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Design Dilemma
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kitchen design delima

dramaragillNovember 7, 2012
We just bought this beautiful house overlooking puget sound, the kitchen layout has been a big challenge, its a galley kitchen and it has 3 windows and a sliding door so its been hard to work with that, we dont want to elimited the windows or the sliding door cause of the gorgeous view. We want to open it up with a big island but challenge has been creating upper cabinets.
Can anyone help.
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It both sounds and looks beautiful. I think you will be asked for more photos though.......
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:38AM
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Jamie Herzlinger
You can suspend the cabinets and do glass doors on either side. This way you don't loose anything.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Thats the view from the family room!, we were thinking about getting rid of those glass cabinets and the central wall cause it gives it a closed in feeling.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I can see getting rid of the glass cabinets, but I think you will miss the storage if you get rid of the whole wall (both in the kitchen and living room). It might be structural too, and sometimes not having a completely wide open view of the kitchen is a good thing :).

Besides, your range top and wall ovens is on the other side and it could involve some electrical work and whatnot, I think an open stove on an island is a maintenace hassle--inevitably stuff gathers around the cooktop while cooking and you lose that sleek look you are aiming for, even it it is just temporary, and then there is clear view of the sink until the dishes are washed and so forth. Plus a wall helps contain steam and cooking vapors and smells from getting into the living area and building up over time.

I see you don't have a ventilation hood for the stove. Getting one would be a nice improvement.

Reconfiguring galley kitchens can be difficult, and a galley can be a very efficent layout. Measurements, more photos will help the kitchen experts here figure something out for you.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:04AM
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To be honest, I think that your space looks fine the way that it is! It is a very beautiful home. Have you considered just removing the upper glass-front cabinets over the peninsula? It will be a cost-effective and easy way to open up the space somewhat. Plus, you will not lose much storage. Also, as victorianbungalowranch said: sometimes, not having a wide open view of the kitchen is a good thing :)
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Thanks victorianbungalowranch, appreciate your comments. I understand that this might be more functional, but if you look at the house and this kitchen, it just feels that this kitchen is out of place and it does no justice to what should be in this house.
I will post the picture that my contractor drew and he too is scratching his head.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:15AM
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I agree that the glass cabinets are distracting. Remove, re-evaluate.
3 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Susan Soto
Gorgeous space - I'd love to see it a bit more pacific northwest looking to compliment where you are and bring it inside... The Puget sound is one of the most spectacular things/places on the planet in my opinion - let it shine in your space.
Take the upper cabinets out for sure - more natural elements.... Wood, stone etc - warm tones. Tying the kitchen in with the other space utilizing the fireplace and surround and the area above the wine cabinet.
.... Think Canlis or Four Seasons Lobby in Seattle have you been to either? I think they do a great job bringing in the elements and keeping things natural.
I love the wood, windows and fireplace in this room attached photo.
7 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Thanks Stoneshop. The picture looks better than it actually is, kitchen is pretty tiny in this 4000+ square foot home. Just looking for some more suggestions/ideas.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 11:26AM
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Jacobs Woodworks
Hi there, Dramaragill. Congrats on the new home! Where is the kitchen sink here? We love having our sink right under a window (ours faces westward so on a clear day we can see the ocean). That could be a good way to orient your redesign.

An island is also a great way to introduce a little definition into the space while also providing more storage. It's hard to tell your specific style, but we have a few pictures on our website that might be helpful: http://jacobswoodworks.com/project-gallery/ First, photo #4 in the Kitchens set, for an idea about the island. Then, #17 also in Kitchens for an idea about different options for overhead cabinets and incorporating lots of light.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 12:19PM
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2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 1:55PM
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Rio Brewster
Love and compassion? seriously? Lighten. Up.

But as obnoxious as that was - he does have a point. If you buy a 4000+ sf house with a view of Puget Sound, you can certainly afford to hire a professional kitchen designer - and you should.

Houzz is supposed to be fun and no one is FORCING anyone to even read the posts, much less blindly follow any advice they see here.
5 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Whoa!!! Alrighty then!!! @ loco legos
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 2:56PM
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LM Designers
I don't believe I would enjoy working with a designer like Aard. They sound scary to me. I am a professional kitchen designer but I don't need to put everyone else down and talk about how great I am.
It would be worth it to get some free designs from a few designers with your input and go from there. In this economy most designers are providing free designs in hopes of getting your business. If they provide you with a design you love then you can go from there.
Your house is beautiful.
5 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:11PM
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Joni F.
Looking forward to following this thread to see more photos of your BEAUTIFUL home and the ideas these designers bring forward. My two cents - I love your kitchen floors, and I would keep them at all costs. I think the square tile backsplash dates the home, and would replace it with something that sparkles as much as your view (a glass tile in a herringbone or subway pattern, perhaps).

