The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

A Bitch Slap Regarding Arizona Rooms

One of my favorite business tips bloggers, Erika Napoletano, who writes Redhead Writing, does a regular feature called The Bitch Slap. This is where she gives her readers the hard truth and doesn’t pretty it up to save feelings.

I’ve decided the homeowners of the state of Arizona need a Bitch Slap, and I’m prepared to hand it out this morning.

The topic we need to have a little heart-to-heart about this morning is: Arizona Rooms. You know what these are. In Florida they call them Florida Rooms. They’re the backyard patios that have been turned into sort of outdoor rooms. Like you walk out the sliding glass door from the living room and you’re actually in another room, usually with windows and another exterior door and some kind of modified outdoor flooring. Often there is a little window A/C unit because otherwise the room would turn into a giant oven in the summer.

OK, people, here comes The Bitch Slap: these Arizona rooms are a horrible idea. No one likes them. Not even your Great Aunt Gracie who doesn’t really like to be outside but sort of likes to pretend she’s outside sometimes, actually thinks they make sense. Even Great Aunt Gracie thinks Arizona rooms are hideous, stupid and a giant deterrent to resale.

That’s right. I know you think you saw a well-done Arizona room once, or you knew someone who walled in their patio and it kind of worked, but you’re wrong. Or you’re lying. Or you’re stupid. One of those three. Arizona Rooms are crimes against architecture and good taste.

I guarantee I have not ever, in my almost seven year career as a Realtor, had a client walk into a house, spot the Arizona Room off the back and say, “Wow! Look at that! I have always wanted a poorly constructed homemade room with rancid outdoor carpet instead of a back patio! I love how it cuts off all natural light to the living room and kitchen area and makes the whole place feel more like a cave. And I bet that little wall A/C unit totally keeps this tiny green house nice and cool in the summer and isn’t a complete eyesore from the remaining, although constricted, backyard!”

Not one. I promise.

I almost get why you think it might be a good idea. You’re from some other state where people like to sit on their back porches (because they’re called porches in that state) and admire their backyards and relax. You think you will miss this in the summer because it’s just so hot in Arizona. So you think if you wall in the patio and air-condition it then you’ll be able to enjoy both the backyard and not die of heat exhaustion.

The logic is almost there, I’ll give you that. But just so much a lot of: NO. No one who lives in Arizona wants to sit and look at the heat waves rising off the ground in our backyards in July. We’re happily content to sit outside and enjoy the weather November through March. We prefer the comfort of the true insides of our houses when the weather is brutal. Did people sit on their porches all bundled up to watch the snow fall in the winter in whatever godforsaken part of the country you’re from? No? Well you live in Arizona now; it’s time to adjust.

Also? You’re not a contractor. You don’t have home building skilz. I don’t care how much HGTV you watch, you cannot build your own sort-of-addition and not have it come out as pretty as a steaming pile of poo. No one wants to sit inside DIY rooms that do a poor job of keeping moisture out and an even worse job of keeping the small amount of cool air the ugly ass window A/C unit you bought on sale at Home Depot generates in.

The point is, if you ever had the fleeting thought that it might be nice to turn your patio into an Arizona Room, please immediately reach for the nearest fork and stick it in your own ear. Then go back to enjoying the legitimate inside of your actual house.

The Realtors of Arizona thank you for not totally effing up your resale value.

80 Responses to A Bitch Slap Regarding Arizona Rooms

  1. They got mad remodeling skilz yo! I completely hate those things!

    • The reason I purchased my home several years ago, was because the patio was completely enclosed. I thought at the time it was an Arizona Room, however after reading this article regarding Arizona Rooms, I know it is NOT. IT REALLY IS A BONUS ROOM, WITH AIRCONDITIONING VENTS, FIREPLACE, AND WINDOWS ALL ACROSS THE OUTSIDE WALL WITH TWO SLIDING GLASS DOORS. You stated that you have never seen a built on patio room that was done well. This room was done by a contractor and is reallly nice. I call it the “entertainment (game) room, because this is where I put my son’s pool table, and big screen TV, for video games. At that time the teanagers had their room which opened up to the pool and back yard, and I had complete privacy in my home. I now have my home “for sale”, as these teanagers are in their 30’s and moved out and I am retired. Too much house for just me at the county assessor’s source, 2364 sq ft. which includes this room. You are welcome to tour this home by calling 602 448 7584 for a scheduled convenient time, and my even have a buyer, who will buy this house as I did because they need their privacy from their teenagers…Thank You

