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Old 03-24-2021, 02:19 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Location: Central Texas
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Baba Yaga's Bus

I decided on getting a bus to turn into a house around Christmas 2019, and all my early plans involved saving money for the next year and starting around Christmas 2020.... and then 2020 did not agree with those plans. It did give me a lot of time to really think about all the small details that are important to me in a home, and really come up with a plan that I will be happy with.

My non negotiables were:
  • A full sized or larger bed in a permanent position
  • A large enough sink that I can wash a baking sheet without splashing water everywhere
  • All of the kitchen appliances that I use regularly (fridge with a freezer, microwave, oven, stove, crockpot, blender, toaster, food processor, mixer)
  • A laundry solution that does not involve going somewhere
  • A dedicated desk area for a desktop computer
  • A bathroom that I won't feel claustrophobic in, and don't need to move things in and out of to take a shower
  • A place to store my sewing machine when not in use
  • A place to store all of my tools
  • Air conditioning (I will melt in Texas without it)

With that list figured out, I could get a pretty good idea of the minimum amount of space I need. A bed is a standard size, the kitchen I want would be 12 feet of length, but could be either all on one side or broken into a galley kitchen, tools can be stored in a 'garage' of toolboxes mounted to the underside of the bus, ac can replace one of the roof hatches, and I used cardboard boxes to build a fake small bathroom to really see how small I would be ok with. I also realized that I use too much electricity to be comfortable running only on solar without making large sacrifices I don't want to make, so being 'off grid' will be a much later in time add on mostly for emergencies, short term, and to offset the normal electric bill.

Then we get into the fun details to add. All the things that I could live without, but why would I if I have the option to live with them? I also kept in mind that I would prefer to keep the bus as small as possible (for me that means 20ft from back wall to drivers set) so adding something like a hot tub in the back would be out of the question.
  • A wood burning stove (the only 'fun' thing that really needed dedicated space on the floorplan)
  • Heated floors
  • A pull out can rack in my cabinets
  • A spice rack mounted right next to the stove
  • A roof deck
  • A velvet tufted headboard wrapping around the side of bed
It was at this point I realized that nobody is telling me no and I can really just plan to do WHATEVER I wanted to.
  • Fold down cup holders hidden in the headboard
  • A clawfoot tub
  • Exposed metal plumbing painted gold
  • Drop down sections of the headboard against the windows in case I want to see out the window
  • A tv that rotates and can face my desk area and kitchen OR the bed
  • We already hid cupholders, why not hide a full fold down tray in the headboard for when I want to eat in bed

The only real things holding me back right now are a lack of money and not finding a bus to purchase that I love yet.

My drafts are based on 20' from the back wall to the drivers seat, 7'6" wide, and 6' tall (I am only 5'4" so I'm not super concerned about the exact height tho). Inside of those measurements I put 3" of allotted space for walls on both sides and the back, and I know where I would make cuts and how far I am willing to compromise on space if I need to. Not pictured at all is the fact that there will be a sliding bathroom door instead of just a massive gap. I plan to put a fresh water tank, the water pump and water heater under the half of the bed that the drawers don't reach to, with access from the outside. The main reason for the water tank is because then I will have a water reserve inside in case of freezes, and that side of under the bed would be difficult to access for storing anything anyway so I shouldn't waste the space. Electrical will probably go into a cabinet above the sink side of the kitchen or by the front door that I haven't fully assigned yet. Eventually when I do add in some solar, I'll most likely add the battery bank into a mounted storage box under the bus.

Here are some 3D models of my current plan:
Screenshot (29).pngScreenshot (28).png

Here are some labeled flat views of the passenger and drivers sides:
bus passenger side.pngbus driver side.png

Here is the top down. It's only really useful for an idea of walkway space in my opinion:
Screenshot (38).png

Here is the render of my concept for how I would paint the outside. The brown line and rectangle would be a wood stripe and fold down table. The windows that would be fully glass are the gray rectangles, and the ones that would be blocked in some way are just darker and would hopefully follow the paint concept:
bus side2.jpg
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Old 03-31-2021, 10:59 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by averyonic View Post
I decided on getting a bus to turn into a house around Christmas 2019, and all my early plans involved saving money for the next year and starting around Christmas 2020.... and then 2020 did not agree with those plans. It did give me a lot of time to really think about all the small details that are important to me in a home, and really come up with a plan that I will be happy with.