As for the rest of the home, my (unsolicited) advice is to cover the brick fireplace with something more modern, and paint the ceilings a light gray to give a bit of contast against those great white beams.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:24PM
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Wow, I want to follow this discussion! Lots of interesting points of view indeed. Personally, I'd love this house as is, but I'm fascinated to see the suggestions.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:33PM
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We are designing our new house and my one request was I did not want upper cabinets in my kitchen. I will have enough storage in lower cabinets and I have conceded to a couple of uppers near the sink for glassware, but instead of uppers I now have wonderful exterior windows. Good luck
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:37PM
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Rio Brewster
Aard - I didn't say you were a bad guy. Arrogant, overbearing and obnoxious maybe - but not bad.

I certainly would never hire you after that tirade.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Judy M
The word that comes to mind is "intense", but I would be interested in the actual work and if it was great, it might be worth dealing with "intense". So far, there is lots of talk and no action. I have also noticed that his professional work is not backed up with many photos of different projects on his profile.

sorry, just my 2 cents and since this is a public forum, you are free to judge my words as you wish. Perhaps you and your associates will get a few extra laughs tomorrow.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I think Aard, lead designer has some worthwhile comments, though it doesn't relate to this specific situation in regard to their home. I hope you do attach plans so they can see if they would like to work with you. Actually I agree that it is important that those who seek advice understand that in these forums these are NOT professionals if not stated and even if stated, they are not able to do the hands on work per on site and product inspection in order to make in place decisions. I think there is clearly a difference and it is important that it be understood by posters seeking advice. That said, if honesty and the realities of these conditions prevail, sometimes people don't have the funds and want another set of eyes to assist, as part of a community just to offer options and suggestions. Perhaps it would be better to have this be a designer exclusive community for posting and offering advice. Topics worth consideration overall. Dramaragil, as a non designer, (but one who loves design), I can see your dilemma. I too would want to have that view open to the larger area. And your small kitchen seems quite tiny in comparison to the overall space you have. Perhaps you'd just have to sacrifice some of the upper cabinetry. Think a kitchen designer is a good idea.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:28PM
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Hello Dramaragill

I had a similar dilemma with a recent kitchen renovation.

In the old kitchen design, I had 67 cupboard doors an drawers, one large window, one large set of sliding patio doors and a very nice view.

To fully appreciate and enjoy the view, I chose to remove one wall (17 feet long) of upper cabinets, added two more large windows and centered the range between. I also added a 6' X 7' island complete with an additional bar sized sink, and two electrical outlets and of course, this provided quite a bit more additional storage.

The new kitchen has 72 drawers and doors and I was able to add two more sets of open shelves as well!

The lower cabinetry storage in the island makes up for any upper cabinetry sacrificed in the reno. And your view sounds too amazing to hide!

I sincerely wish you all the best in your renovation.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Here is the link to the mission and intent of Houzz per it's founders. http://www.houzz.com/aboutUs

I believe that users understand that some people who participate are homeowners vs professionals and that the professionals come from varied backgrounds. Each individual has their own unique perspective on residential building and design. Homeowners have a valuable perspective to add - sometimes they are the most creative as they have had to find ways to get more done on a tight budget. Users understand that they are not paying for advice and that the ultimate decision on their project is up to them. Most folks just want some collaboration and some ideas - possbily just to think about options before they call in a local professional.
4 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:15PM
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I like the direct approach. I have worked with decorators, designers, and builders, architects, and been a housing and interior design instructor, and certificated interior decorator for many years. My advice is to live in your house for at least 6 months, keep a hot file, ideas, pix of things you like by all rooms in your home. Think, plan, and then act. Interview professionals. Look at their work. Get references. Keep a journal. Your style will emerge. The colleges have student projects which could help. Free may or may not be good advice. Be cautious. I shudder at some of the things we thought were wonderful......!! only to change our minds, later. Mistakes are costly and discouraging. I urge you to get a master plan for all remodeling of the entire home. Be consistant in the style of the home. There is a great variation in price, quality and materials in all projects. Start with the public areas first. Think about design concepts and use of areas. Others are generally helpful. Write down their suggestions. Enjoy this life experience, and try not to make it a chore. CMMcMurry
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:25PM
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Judy M
while it is true there are many opinions on here by non professionals, I have read what I believe is blantant solicitation by some professionals on this site,as well.

A question about lighting or knobs or facade of a home turns into a self promotion of "call me", when they don;t even know where the person is located.

Seems to be that both sides cross the line at times and that will happen in a public forum especailly where opinions are asked on a topic.