      • I am actually looking for a house with an “Arizona” room. The house we live in now has one and it was done professionally and is amazing. It’s perfect for the cats and we installed a cat door in our front door for them. I love the room and don’t know what the hell the lady that wrote this is talking about. She must hang out with some ghetto ass people who build their own rooms. Yeah those are going to probably be crap. We spent 15k for another 300sq feet and it was worth every penny.

    • I’ll have to disagree as I’ve seen many AZ rooms that were added onto park models that brought the value up considerably. These rooms can serve as an extra bedroom for guests, entertainment room, craft room, you name it. Plus you can build extra closet space, laundry room, bathroom and shelves. It’s perfect to have in Arizona on a hot day or night when it’s too hot to stay outside. You can screen it in but with AZ dust, I recommend glass. I just built one and it’s perfect for entertaining, overnight guests, laundry and my cat lives the heat because I don’t aircondition it when I’m not down there.

  2. Funny you should mention other states where they glass-in porches so they can huddle together and watch the snow fall. In fact that’s exactly what we did with our house in Kansas and it was great. Otherwise half your house turns into unusable snow drifts for 3 months. The glass was removable to allow you to enjoy the breeze in the nicer months but I have fond memories of playing pool and entertaining guests in our glass porches. Arizona is just too dusty for patios, in my opinion. I put up screens and use mine for storage and the occasional handyman job.

    • Clearly I know nothing about life in other states. 😀

      • Elizabeth!!! I love you!!!! Your article was awesome, on the freakin’ money!!! I’m a designer, with a gift of reincarnating crap to treasures! I am bringing life back to my daughters 1980’s home. She has the senseless “AZ room”. I’ve been begging her to knock it down!!! I will definitely be showing her your article, of pure “Intelligence”!!!

  3. Arizona rooms are awesome. Especially since we have so many bugs that prevent us from enjoying the outdoors fully. And because I love darkening the family room by blocking the natural light. Not too mention the kickass slope to the ceiling and the shrinking of the backyard …

  4. Well said! I have inspected many AZ rooms and agree completely! Unprofessionally constructed AZ rooms typically have multiple concerns that end up on an inspection report.

  5. Do you need to eat lunch?

    • While I did think this blog post topic up during a Hunger Rage attack yesterday, I’m not currently in the midst of one and I stand by its validity.

      • And I didn’t blog the other idea I came up with yesterday, ‘Why I hate everything and everyone including you reading this because your face is stupid’. So just be happy about that.

    • Nicely said LWILLIE

  6. So, is a small, screened-in patio offensive as well? I don’t want a whole room, but my indoor cats and I would love a screened porch. Our new landlord is promising us at least a screen door for the French doors on the back of the house that currently give us no ventilation unless they are wide-open.

    • Ha! That’s funny, Wendy. I have had the occasional client who thinks the AZ room might be good for a pet room. I guess I can see that. Honestly, as long as it’s professionally constructed then it’s just a matter of opinion. Is the generally DIYness of the ones I see regularly that gets my panties in a bunch.

  7. Wow, the sting of that slap will last me long enough to remember don’t do it if I have any future thoughts of closing in the patio. Seriously, I agree with you. Unless someone is going to put in the work of making sure the “Arizona room” flows with the rest of the house, it is just like a giant pimple on the end of your nose.

  8. but! what if they CUT A HUGE HOLE IN TEH SIDE OF THE HOUSE and put in NO DOORWAY so that it acts like it’s PART of the house but actually is nothing more than a huge HEAT BOX OF HELL in the summer and the DRAFT DEMON DEVIL SPAWN in winter? And what if they build it so that the floor slants so steeply away from the house that you can actually SEE the far edge “fall off” when you’re standing inside the house? And WHAT IF they make it out of wood paneling that should have been outlawed in the 70’s and put up fancy lace curtains?