My non negotiables were:
  • A full sized or larger bed in a permanent position
  • A large enough sink that I can wash a baking sheet without splashing water everywhere
  • All of the kitchen appliances that I use regularly (fridge with a freezer, microwave, oven, stove, crockpot, blender, toaster, food processor, mixer)
  • A laundry solution that does not involve going somewhere
  • A dedicated desk area for a desktop computer
  • A bathroom that I won't feel claustrophobic in, and don't need to move things in and out of to take a shower
  • A place to store my sewing machine when not in use
  • A place to store all of my tools
  • Air conditioning (I will melt in Texas without it)

With that list figured out, I could get a pretty good idea of the minimum amount of space I need. A bed is a standard size, the kitchen I want would be 12 feet of length, but could be either all on one side or broken into a galley kitchen, tools can be stored in a 'garage' of toolboxes mounted to the underside of the bus, ac can replace one of the roof hatches, and I used cardboard boxes to build a fake small bathroom to really see how small I would be ok with. I also realized that I use too much electricity to be comfortable running only on solar without making large sacrifices I don't want to make, so being 'off grid' will be a much later in time add on mostly for emergencies, short term, and to offset the normal electric bill.

Then we get into the fun details to add. All the things that I could live without, but why would I if I have the option to live with them? I also kept in mind that I would prefer to keep the bus as small as possible (for me that means 20ft from back wall to drivers set) so adding something like a hot tub in the back would be out of the question.
  • A wood burning stove (the only 'fun' thing that really needed dedicated space on the floorplan)
  • Heated floors
  • A pull out can rack in my cabinets
  • A spice rack mounted right next to the stove
  • A roof deck
  • A velvet tufted headboard wrapping around the side of bed
It was at this point I realized that nobody is telling me no and I can really just plan to do WHATEVER I wanted to.
  • Fold down cup holders hidden in the headboard
  • A clawfoot tub
  • Exposed metal plumbing painted gold
  • Drop down sections of the headboard against the windows in case I want to see out the window
  • A tv that rotates and can face my desk area and kitchen OR the bed
  • We already hid cupholders, why not hide a full fold down tray in the headboard for when I want to eat in bed

The only real things holding me back right now are a lack of money and not finding a bus to purchase that I love yet.

My drafts are based on 20' from the back wall to the drivers seat, 7'6" wide, and 6' tall (I am only 5'4" so I'm not super concerned about the exact height tho). Inside of those measurements I put 3" of allotted space for walls on both sides and the back, and I know where I would make cuts and how far I am willing to compromise on space if I need to. Not pictured at all is the fact that there will be a sliding bathroom door instead of just a massive gap. I plan to put a fresh water tank, the water pump and water heater under the half of the bed that the drawers don't reach to, with access from the outside. The main reason for the water tank is because then I will have a water reserve inside in case of freezes, and that side of under the bed would be difficult to access for storing anything anyway so I shouldn't waste the space. Electrical will probably go into a cabinet above the sink side of the kitchen or by the front door that I haven't fully assigned yet. Eventually when I do add in some solar, I'll most likely add the battery bank into a mounted storage box under the bus.

Here are some 3D models of my current plan:
Attachment 55546Attachment 55545

Here are some labeled flat views of the passenger and drivers sides:
Attachment 55548Attachment 55547

Here is the top down. It's only really useful for an idea of walkway space in my opinion:
Attachment 55551

Here is the render of my concept for how I would paint the outside. The brown line and rectangle would be a wood stripe and fold down table. The windows that would be fully glass are the gray rectangles, and the ones that would be blocked in some way are just darker and would hopefully follow the paint concept:
Attachment 55549

The gaps around the bathtub are wasted space and water will get in there, be hard to clean and the charm of a clawfoot will be lost. It needs to be displayed. A shower might be more sensible in that location and would free up some space and may be easier to clean/maintain.

I have heard that wood stoves make it hard to get insurance.