I try to respond to a question only if I have had some experience with the particular issue, rather than responding on every discussion.
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:25PM
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I totally agreed with Carpe Diem Designs. I would not hire Aard for reasons of his arrogance, overbearing and obnoxiousness. The poor spelling, weak expression and lack of professionalism also cast doubts on his creative ability. I won't even consider him even if it is free. I prefer to work with designers who demonstrated class!

The objective of the discussion is totally clouded by the fumes from one arrogant person.
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 5:45PM
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My two cents. When we remodeled our kitchen we removed the overhead cabinets separating our galley kitchen with the family room and replaced with pendants lights. We have never regretted it. It made a huge difference in the open and brighter feeling.
4 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Soooo sorry, but this is design. It is not rocket science nor brain surgery. No one pays to obtain an opinion here. Schooling, license and a business card do not have a corner on taste. It is arrogant to think that only one line of thought should be offered or considered. I would recommend taking oneself way less seriously.
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Emily Hurley
Hi Everyone,

Let's remember we are all here because we have a strong passion for design in common. Everyone is welcome to comment on and give advice on design dilemmas that are posted on the site. There is room enough for varied opinions and varied experience from homeowners and professionals alike. If you run across content you feel should be reviewed by the Houzz team, feel free to send a quick note to support(at)houzz.com and we are happy to take a look. In the meantime, let's respect each other and stay on topic.


Emily Hurley
Community Manager at Houzz
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Hi everyone,
Thanks for the numerous responses and valuable opinions. I agree this is a site for people's opinion both professionals and amateurs, so I have that in mind when I posted the msg.
I am really confused on this one, definitely thinking about going the interior designer route and think it might be worth the money.
But having had two contractors walk through the house scratching their heads, I thought it might be worthwhile getting an opinion.
So the sink does face the window and over looks the puget sound, and its on the opposite wall to the stove. There is also a small nook adjoining the kitchen which also has numerous windows overlooking the view. What complicates things is the exterior is brick which is from 1950s and not easily replaceable. The floor is slab with no crawl space and the heating is in the floor (radiant), so we definitely have to work with the bones of the house and the plumbing, considering putting a vent to the attic.

I really appreaciate all you guys opinions. I will post some more pics tomorrow.
Thanks once again.
2 Likes    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:47PM
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I think you made a great decision in looking to Houzz for ideas, it helped me tremendously when we built our cottage last year. It is wonderful to get to view both professional opinions, and the opinions of homeowners who have "been there, done that", etc. If you can post some basic dimensions (how much space between galley walls, length of those walls, etc) when you post your additional photos, that would probably help generate some really useful suggestions too. Look forward to following what people have to say, and congratulations on your gorgeous new house!
    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 7:53PM
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Loco... you SPECIALIZE in waterfront property? Why would you want to say that? You only work in homes on expensive property? Your work looks best when there is a fabulous view? From a marketing perspective, I would rather have a designer who can make me love my home, no matter what the view.
1 Like    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 8:08PM
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Loco legos Construction inc
Dear Amara,

I am so glad you have decided to hire a designer.
It will save money.
There are a lot of talented designers in the area to choose from,
make the effort to find one.

It will cost between $150 to 400 dollars in your market for quality layout design.
it is worth every penny, and the right avenue to take with your unique design dilemma as posted.
They will need to come to site and measure, don't hire anyone who won't or asks you to it for them.
Look for strong layout experience vs a decor oriented designer, yes there's a difference.
Alternatively an architect can perform the same service at the same cost.
This may be the better choice for you,since you mentioned in your most recent post that you may have ventilation as well as other hard asset issues to be resolved with your newly purchased home.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 12:58AM
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Hi dramaragill,

Most of us have experienced our first remodel experience, some went smoothly, some were over-budget, some were not to be enjoyed because of a move, you name it. What counts? You.

I recommend a few super great reference books on remodeling, 2 hours per day tops studying and note taking, a: must have column, and can"t-live-without" column of ideas, and a walk. Eliminating possibilities helps you see what can happen to benefit the space.

Synthesize ideas, discuss them with loved ones. Interview professionals like you would any other, and be OK with your choices. There are perfect homes, and perfect pieces of property, but rarely both are perfect. Enjoy this time, your journey. :=) Side cabinets in a column (so to speak about 24"" square) that go floor to ceiling might work. Access from both sides, just an idea. Beware of the monolith look.

Incorporate trim just the way it is in your kitchen but wall color should flow with living room area, so not white. :=)

Renovation and remodeling even with diligent planning can easily run close to 100K if flooring, electrical, millwork and plumbing are involved. Knowing your options will help you make the most proper decisions.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:46AM
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Wow. Well for what's its worth I figure there are plenty of ways to do something, not just one way. I'm pretty passionate about historic preservation, but try not to be a purist. The thought occurred to me that if you are willing to do a total gut job, you could maybe change the orientation of the kitchen so it takes up less of the great view and maybe steal some space from the dining room.