    Have I mentioned lately how tired I am of working on Erik’s house? We finally got MOST of the work done that needs to be done before we can just bulldoze that damn room right off the back of the house and then light it on fire and dance naked around it in victory. Yes, we’ll invite you. You don’t have to be naked. You can just take pictures to document it for posterity. And also, to show other homeowners why they should NEVER EVER EVER BUILD ONE. GRRRRR!


  9. Love the Post! However, I’m afraid you have no idea what you’re talking about when it comes to Florida (Arizona) rooms in my part of the country. I can’t wait to write a rebuttal to you, it’s far too extensive for this tiny little comment block!

    • OO! looking forward to it, Jonathan! do you call them Florida or Arizona rooms in Maryland? Or do you call them Maryland Rooms?

      • We call them sun rooms, 3 season rooms or even 4 season rooms depending on if they are heated/cooled or not….my sis lives in AZ. Can’t imagine sitting outside in the summer! LOL

      • I think a HUGE factor here is if your AZ room was DIYed as an idea on the drop of a dime by a homeowner who has no building experience, knowledge or capabilities. They add it on themselves disregarding any and all contracting codes, etc. Vs hiring a contractor to build it legally and attractively, unless your a homeowner who’s capable- as in have the necessary skills required to build according to code and not make violations, etc
        Ive seen majority of az rooms added on so poorly that it’s not only an eye sore but also done completely without any legal approval or permits- you know the ones where you look out of the laundry room or kitchen window and right into the az room…not up to code.
        If it’s actually done well and legal then I suppose it’s a matter of opinion. Id personally rather :-/ an extra room INSIDE the house, or loft, for extra space for kids… outside here in Tucson is too dusty it ruines your belongings in the AZ room. Bugs get in, weather damage, HEAT EXTREME HEAT, oh did I mention HEAT!!! Except for pets, I get wanting an enclosed patio for pets for sure.

        It just grabbed my attention when so many people were pretty offended by your article.. whatever, it’s an opinion. So many things being said online that warrant peoples anger,, this isn’t one!! It’s one thing to comment back with opinions, but when they get spoil angry it makes me feel likeso many of us could dedicate that passion on real issues, like getting people who are online predators, that’s worthy of your anger, rage and time. I’m just sayin..

  10. Words can’t begin to describe how much I enjoyed this post! But, consider yourself hugged! LOVED IT!

  11. I will take your rant one step further. As a Home Inspector, I see many of these Arizona rooms that enclose a bedroom window as well as the living room window. Frequently that violates code. See bedrooms are supposed to have a secondary egress TO THE EXTERIOR. When you enclose the patio, that window is no longer to the exterior.
    Then there is the wiring, the damage where the pool deck slopes to the wood on the bottom of the wall they added to enclose the room, etc etc.

    I shudder when I see AZ rooms on home inspections as I know I will be writing up several issues with it.

    Great post.

  12. Omg, I have never even heard of an Arizona room, but this is an awesome post. In Colorado people sometimes do the same thing, “so they can sit outside and watch the snow fall”….but they hardly ever heat or insulate the space, so they might as well REALLY sit outside and watch the snow fall.

    Thanks for starting my day with a laugh….Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Arizona weather is so different from Colorado, or Florida. It makes a lot of sense to have a glassed-in room on the south side of a home especially one in a place that gets really cold in the winter as many places in Colorado do. If it is designed correctly, it will have about a 2 foot overhang for the summer months, when the sun is higher in the sky, but will allow for the southern winter sun to easily get directly through the glass, providing the free, warm, passive solar heat. It doesn’t make nearly as much sense to put that glass on any other side of the home; only the south side. There are some beautiful, well designed, passive solar homes around the country.

  13. Wow now that is a rant if I ever heard one! Very funny to say the least. Most snow birds enjoy those rooms in Florida as they are somewhat functional and more often than not can be used for entertaining or storage of backyard items. Of course our weather is nothing compared to the 450-degree-oven-dry-heat-in-the-face-blast you have in AZ so that makes the difference here. Thanks for the chuckle and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

  14. Please. There is nothing anyone in any state could write — FLORIDA, I’M LOOKING AT YOU — to make me believe that a screened in room is better than a nice patio and backyard. Give me wide open, nicely groomed, space!