Closet? trashcan? You might want to wash that baking sheet outside or in the shower. LOL.

I've found that I need around a minimum 4'x4' space for a regular office chair in front of the desk to be able move the chair around and also get by the chair comfortably on a daily basis. Especially if there is more than 1 person. It looks like you may have that covered.

What/who is Baba Yaga?


Most people call the "top down" view the floor plan and it is often considered the most important/useful view.


What software did you use for your drawing? Looks good.
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Old 04-01-2021, 11:33 AM   #3
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My first impression is "Wow" as in overwhelmed. So many details, which isn't bad, yet there may be some paralysis by analysis.

I'm really happy that you know what you want and I really hope you get it.

My concern is to have those all those things in such a small area requires some pretty good skills in several areas. I'm hoping you have those skills or are willing to learn.

In my experience, best laid plans often are changed for a variety of reasons. I think having a good concept of your build and flexibility in implementing them is a positive and realistic approach.

I have a 33' flat nose, so about 26' of full open space, plus about 3.5' of shelf/resting space over the rear engine compartment. I'm thinking how I would put all the things you listed in that space and don't think I could.

One thing I would suggest, make sure you have outside storage compartments.

Best of luck.
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:47 PM   #4
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Lets see, 20' total build space. 12' kitchen, 6' bed. That leaves 2' for bathroom w/5' clawfoot tub and shower, office, sewing room, wood burning stove , that needs proper clearance. Highly unrealistic plan. I suggest you look for no less than a full size, 40' bus. You'll still run out of space.
With all the appliances you mention, you're going to need a much larger space than a cabinet for your electrics, they almost need a closet.
Heavy tub, toilet, water heater and water tanks hanging off the back end, not a good idea.
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:20 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Lets see, 20' total build space. 12' kitchen, 6' bed. That leaves 2' for bathroom w/5' clawfoot tub and shower, office, sewing room, wood burning stove , that needs proper clearance. Highly unrealistic plan. I suggest you look for no less than a full size, 40' bus. You'll still run out of space.
With all the appliances you mention, you're going to need a much larger space than a cabinet for your electrics, they almost need a closet.
Heavy tub, toilet, water heater and water tanks hanging off the back end, not a good idea.
No plan survives the start of battle. (Napoleon)

Don't get discouraged, take the feedback and adjust the plans!
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Old 04-01-2021, 06:55 PM   #6
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napolelion was a shortie? correct?
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rucker View Post
No plan survives the start of battle. (Napoleon)

Don't get discouraged, take the feedback and adjust the plans!

Didn't know it was Napoleon, but I always heard it as "Even the best plans seldom survive the first contact with the enemy". Don't even need a battle to kill the plan.
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Old 04-01-2021, 08:16 PM   #8
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napolelion was a shortie? correct?

A shortie with biggie plans, succeeded for a while until his plan got too big.
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Old 04-01-2021, 10:41 PM   #9
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napolelion was a shortie? correct?
That is funny! And you can pay me later for setting up the joke so well.
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Old 04-05-2021, 07:53 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
The gaps around the bathtub are wasted space and water will get in there, be hard to clean and the charm of a clawfoot will be lost. It needs to be displayed. A shower might be more sensible in that location and would free up some space and may be easier to clean/maintain.
You might be right, but worst case scenario I put the tub in, decide I hate cleaning around it and it isn't as cool as I thought it would be.... so I sell it for a loss and replace it with a shower pan. I'm willing to take that risk, because if it works out it's gonna be worth it. Especially if I end up getting a bus with a wheelchair door on the back passenger side that the tub would be next to. Can you just imagine driving of into some gorgeous remote location, and being able to open that door and soaking in a bubble bath, looking out at the nature with a glass of wine? (Also I am aware that if I get a wheelchair door it's going to be wider than my bathroom is currently drafted at and I would have to do something weird to make that work, which is also why I'm not sold on getting a bus with a wheelchair door yet. And I would probably get a bug screen for the opening if I did want to take a bath with the door open. Air is great, bugs are not.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
I have heard that wood stoves make it hard to get insurance.
Hard I can handle. Until someone tells me it's impossible, it's still in the plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
Closet?
I don't really have anything that needs to be hanging. The drawers under the bed are for my clothes as labeled in the third picture, and I have made mock drawers out of cardboard to the correct dimensions to measure how much I can fit in them, so I know all my clothes would fit just fine. But, if I get a bus with an extra foot or two from what I have planned, I would put a small closet for hanging clothes between the fridge and the drivers seat.