I think the cabinets and countertops look like good quality and can be reused or refaced.

I'm not sure if this is possible being on a slab an all, and maybe those floors can't be matched and it would be a huge mess, but it is something to think about,
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:15AM
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Thanks again everyone. I appreciate the input.
Yes the floors would need to be redone, I am open to repositioning the kitchen but concern about making it too open to the family room.
Pictures to follow hopefully this evening.
    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 11:22AM
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Have you decided anything yet?:)
    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Thanks everyone for the input, we have been busy moving in and settling down. We have a plan that me and my husband came up with on our own, we are going to cover the back wall with cabinets, refrigerator/oven and get rid of the cabinets in the middle, extend the island to the other side and make it an L shaped counter. Still a lot to plan and the contractor we just met with wants us to have someone draw up a floor plan and I am not sure coughing up $1000 - $1200 to just have someone draw out a plan which we already know is a good idea though.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:00AM
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
It might sound like alot, but:

Great communication tool - you both may think you are communicating when you're not
Verification for you once you see it that it is what you want
Protecion for you so that there is a document to fall back on if something is lost in translation

Glad you're moved in and moving forward. Keep us posted.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:27AM
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Deborah, my only concern is that there might be other people available to draw such plans, I am a rookie at this kinda stuff. I kinda want someone to make digital 3D image but not sure if that is possible, see it a lot on HGTV.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:34AM
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I hadn't seen this discussion before. First, congratulations on your beautiful home! And even more congrats on thinking of a design that will work for you.

There are a few pieces of software that will give you a digital 3D image so if you just want to see it, those could be options. One used to be made by Better Homes and Gardens.

However, I think it would be $$ well invested to have a plan drawn up by a designer who knows what they're doing. We redid our masterbath about 10 years ago after going thru what you did. I knew I wanted specifics and no one could devise a plan to do it. So I did the plan myself. Our contractor was great - but there were multiple hiccups along the road. Things that I know would have been more quickly solved if there was a more specific paper/digital plan available.

I've been in the process of doing the same for my kitchen. I've worked with (and paid) a number of KDs and just haven't gotten anything that works. So I'm laying it out myself and tweaking as I go. Once I have a plan that I believe will be functional for us, I'll pay to have it evaluated by a pro and properly drawn up.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Yes, that is what we do with our clients. We work in 3D until the design is finished and then we convert everything to the standard plans and elevations. We also attach the 3D images to the standard plans so everyone has something to refer back to - including the permit department.

I am sure you could locate a design/build remodeler in your area that works in 3D or a draftsman that works in 3D. You can do some searches here on houzz for your area, you can do google/bing search, or you can look at the website of your local home builders association and see if you can find one by searching their website.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 11:50AM
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I strongly agree with Deborah. I think you must have detailed plans that both you and the contractor "sign off on". If anything should go wrong (electrical outlet in wrong place, wrong size cabinet, etc), the plans will determine if oversights were made.
Whomever you are purchasing cabinets from should have detailed cabinet plans available to you at no extra charge (different elevations and detailed sizing including toe kicks, fillers, etc) based on YOUR design if that is what you want. A qualified KD, however, could also have additional ideas as well. If your contractor is buying the cabinets, his supplier should have that service available to him for you (through the supplier).
All electrical, plumbing, etc details / plan should come from the contractor providing the work.
Hopefully it will all run smoothly, but these plans ensure the probability of that happening, and will protect eveyone in case of any mis-steps.
Good luck with everyhting! Very exciting!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 12:15PM
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Thanks for the input. So the contractor we might hire is bringing this floor planner in. I agree, the house has a lot of weird cuts and corners that we dont know what the purpose of them is and it would be better utilization of the space if we had a floor plan. My question is how much do these people cost typically? Being new to the area and not having a lot of experience in this kind of work I was just wondering if I am hiring the first person I met or should I look into others as well.
    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 12:26PM
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Look into options and see who and/or which process you feel best about.

What I was describing is a design/build process - which is where the contractor also is responsible for doing the design (and many work in 3D). Some do the design in-house (like we do) and some have affiliations with designers and they will work as a team. This is the advantage so there is no going back and forth between different professionals bringing up ideas that may or may not work given the structural constraints of a particular home. The contractor is your point person and becomes responsible for everything. They will assist you in getting the kitchen design pulled together with cabinet designers, etc. Most charge a fee for this service, but many credit the fee back against the construction contract if you move forward with the project.

You can also interview architects and home designers/draftsmen to get a feel for their services and cost. You need to select the process and person that you feel most comfortable with.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 11, 2013 at 12:42PM
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