    • kelli, have you ever been to Florida in the summer? It’s a sauna outdoors! It’s a sauna with lots of insects! It’s the reason my mom hates Florida and loves Southern California; me too. I appreciated the totally screened in patio and pool my aunt and uncle had in Florida, but that doesn’t change it from being a sauna in the summer. I prefer the dry heat of the desert with a pool, often best used at sunset and later into the evening.

  15. Pingback: A Word In Defense of Florida Rooms | Southern Maryland Real Estate Blog & Homes For Sale

  16. I don’t venture across Central anymore but as I recall Sun City is the center of the Arizona Room universe.

    A Florida room makes sense because the mosquitoes will eat you alive before dusk in Florida. We don’t have that problem in Arizona so a patio is much better than an Arizona room, we can actually sit on the patio and enjoy the evening in Arizona.

    Biggest problem with Arizona Rooms, you lose the patio.

    Second biggest problem is trying to convince the seller that the square footage of the Arizona room is worth a LOT less per square foot than the rest of the house.

  17. Wow!
    I must need a new house then. My thought was to enclose the patio as an alternative to a wrought iron pool fence to keep our new baby out of the water.
    Problem is this fence will have to encircle the whole pool. About 300 linear feet. OR fence off the back patio and I figured glass would look nicer and be more functional for heating and cooling than wrought iron.
    Bottom line. If its too hot to be outside then why be outside. I’m from the east coast and the mosquitos are nasty but Arizona is not a dustbowl for no reason and the glass would likely have to be cleaned daily.
    I don’t even have patio furniture because I have to vaccuum it before sitting on it.
    Don’t buy in AZ unless your neighbors have their dirt covered.
    I live in the city limits but near horse property. I’m finding the size of the lot isn’t worth the price if it is unuseable for any other reason than keeping the neighbors at bay.
    Any suggestion other than infant swim survival classes because we have already done that.
    We have 3 exits going to about a 1000 sq ft covered patio and another 4000 sq ft of patio around the pool.
    Its sand set travertine on the patio so mesh fencing won’t work.
    Maybe you can sell it for me and I will move to a more temperate climate with seasons.
    Gosh that would be nice.

  18. AZ rooms are great. Great barrier from the bugs and dust, and provide a good place to hang out while the kids swim. So I’ll rip it down before I put my house on the market, but it’s functionally great. It does not stop sunlight from getting into the house. Most people focus on living and not selling their home. It’s just as easy to take an AZ room down as to build. I’m assuming this blogger is a bitter person with no kids and no roots.

  19. I’m not sure what you’ve been smoking but please pass me some. Maybe you’ve just never seen an Arizona room done well? I’m actually intentionally looking for an AZ room in my first home, my friends home has one and it’s beautiful, it doesn’t block any light, has a nice cement floor on it with block wall, screens and their family/friends (between 5-20) are constantly in the AZ room. I think they spend more time there than inside the home. After all, if you live in AZ, it’s to enjoy the weather, not avoid it. It’s July right now and we still go and sit outside even in 100 plus temps. Maybe the people complaining about the weather in AZ are the ones who “need to adjust” as you put it.

  20. Lanai is what they’re called in Florida. Your grandfather has one, AND a patio. I agree totally about AZ rooms – makes zero sense. Build a gazebo – you’ll be cooler.

  21. How about the (William) Levitt Houses on Long Island, NY? Plenty of homeowners took those tiny post-WWII homes & made them larger with additions by using their madly awesome DIY skills.

  22. My grandma used to have a beautiful sun room in her old home in Missouri. She has a green thumb, and it was an inviting jungle in there year round. In Phoenix, however, even a well-made sun room becomes a sweltering death box most of the year. I would much rather have a nice shaded patio with a portable heater for the few cold nights.

