STYLE HOME: A Sterling Renovation

A quaint cottage on Rehoboth's Silver Lake is carefully converted into an elegant yet efficient beach abode.



E

dwin Albers bought a weary 1930s lakefront cottage in Rehoboth Beach for its stunning view of the water.

That isn’t unusual in a community where the ground a home sits on frequently exceeds the value of the structure.

But in transforming the cottage from a ramshackle getaway to a polished retreat, Albers took a novel approach. He decided he would renovate the house rather than tear it down.

“It had a lot of potential,” he says. “The house just needed to be reorganized to improve the flow.”

His respectful restoration changed his view on life, as well.

In 2000, Albers was inundated with requests for design advice after his house was the hit of the cottage tour for the Rehoboth Art League, a must-do event for aficionados of architecture and decorating.

That inspired the one-time executive of an engineering firm to move to the beach year-round and launch a design firm with Michael Cusumano, his partner in business and life.

Design Center of Rehoboth, also known as DCOR, is a themed resource for furnishings, flooring, art, accessories, lighting and landscaping, as well as guidance on how to incorporate those elements into a home.

When it came to updating his own house, Albers factored in such elements as ceiling height, natural light and the views outdoors in allocating space.

Though the three-bedroom, three-bath house gained only 200 square feet from its original 2,300 square feet, the property lives large because the floor plan is so open.

“Have you ever noticed how closed in a house feels when there are a lot of hallways and a bunch of choppy little rooms?” Albers says. “Here you can stand in the dining area at the front of the house and see clear through to the back garden. It’s the same amount of space, but it feels much larger.”

An expansive living room is decorated in antiques and traditional furniture in a masculine, subtly nautical palette of blue, tan and white. The room is anchored by a fireplace with crisp, white moldings, flanked by a pair of built-in bookcases.

“Symmetry is ever pleasing to the eye,” Albers says. “It establishes an immediate sense of harmony.”

A quartet of big wicker chairs with deep cushions extends that vibe, defining a casual lounge at the back of the house, where there is easy access to the wet bar in an adjoining butler’s pantry.

“I wanted large, overstuffed chairs where people can relax,” Albers says. “The wicker keeps it from looking too formal.”

The lounge also offers views of a shaded garden lush with mature magnolia and cypress trees, the space formerly occupied by a dining room.

In reconfiguring the house, Albers moved the eating area to the front in order to take full advantage of the spectacular vistas of the water. The long, farmhouse-style table easily seats 12, and is open to the kitchen. Because the house is set high, the choicest views are from the vantage point of a person who is sitting, which made it an ideal site for dining.

“When you stand in a room, it’s different than when you sit in a room,” he says. “You need to take that into account when you are deciding where to put furniture.”

French doors opening to a front porch are dressed smartly in crisp white curtains topped with three bands of navy in ascending widths: 1 inch, 2 inches and 3 inches. “Simple cotton duck cloth, something to wave in the breeze when the doors are open,” he says.

The old kitchen has been supplanted by a laundry room and large pantry that also can function as an auxiliary kitchen. A former marketing executive, Cusumano is a gifted cook. He and Albers worked together to install specialized storage for his array of pots, pans and small appliances.

“We are both very handy and enjoyed figuring out ways to make things work efficiently,” Cusumano says.

Ceilings are an important part of the urban mix on the first floor. In the lounge, a subtle grid provides the aura of a coffered ceiling. Albers also appreciates beadboard ceilings because they conjure images of classic porches and Nantucket cottages.

In the kitchen, he gave the material a sophisticated checkerboard twist, installing beadboard in alternating squares with the slats running in opposite directions.

Clean-lined white cabinets contrast with deep, taupe walls and the sparkle of stainless steel appliances and bin pulls. An island provides seating, as well as additional prep space.

“It’s compact but doesn’t look like it because of the open floor plan,” Cusumano notes. “And it works wonderfully.”

Upstairs, Albers designed a master suite, as well as rooms for guests and his two children. He created both drama and additional space in the master bedroom by raising the ceiling to the roofline and integrating storage under the eaves.

“I like the angles,” Cusumano says. “It really adds to the coziness.”

Outdoors, Albers maximized the views with an intimate, second-floor deck, where he and friends can watch geese glide on the lake. The distinctive spiral on the wood railing is a modified spider web.

In a guestroom, he retained open built-in shelving installed in the 1950s, a casual place for friends and relatives to stow their gear for a few days.

“It’s great when people come to visit,” Albers says. “They can just toss their things in there and grab them whenever they want.”

Retaining the solid, functional and attractive shelving is typical of the partners’ approach to design. The way they see it, an integral part of the process is deciding what elements of a house to keep, what to discard and what to modify.

“Ed is a purist, with a total understanding of architecture, and I’m very visual,” Cusumano says. “Neither one of us believes in doing away with things that are beautiful and useful.”

Although it wasn’t beautiful yet, Albers decided a garage built from a 1930s kit from Sears was worth preserving. Now the space is a glamorous poolside guesthouse, as well as a study in design tricks that make the space both efficient and good looking.

