Instagram

3. Copy and tweet this:   Want to win 1 of 8 pairs of tix to the Toronto Fall Home Show?  will hook you up right here! 

Please provide a separate comment for each entry.  Contest ends Sunday, September 14th, 2104 at 11:59 pm. Winners will be selected randomly using and will be announced on Monday, September 15th, 2014.   Good Luck!


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My 2014 Upcycle Challenge Project: I LOVE LAMP

   Good Morning!

It’s a beautiful day around here at Recreated because it’s finally the day I get to reveal by 2014 Upcycle Challenge: Stylize project!  WOOHOO!  The Upcycle Challenge is a charity competition put on by the Fall Home Show benefiting Habitat for Humanity.  Each contestant wad given $100 to spend at the Habitat for Humanity Restore to find something to upcycle, and with the help of Rustoleum products (the contest sponsor) were tasked with creating something new and better.  Participants chose from a the following style categories for their project:  Modern, Country Rustic, Industrial , Vintage Glam, and Eco Chic. The voting takes place between now and September 20th, 2014. Then all the items will be displayed at the Fall home Show for public Auction.  All proceeds of the auctioning of the products goes to the Habitat for Humanity GTA for their great work building affordable housing in our area!

This year I went out of my comfort zone and instead of going with an upholstery project, I decided to tackle something new….lighting.  Why lighting?  I still have not figured out the answer to that question myself so I’ll have to get back to you.  But the style I chose was industrial.  Having made these decisions, I went to the Restore and picked out this ugly 1980’s chandelier….


…and then walked it the 4 kms back to my house with the chandelier thrown over my shoulder like a continental soldier.  There are times I miss my car.  This was one of them.

I then decided to take it apart and figure out what I would use need to make this super fugly chandy into an awesome industrial floor lamp.  (Consequently, the theme I choose was industrial….)

  Taking apart 2

The part that was once the top (on the left) would now act as the base of the lamp.  And I needed to keep all the lights, so the bottom of the chandelier would now become the top of the lamp, but flipped over and added on to.

tools 1

I then went to Home Depot to get some extra materials.  The guys working the plumbing aisle were quite intrigued/alarmed as I lay out dozens of copper fittings on the ground.

HD guy –  “You aren’t trying to use those for actual plumbing, are you?”

Me –  “No”

HD guy – “Good”.

After my many trips back to that part of the store I become known as the women doing something “artsy” with plumbing parts, and they became curious about what exactly I was doing.  Despite my explanations they just didn’t see my vision.   Ahhhh, the plight of an artist.  Never fully understood.

Next up was the tough part, the electrical.  I read a lot about before I tackled it and looked carefully about how it was originally wired.  For the most part I did pretty well…..except when I was testing out the plug that I added for the lamp.  I plugged it in followed by…..mild shock….followed by all the lights going out in my apartment…..and then I quickly pulled out the plug and the lights went back on.  Phew.

electrical -  what not to do copy

I managed to sort out my error.  Each larger wire had 2 smaller wires inside, meaning that I put 4 wires together.  What I needed was 1 marette for each set of wires for a total of 2.   Once I got that figured out, I got all the lights working!  Booya. And in doing the electrical I got to use new tools like this one….

second best new tool

…..a wire stripper!  So fun to use. And when I have a fancy dancy tools like this, how can I not be an electrical genius??  I also got another new kick-ass tool as part of this challenge…..a metal pipe cutter (the blue BrassCraft tool in the picture below). I love this thing, and it came in very handy when cutting all the copper piping for this project. You just slide the pipe inside, tighten it and circle it around and around, tightening it every so often and in a few short minutes, a perfect cut!

best tool ever

Given my unreasonable excitement over new tools, it won’t will surprise you that I’m the granddaughter of a hardware store owner.  Despite having not spent much time in his store, the love of tools certainly runs in my family. My father is similarly afflicted.  But I digress….