  23. I’ve lived in Arizona for a decade, and in some of the apartment complexes I used to live in, the management allowed me to put up screening at the edge of the patio, then I’d put a cat door insert in the sliding glass door so that my cats had a place to go outside, without letting them roam the neighborhood and get run over by cars. It worked pretty well as a poor man’s “Arizona Room” of sorts. Yes, it was hot in the summer, and you couldn’t keep it cool. But at least it kept the cats in, and the leaves and pine needles out. As for keeping the moisture out, I don’t know what the author of this article is talking about. It’s ARIZONA. -There isn’t any freaking moisture. Most of the time it’s dry. So what’s she talking about. Anyway, now that I live in a house, for a long time, I’ve wanted to do the same with my house, but I want to do it in a way that looks professional. But of course that would many cost about $5,000 to do it right. On top of that, I read this article from a realtor telling me that building something like this would make my home more difficult to resell?

  24. Considering all the stick and stucco cookie cutter stuff built on a lot that leaves 4 feet between houses, I can see why you are down on AZ rooms. My house was built 40 years ago and is on an acre. The walled in 4,000ft yard is my landscape delight, rest of the property is what nature intended. Most of my community is the same. Having an AZ room (ours has windows with screens) allows us enjoyment at least eight months of the year…even last year when it snowed. If you knew more about the Tucson area you would know that an AZ room is a wonderful addition for enjoying even the monsoon fireworks display. Yes these rooms are very nice to have, just consider the style of the house,the size of the land and getting a good/qualified contractor.

  25. Elizabeth, I am so sorry your experience with DIY home improvement projects are the “HILL-BILLY” versions, but not all of them are bad and I have completed quite a few successfully with building permits and inspections. This blog has turned into nothing more than a pissing match between realtor’s. If you don’t like your job, then get a new one, but quit bagging on things that are successful that you haven’t personally seen. Keep in mind everyone has an opinion and you may not agree with it. Until you can walk in the person’s shoes who may have created or had a hand in the mess you might want to keep your opinions to yourself. You don’t walk on water either from what I have read!!! If you consider yourself such an epert realtor, Why don’t you tell the home-owner how to fix it, if you can!

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  27. WOW! We were planning on contacting a realtor to help us with our move from Colorado to Arizona. Didn’t realize how much realtors despised us. Guess we’ll try to go it alone.

    • Just to let you know. I had a great realtor in Bullhead City Az. Her name is Candace Galvane. Remax Realtors. Moved from Calif to Az

  28. Pingback: 10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Real Estate – Real Estate Tangent

  29. I am planning on adding contractor-built Arizona room to my high desert home near Sedona. My back yard is about 300 feet deep, so in true American fashion, I’ll eat my cake and have it too: a closed in space on the north side of my home with A/C (solar-powered) views of national park and when the weather moderates, go out onto my wrap-around deck and when I want to connect to Earth Mother, step onto my kitchen patio-fireplace, and still not good enough onto my syn-lawn, and finally, good ol’ Arizona dirt. And with the internet, what is a Realtor? Is that a name for non-fiction writer?

  30. Just go to Google and type in the search field Arizona Room and then click on images. I am sure you will see several Arizona Rooms that are without a doubt a asset to the house.

  31. What a narrow-minded, idiotic post. Do all realtors impose all their personal tastes and lifestyle habits on their clients? Guess what – a lot of people love and use Arizona rooms, a lot of people who choose to live in Arizona don’t share your hatred of the heat and in fact embrace it, a lot of people have cats they would like to have get some fresh air without getting eaten by coyotes, West Nile virus is alive and well in Arizona along with all the mosquitos, and I’ve never been in an Arizona room with dank, wet carpeting. This is Arizona, not Oregon. But I guess people being happy in their homes and having the features that fit their lifestyles is not important; your only concern is the resale value and the money you can make.

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  36. Wrong, I like them. Complete article is a farce, that’s the real bitch slap of truth.

    I bet if you polled people on a well constructed Arizona room, most of them would like it, especially if the house has a pool and a big enough back yard to make an extra patio space with pavers (like mine has). Do you know how annoying it is to be swimming on a windy day and having all your stuff on the patio being blown all over the place? Of course you do, and the Arizona Room solves that problem.

    If somebody nailed some 2×4’s and plywood to enclose their patio, then sure, that sucks. You’re wrong, though.

  37. Waaaa. Lol. Someone has their head in the sand.

    For a lot of us snowbirds it’s usable space and a great relaxing and entertainment area especially in the winter months.