On the first story, floors are paved in large porcelain tiles that look like terra cotta, set on the diagonal to visually expand the rooms. The countertops in the bar area are no-fuss laminate. Their luxe look is inspired by earthy color, a gold-tinged brown reminiscent of stone.

Overhead, the garage’s original rafters were left exposed, reinterpreted as rustic ceiling beams. Slipcovered seating flanks a gas fireplace. “It’s a great place to come, even when there aren’t guests,” Cusumano says. “It’s pleasant to sit by the fire and share a glass of wine.”

The exterior of both the main house and guesthouse are typified by cottage details. The posts on decks and fences are capped with copper. The house is painted a sunny yellow.

Wooden gates that might have been transported from a New England garden create a sense of welcome, ushering visitors up the path to the house and setting the tone for the relaxed elegance inside.

 “You should feel good even before you walk into a house,” Albers says. “It makes you happy to be home.”

D

 

Get the look

For a sense of visual harmony, think symmetry. Ed Albers infused the living room with architectural balance by flanking a fireplace with matching bookcases.

 

Create a feeling of continuity by reinterpreting materials throughout the house. Beadboard and moldings are a recurring theme in the Silver Lake cottage.

 

When renovating an older home, research the architectural style, then choose elements that fit the period of the house, such as wood floors and traditional furniture. Combine those elements with modern amenities, including an updated kitchen.

 

Counter earth-tone paint colors with crisp, white trim to highlight the woodwork, wainscoting and moldings.

 

A dark stain on hardwood floors also provides a striking contrast to white woodwork and creates a picture frame effect around area rugs.

 

 

 

 

 

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January 2017

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
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Telephone: 302-654-8638
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Sports Card & Collectible Show at Aetna Fire Hall on Jan. 22—sign up now! -Sports Cards McFarlane Figures Comic Books Non-Sports cards Wrestling Items Vintage Starting...

Cost: $2

Where:
Aetna Fire Hall
400 Ogletown Road
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: A2Z Promotions
Telephone: 302-983-2636
Contact Name: Bob Harper
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
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Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
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Belly Dance Classes with Zahra Beginner & intermediate classes open to teens and adults Sundays in January starting Jan 8th Beginner: 2:30-3:30 p.m. Intermediate: 1 - 2 p.m (must get...

Cost: $15-$42

Where:
Take the Lead Studio
320 Lantana Drive
Hockessin , DE  19711
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Sponsor: Take the Lead
Contact Name: Zahra
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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
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Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
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Ah, typecasting—the baritone is always the bad guy! In Devils, Drunks & Dastardly Dudes, we’ll go on an operatic journey of men behaving badly. We’ll add a tenor to the mix, too… but we...

Cost: $29-$59

Where:
OperaDelaware Studio
4 South Poplar St.
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Sponsor: OperaDelaware
Telephone: 302-442-7809
Contact Name: Mary Wilcosky
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Come give curling a try! At this 2-hour intro-to-curling event we'll provide a basic lesson then coach you through a mini-game.  Whether you just want to cross #curling off your bucket list or...

Cost: $35

Where:
The Pond Ice Arena
101 John Campbell Rd
Newark, DE  19711
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Sponsor: Diamond State Curling Club
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Notbybreadalone Ministries presents Feeding the Hungry Outreach. All are welcome to come and partake of food, fun and fellowship. Those who desire a better way of life through Jesus Christ are...

Cost: Free

Where:
2nd and 3rd Streets
Wilmington, DE  19801


Sponsor: Notbybreadalone Outreach Ministries
Telephone: 442-0440
Contact Name: Ministers Wayne and Stephanie Dumpson
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Guest speakers Patty Dailey-Lewis, executive director of the Beau Biden Foundation, and Delaware Family Court commissioner Loretta Young will discuss how participation in social media can too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wilmington University - Dover
Building A Auditorium
3282 N DuPont Highway
Dover, DE  19901
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Sponsor: Wilmington University College of Social & Behavioral Sciences
Telephone: 302-295-1164
Contact Name: Dr. Johanna Bishop
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmers Market Nov 8, 2016 - April 11, 2017  11 am- 2 pm 25 vendors Location:  East Coast Garden Center 30366 Cordrey Rd Millsboro, DE 19966 302-945-3489

Cost: frr

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Sponsor: East Coast Garden Center
Telephone: 302-945-3489
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East Coast Garden Center Indoor Farmer's Marke 25 vendors

Cost: Free

Where:
East Coast Garden Center
30366 Cordrey Rd
Millsboro, DE  19966
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Telephone: 302-945-3489
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The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

A four-week series of ballroom dancing classes taught by teachers from the BlueBallroom. Tuesdays starting Jan. 10. Classes are $30 a lesson for Non-Members. Non-Member slots are limited. For...

Cost: $30

Where:
University and Whist Club
805 N Broom St
Wilmington, DE  19806
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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society announces the next play in the exciting series of National Theatre Live screenings. National Theatre Live is a groundbreaking project that presents the best of...