Next I took my time figuring out the piping for my lighting arms, gluing all the fittings together and inserting the existing light sockets/wiring into them.  I did have to extend the wiring to make it long enough to reach with the new extended arm lengths.  This was done using….I can’t even say it……a butt splice.  Perhaps this shows my immaturity, but could they NOT have come up with a better term for that?  Really?

light pieces copy

Once it was all glued together, I put it upright.   What I hadn’t taken into account was the added weight of the metal on the top which made the base wobbly resulting in what I called “The Leaning Tower of Lamp”.  #FAIL.   I had to come up with a solution. So I went back to my fave Restore and got a large solid floor tile and brought it home.  I decided I would drill a hole in the tile, glue the base to that and then attach the lamp post to it.  Have any of you ever tried to drill a hole in tile?  IT IS PAINFUL.  I did everything I was supposed to.  Got the proper drill bit, used water to temper the dust and tape to keep from getting fractures and cracks.  But it still took FOREVER.  Eventually I drilled through, and it totally worked to keep the lamp upright. #NAILEDIT

Next up was painting, which, despite lots of protective cover, wreaked havoc on my newly painted exterior doors.  Note to self for next time: spray paint migrates VERY far from the actual spray area.  I used Rustoleum Universal Paint in Gloss Canary Yellow, and it worked really well.  A big shout-out to Kamila at Rustoleum for being so helpful!


And all of this work was worth it for the final product!  A new super-fun, totally unique industrial style lamp!

after photo - 2

And it totally functions, which was my main concern at the beginning.  Sure, I can come up with an idea, do some gluing and painting but I’m so happy that I was able to figure out the electrical and make a functioning light out of it!   So just as a recap here is the before and after shot.

before AND AFTER copy

In the simple words of Brick Tamland from Anchorman…..



And I hope you do too!  The next part,  I need your help for is VOTES!!  Starting now, please CLICK HERE to vote for my upcycle challenge piece! (you have to have a Facebook account to vote).  You can vote once per day so vote often.  Share with your family, friends and co-workers on social media!  I would be most appreciative.  


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Tasty Bite: Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Good Morning,

Today I’m sharing with you my version of the cover recipe from the August issue of Canadian Living.  This month it’s another excellent summer dessert idea, blueberry cornmeal cobbler.

Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

I was lucky enough to share the creation of this recipe with my friend Jen, who also generously offered her her kitchen (which has a lot more space than mine!) for this blueberry extravaganza.  It is definitely more fun to cook with someone else, and having another person makes it possible to take “action shots” while doing it.   We also used Jen’s DSLR camera for the photos since I recently lost my camera and have been getting by with my iPhone.  So, if the photos seem better than usual, you will know why!

Step 1 copy

One new ingredient that we used as part of this recipe was almond extract.  Have you ever smelled that stuff? So good.  Seriously, I now want to make more recipes that have it  just so I can smell it more often.

Step 2 copy

This was my first cobbler.  The only cobbler I’ve had any dealings with have been with the shoe kind.  In fact, I was so unfamiliar with the term that when I was talking about it I kept calling it a blueberry crumble.  Sure, I have heard of peach cobbler.  You know, the kind you picture people in the deep south eating while sipping on mint juleps?  But I’d never tried one. All this to say I really had no idea what I was making until it was made.


You would think that the doughy topping would have clued me into the fact that I was making something quite unlike a crumble, but no.

Step 3 copy

Regardless of what we were making, the recipe was really easy to follow with very few steps.

in for cooking

Here is Jen anxiously awaiting the bubbling blueberry treat she sees in the oven.

Jen watching

And It sure was pretty when we first took it out of the oven.

cooked 1


Now to to try it….



The blueberry base was very flavourful and the cake crust was cooked perfectly.  I will say, that considering I had crumble on the brain,  the final result was not what I was expecting.  The topping was slightly heavier and more cake-like than I thought it would be, but still good and the cornmeal added a great texture.  The recipe is really easy to whip up, so would be great if you find yourself having to bring a dessert somewhere at the last minute.  If you want to try out this recipe you can find it here, or pick up a copy of this month’s Canadian Living magazine.

Have a great day!