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trashcan?
Also labeled in the third picture.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
You might want to wash that baking sheet outside or in the shower. LOL.
We have different priorities in life, and that's ok. But I know how I cook and I know how I clean, and the large sink is firmly on my non negotiable list. If my options were to have a small sink that I felt like I needed to wash large dishes in the shower or outside, or completely scrap the idea of living in anything tiny and mobile, I would give up the bus long before the sink. Also, I plan on mounting the sink below the countertop, so when I cut the sink hole out of the counter, I can keep it to be able to cover the sink and get more counterspace when I am not using the sink. I've also planned ahead on where to store that section of countertop when it isn't covering the sink: I would cut it in half so I can fit the 2 halves under the sink when not in use, and also have the option to only have half of the sink open if I need the sink but also some extra counterspace at the same time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
I've found that I need around a minimum 4'x4' space for a regular office chair in front of the desk to be able move the chair around and also get by the chair comfortably on a daily basis. Especially if there is more than 1 person. It looks like you may have that covered.
The desk measurements in the plan are based on what my current desk measurements are in my house. I don't plan on living with another person so I won't have to worry about someone getting around me when I am sitting at my desk, and when I'm not sitting there and the chair is pushed in I should have plenty of space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
What/who is Baba Yaga?
The Baba Yaga is a witch common in eastern European folklore. The main characteristic I am pulling from her folklore is that she lives in a hut that has chicken legs so it can stand up and walk away, and a silhouette of her hut is on how I drafted the exterior paint.

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Originally Posted by kidharris View Post
What software did you use for your drawing?
I used SketchUp. It's free and just on an internet browser, but it has a bit of a learning curve especially if you don't have any experience with drafting programs.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
My concern is to have those all those things in such a small area requires some pretty good skills in several areas. I'm hoping you have those skills or are willing to learn.

In my experience, best laid plans often are changed for a variety of reasons. I think having a good concept of your build and flexibility in implementing them is a positive and realistic approach.
My background is in stage theater design and tech and I've worked in carpentry, costumes, and lighting. I have a surprising amount of random skills that will be helpful, the biggest of which is being able to make odd one off things, and being flexible to figure out something new if something goes wrong. Luckily I won't have to implement being able to do all of this under a crazy time crunch because there isn't a sold out opening night looming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
One thing I would suggest, make sure you have outside storage compartments.
I plan to have many outside storage compartments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplicity View Post
I have a 33' flat nose, so about 26' of full open space, plus about 3.5' of shelf/resting space over the rear engine compartment. I'm thinking how I would put all the things you listed in that space and don't think I could.
Quote:
Originally Posted by o1marc View Post
Lets see, 20' total build space. 12' kitchen, 6' bed. That leaves 2' for bathroom w/5' clawfoot tub and shower, office, sewing room, wood burning stove , that needs proper clearance. Highly unrealistic plan. I suggest you look for no less than a full size, 40' bus. You'll still run out of space.
I think there was a miscommunication on the size of my kitchen. I said 12' of length that could be all on one side or split and turned into a galley. I meant 12' of cabinet depth amount kitchen, so I split it into 6' on the passenger side wall and 6' on the drivers side wall leaving 14' of bus length for the rest of the things. All of the images I posted are properly scaled, and all appliances have dimensions of actual appliances that I could go to Lowes and purchase today if I wanted to. The clawfoot tub I have picked is also more of a soaking tub footprint so it is 2'6" wide, 4'6" long, and made of acrylic so it is only 85 pounds. Also, as shown in the pictures, the tub is planned to have the long side running width wise in the bus, so the bathroom is only planned to be the last 3' of the bus. My drafts have 6'6" of kitchen down both walls in the front, 3' of bathroom in the back, 6'3" of bed and hallway next to the bed in front of the bathroom, about 9" for adding up the wall thickness, that leaves 3'6" in the middle for the desk on one side and the wood burning stove to have proper clearance on the other side.