Cost: $18-$20

Where:
Cinema Art Theater
17701 Dartmouth Drive, #2
Lewes, DE  19958
View map »


Sponsor: Rehoboth Beach Film Society
Telephone: 302-645-9095
Contact Name: Jeri Kaplan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM-12:00PM Fall session: Thursday, Dec 1st thru Thursday, December 15th Winter session: Tuesday, January 17th thru Thursday, March 30th   Drop in on Nature is...

Cost: see description

Where:
The Annex
501 Chandler Mill Rd
Kennett Square, PA  19348
View map »


Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
Website »

More information

Thursdays from 4:00PM-5:30PM Fall session: December 1st, 8th and 15th Winter session: Starts January 19th, every other Thursday until March 30th This program is based entirely outdoors and is...

Cost: Cost: $30 for TLC members / $40 for non-members

Where:
Bucktoe Creek Preserve
432 Sharp Rd
Avondale, PA  19311
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Sponsor: The Land Conservancy
Telephone: 610-347-0347 ext.104
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MARC BROUSSARD In 2004, Marc Broussard, then a precocious 22-year-old singer/songwriter, released his major-label debut; he called it Carencro, after the Louisiana town where he was born and...

Cost: $22 SRO- $32 SEATED

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

Tutto Fresco has live entertainment every Friday night from 6:30–9:30 p.m. Call for details. http://tuttofrescode.com/

Where:
Tutto Fresco
514 Philadelphia Pike
Wilmington, DE  19809
View map »

More information

The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Meeting every Friday, Bayhealth Kent General Hospital, 640 s. State Street, Dover, 7:30 pm., Private Dining Room #3 in the basement. For those who have, or think they may have a gambling problem....

Cost: 0.00

Where:
Bayhealth Kent General Hospital
640 S. State Street
Private Dining Room #3
Dover, DE  19901
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Telephone: 800-855-2CALLGA
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Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
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Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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January 3 - 28  “Winter Group Show” Rotating Group Show features a variety of art in different styles and media. Custom Framing & Gift Certificates are always available. Gallery Hours:...

Cost: free

Where:
The Station Gallery
3922 Kennett Pike
Greenville, DE  19807
View map »


Telephone: 302-654-8638
Website »

More information

January 28 – Saturday – 1 to 4 p.m. Science Saturday – Truss Me, You Won’t Fall! Become an engineer for the day. Design a bridge to hold as much weight as possible....

Cost: Activities are included in regular admission and free for members.

Where:
Hagley Museum
201 Hagley Creek Road
Wilmington, DE  19807
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Sponsor: Hagley Museum
Telephone: (302) 65802400 x 238
Contact Name: Jessica Eisenbrey
Website »

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

GRILLED CHEESE AND CRAFT BEER TASTING We have taken two of the best things on earth and paired them together – Grilled Cheese and Craft Beer – and paired them together in unexpected and...

Cost: $40

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Contact Name: MP Intern
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Saturday, January 28, 2017 at  7:30 pm at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 763 Valley Forge Rd, Wayne, PA 19087 Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 3 pm at Church of the Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square...

Cost: Tickets are $25 online, and $30 at the door. Student tickets $10 at the door.

Where:
Church of the Holy Trinity
1904 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA  19103
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Sponsor: Lyric Fest
Telephone: 215-438-1702
Contact Name: Jessica Nelson
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Fan favorite, Dick Smith, returns to the Dickinson Theatre Organ Society concert stage on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017 for a show that is sure to bring the house down! Dick Smith has been a...

Cost: $15 Adults; $10 Students

Where:
John Dickinson High School Auditorium
1801 Milltown Road
Wilmington, DE  19808
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Sponsor: Dickinson Theatre Organ Society
Telephone: 302-995-2603
Contact Name: Bob Dilworth
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The Dickinson Theatre Organ Society presents Dick Smith. For tickets, click here: http://www.dtoskimball.org/events-tickets/ticket-information/ For further information, please call us at...

Where:
, DE

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The Resident Ensemble Players, Delaware’s professional acting company performing at the University of Delaware, presents The Bells by Theresa Rebeck. During the great Yukon gold rush of the...

Cost: $15 - $30

Where:
Thompson Theatre, Roselle Center for the Arts
110 Orchard Rd.
Newark, DE  19716
View map »


Sponsor: Resident Ensemble Players
Telephone: (302) 831-2204
Website »

More information

Cost: $12-$20

Where:
Wilmington Drama League
10 West Lea Blvd.
Wilmington, DE  19802
View map »


Sponsor: Wilmington Drama League
Telephone: 302-764-3396
Contact Name: Kathy Buterbaugh
Website »

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MOTHERSHIP Mothership is the area's premier Led Zeppelin Tribute show. Composed of seasoned, professional musicians Mario Padovani - vocals, keyboards, Frank Ginocchio - drums, Chris Julian -...

Cost: 15

Where:
World Cafe Live Wilmington
500 N Market St
Wilmington, DE  19801
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Telephone: 215-222-1400
Website »

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