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*This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.

Master’s of Furniture – Eero Saarinen

Good Morning!

First of all, congrats to Lesley, Brandy and David winning the giveaway tickets to the National Home Show/Canada Blooms!  As there were only 3 entries there was no need for a draw. I’ll be in contact with all of you to tell you how you can get your tickets! Enjoy!

It’s now time for the next installment of Master’s of Furniture series, and today’s iconic furniture designer is Eero Saarinen.  (You may recall Eero from my previous post on Charles and Ray Eames who were close friends and collaborators with Mr. Saarinen in their early days.)

Eero was born in Finland but emigrated to the US with his father, architect Eleil Saarinen in 1923, when he was thirteen. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where his father was a teacher at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where  he took courses in sculpture and furniture design . You may recall Eero from my previous post on Charles and Ray Eames whom he met at Cranbrook and where they became close friends and collaborators. After Cranbrook, Eero then studied sculpture at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris and then architecture in at Yale School of Architecture. After some traveling and spending a year in Finland, he returned to Cranbrook to work for his father and teach at the academy.

Saarinen first received critical recognition for his furniture design while working for his father, for a chair designed together with Charles Eames for the “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition in 1940, for which they received first prize.  Saarinen was then recruited by a friend from his Yale days, to join the military service in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Saarinen was assigned to draw illustrations for bomb disassembly manuals and to provide designs for the Situation Room in the White House. Saarinen worked full-time for the OSS until 1944. Saarinen founded his own architecture office in 1950.

His furniture designs were taken into production by the Knoll Company starting in the late 1940’s and included the “Grasshopper” lounge chair (taken out of production in 1965), “Womb” chair  settee, side and arm chairs, and his most iconic collection, the “Tulip” or “Pedestal” group, which featured side and arm chairs, dining, coffee and side tables, as well as a stool.   Here are some of his pieces which you definitely  will recognize…

The Tulip Collection

The Womb Chair

all photos via the Knoll Company Website

Eero is perhaps even more well-known for his architecture works including the  Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) in St. Louis, Missouri, the TWA Flight Center at John F. Kennedy International Airport that he worked on with Charles J. Parise, and the main terminal of Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C..

via 123

A running theme with these masters of furniture design is that many of them either start in architecture or move into that field at some point in their careers.  Which makes sense, as these pieces often are highly architectural in nature.  And I think I will need a Tulip table in my world at some point.  A true classic.  You can read more about Eero here and here.

Have a great day!


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Masters of Furniture: Charles and Ray Eames

Good Morning!

Since was talking about the Eames molded plastic chair in my last post, I thought it seemed appropriate to have Charles and Ray Eames as the subject of today’s Masters of Furniture post.

So I’m a little embarrassed. Although I know their designs very well it was only this week that I discovered that Charles and Ray Eames are in fact a husband and WIFE team, not two brothers. Ray is woman. Perhaps everyone else knew that already, but I had no clue.  But I suppose this is why I’ve been posting this series, to learn more about these designers.

photo by Christian Newton via Flickr CC

Charles Eames, Jr was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Charles studied architecture for two years at Washington University in St. Louis on an architecture scholarship. and then left the university. Many sources claim that he was dismissed for his advocacy of Frank Lloyd Wright and his interest in modern architects. However, less publicized sources indicate he left because couldn’t balance his studies with his part-time work at a local architecture firm.While at Washington University, he met his first wife, Catherine Woermann, whom he married in 1929. They divorced in 1941.  They had one daughter.  Charles worked in his own architecture firm in St. Louis until Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen (one of his great idols) invited to further study architecture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  He became a teacher there and later the head of the industrial design department.

Ray Kaiser, born in California, graduated from Bennett Women’s College in Millbrook, New York, and then moved to New York City, where she studied abstract expressionist painting with Hans Hofmann.  In 1940, she began studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.  That is where magic began!