Quote:
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With all the appliances you mention, you're going to need a much larger space than a cabinet for your electrics, they almost need a closet.
Heavy tub, toilet, water heater and water tanks hanging off the back end, not a good idea.
This is one I am not confident on yet, but since being off-grid is not a priority for me, I won't be putting in a battery bank at this point in time. I feel like I have plenty of spaces that are currently unassigned storage that can house the electrical system since it will be based on shore power, but again.... I'm not super confident on what all the electrical system needs yet so I can accept if I am wrong on this.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:01 PM   #11
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I have heard that wood stoves make it hard to get insurance.
Hard I can handle. Until someone tells me it's impossible, it's still in the plan.




I have heard the saying "It is easier to ask for forgiveness, than ask permission." Seldom(never) does this work with insurance companies. If you tell them you will have one, or they see one in the pics they will require, they likely won't write you a policy. In the event of a claim, they will use it as a reason to decline. Consider this before putting the time into a properly installed stove on a bus.
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Old 04-05-2021, 08:58 PM   #12
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Oh, I would absolutely ditch the stove idea if I really can't find an insurance company to give me a policy with the stove. That is the point I would say I have been told it was impossible instead of just hard to insure, and I would not put a wood burning stove if that means I possibly wouldn't be able to make an insurance claim if anything happened. But I haven't talked to any insurance companies yet, and I won't toss the idea at the first no.
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:26 PM   #13
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Old 04-05-2021, 10:47 PM   #14
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Seems to me, if you want full coverage insurance, they might not cover the stove. With just liability, no problem.


But even with full coverage, don't tell them about the stove (add it in later) and if you wreck, they should cover everything except the stove. If your stove burns the bus down, then they probably won't cover that. Or maybe they will write a policy that doesn't cover any fire damage if you have a wood stove.


But what do I know about full coverage? NOTTA! Waste of my hard earned $$$. If I wreck my vehicle, then I'm responsible. Good reason to be more careful!
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Old 04-13-2021, 08:24 PM   #15
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You can do it!

We love our claw foot tub. The feet on mine didnít fit so well so a friend built a cradle for it.

IMG_2322.jpg
IMG_0004.jpg

Not shown in the pictures, but I have a shower wand that mounts outside between the windows.

I gotta get a curtain. Nobody wants to see me naked in a Walmart parking lot.

Peace yíall
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Old 04-13-2021, 10:25 PM   #16
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The area behind the driver is best left open in some fashion, you'll be surprised how often you turn around and look down the isle, to your right out a window etc. Storage storage storage!
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Old 04-14-2021, 10:52 PM   #17
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I think it's fantastic that your plan is so detailed and thorough. And what a great 3d model! Many folks seem to start at the opposite end of the spectrum - buy a bus first and plan later.

There have been a lot of really good points brought up in this thread. Sometimes when you put in as much thought and effort as you clearly have, constructive criticism can be frustrating and easy to ignore because those offering it haven't wrestled with the problem like you have. That's the way it is for me, anyway. Try to absorb all the ideas, mull then for a couple days, and see if they take root. You may find a few gems.
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Old 04-19-2021, 09:53 PM   #18
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Social area were the number 1 consideration for my space... So the distinct lack of social area is what stands out to me.
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Old 04-19-2021, 10:17 PM   #19
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Social area were the number 1 consideration for my space... So the distinct lack of social area is what stands out to me.
I can understand how that seems odd, but for me it would have ended up being a wasted space. I keep joking that once I get my bus all sorted I’m just going to drive off into the woods and never see another person again.

(Which is another part of the Baba Yaga reference. Basically living alone in the woods and only interacting with people when they have sought me out for help on their quest)
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Old 04-20-2021, 12:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by averyonic View Post
I can understand how that seems odd, but for me it would have ended up being a wasted space. I keep joking that once I get my bus all sorted Iím just going to drive off into the woods and never see another person again.

(Which is another part of the Baba Yaga reference. Basically living alone in the woods and only interacting with people when they have sought me out for help on their quest)



You don't have to live in the woods to be a hermit
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