    When properly constructed these rooms are a bonus! Anyone can screw up a reno project.

    Stay warm.

  38. While I appreciate the information I am a full time resident of Arizona and we live on 3 acres. Here are my reasons for wanting an Arizona room:
    1. Pack rats eat your furniture and pillows and leave feces and urine among other things.
    2. Pack rats attract snakes, rattle snakes in my yard!!
    3. It gets too cold and too hot to use the porch as desired.
    4. Well done Arizona rooms bring the out of doors inside. I have an awesome mountain view to enjoy.
    5. Arizona rooms are much less expensive than adding on to a house. I know, I added a master suite.
    6. I have plenty of yard so I will not lose the outside space.
    7. I need space for office and TV without crowding the rest of the house.
    I am all for choice. I chose an Arizona room!

  39. Haha this was very funny and true!! Every time i step into an Arizona room at an open house I feel hot and uncomfortable, and I immediately think about what a friggin hit box it will be in July. Screened porches back in Maryland were wonderful-kept the bugs out and allowed you to enjoy the outdoors for many months-but I think the lack of trees in AZ makes the view from a porch/sunroom less desirable…and of course the heat.

  40. Well spotted there. I co;7ln&#821dut find any better screenshots at the time of writing the article.If you think that’s bad, check out my review of I thought Portal 2 was absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait to see what the DLC is, unless it’s more hats.

  41. I tried to buy a house, and the arizona room sold it for me. Love them.

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  43. What do you think about the Arizona room in this house? My sister is considering buying it.

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  45. We also had a As room we built .It had outside windows all along the back a keep a fireplace two doors and we use this room year round this is the room that I hold special to me in my heart of this whole house it’s where we had all our functions spent our Christmases around our fireplace and when my mom got sick and we had to sell we had no problem selling it it went right away and you’re the Envy of everybody in the neighborhood in Mesa I miss that old house

  46. Love this playful commentary on the ‘Arizona Room’. Found it by Googling, what the heck is an ‘Arizona Room’ used for anyway!! I totally agree, not aesthetically pleasing at all. I happen to be searching for properties in Lake Havasu and the city is amuck with these rooms. Uck. they’re never done correctly. I’d rather have an outside patio with a solid cover, DG on the ground, and a misting system.

  47. We live in Arizona in the high desert.

    Temps are less extreme than the lower valley desert and we live outside except during the extreme heat which is usually late afternoon.

    Once monsoons hit we get regular cooling from the afternoon thunder-storm blowouts.

    Winter temps are warm days and freezing nights for the most part.

    We might get a total of approx 3 months where you’d not want to sit outside, at least at some part of the day.

    So for the 9+ months of excellent weather a well built screened in porch (AZ room to me)is ideal.

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  49. I get where you’re coming from with this rant. As I haven’t seen very many Arizona rooms that were nice. My friend even turned her’s into a home gym just cause she didn’t know what to do with it when they bought their house.

    But I recently bought a mid century modern home that was built in 1951 that originally had an arizona room off the dinning room. Which is kind of weird. But since I am looking to restore it to its former glory, it’s only right to put one back on the house.

    Any thoughts?

  50. I’m from southern California moving to Sun City West next year. By the way, I’m a Realtor here and when I look at those Arizona rooms they look awful to me. I’ve never seen one online I think looks good, and I’ve looked at A LOT of Sun City West real estate listings. I assume it’s mostly people from the Midwest who love them. I’m originally from Chicago and a screened-in porch is very nice.

    What I’d like to know is how many bugs do you have that you need to keep out? Also, if you are going to enclose your patio with glass and sit in it, why not just sit in your living room and look out at your yard so during the nice months sit on your patio and enjoy nature?

    I’m a bit afraid to buy a house without an Arizona room because maybe it’s more difficult to resell later. Yet on the other hand, I’m afraid to buy one with an Arizona room because maybe other newcomers think they are horribly ugly as well.

  51. The author of this article needs to be bitch slapped. You do know you can have an Arizona room AND still have a patio.

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  55. OMG yeah. AZ rooms can be awesome if they’re done correctly, obviously. Goodness, what a … well, I’m too polite to say

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