Charles had became close friends with Eliel’s son Eero Saarinen and together they designed prize-winning furniture for New York’s Museum of Modern Art “Organic Design in Home Furnishings” competition. Their work displayed the new technique of wood moulding.  Ray was working on design drawings for the competition.  Charles and Ray married a year later to Los Angeles where they would continue designing furniture.

I’ve highlighted some of their most famous and influential designs below which are still in production to this day by Herman Miller.  You will recognize most of these pieces, in particular the iconic Eames lounge chair and ottoman.

670 Lounge Chair, 1958

Aluminum Group Tilt Swivel, 1958


Dining Sideshell Wire Wood base  or DSW, 1954

Dining Chair Wood or DCW, 1948

Dining Armchair Wood or the DAW, AKA the shell chair, 1954

All product photo above from Herman Miller

They also designed some toys using molded wood, like the Eames Elephant!

Photo Source Design Within Reach

Outside of furniture design they were still involved in architecture projects. Most notably, Charles and Ray designed and built the Eames House, as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s “Case Study” program.  Case Study House #8 was hand-constructed in a matter of days out of entirely prefabricated steel parts and it is considered to be a milestone of modern architecture to this day.


The couple also were involved in other creative ventures over the years such as films and textile design. Charles Eames died in 1978 and Ray died 10 years later. You can read much more on the Eames and their designs here.

Even if modern mid-century style pieces aren’t your go-to design style, I think most people can certainly appreciate how much the Eames designs have influenced today’s modern furniture design.  You can see my two previous Masters of Furniture Posts, here and here.

Have a great weekend!


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Dining Room Chairs Option 2: Probability Chair

Good Morning!

After some major searching I’ve found another option for my dining table chairs. If you recall with my first option, the wishbone chair, I had some concerns with it’s comfort.  Since that post I’ve had an opportunity to sit in one.  It isn’t uncomfortable but I also didn’t sit down and say, “ooooh this is niiiice”.  So it’s still on the table (or I suppose at the table in this case). However in the same store that I tried out the wishbone (Morba on Queen Street West), I discovered an unlikely new candidate.  Let me explain…

We all have seen the Eames DSW dining chairs…

photo via

I do really like the look of these chairs, especially when inserted into a not so modern space.



They look great, and I love the dowel legs, but I had never considered these because I find them really uncomfortable.  Enter the Probability Chair by Zuo Modern which is an upholstered version of the Eames DSW.  I sat in this chair on the weekend and it is really comfortable!  And I really like the look.

I sat in this chair on the weekend and it is really comfortable!  AND the price point is great coming in under $200. I have a feeling that this might be the winner in the end.  What do you think?

IKEA Strind Coffee Table Hack

Good Morning!

This morning I’m sharing a little IKEA coffee table hack. A few years ago I built and upholstered an ottoman/coffee table with a tufted top and storage inside for my living room.


Although not shown above I normally have a lucite tray on top that I use for a hard surface.  I loved this piece for quite awhile but as time has gone on it has started to wear out.  There are stains on it which I haven’t been able to  get out and it just looks a little worse for wear.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It also has started to annoy me that it doesn’t have a larger hard surface on top.  I could get a bigger tray I suppose, but I think I have just been craving a proper hard top coffee table.  Also, due to my own poor design, it weighs about 1000 pounds.  Ok, not that much but it’s HEAVY.  I used what I had on hand when I built the frame, and the wood I had just happened to be 2×4’s, which aren’t particularly heavy on their own but clearly are when built as a frame.  So the piece is a pain in the a$$ to move.

When I was looking at coffee tables, I came across this Ikea coffee table makeover by the Hunted Interior and was inspired.

via the Hunted Interior

So, I went to Ikea and found this Strind coffee table for $129.00. I like the round shape and the fact that it has a second level. I’m not a fan of the wheels but I figured it was something I could replace later if I wanted too.

Photo via Ikea

I spray painted the metal base using Krylon Metallic Brilliant Gold paint which gives a lovely rosy gold tone which I like.



And this is what I got…





I’m very happy with the result! I’m still not loving the wheels but without them it’s too low, so I’ll have to live with them for now.

Have a great day!


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