Christmastime Is Here!


Every year for the last dozen or so years I’ve been decorating my client Pam’s house for Christmas.  It’s become quite the tradition for the both of us and we always have fun pulling her home together.  This year was somewhat different.  She decided she was just “over” the 12 foot massive, enormous tree we’ve always done (we’ve gone through two of them) and ready for a smaller 9 foot tree.  The larger tree was an ordeal to say the least.  It was so wide at the bottom that by the time it narrowed at the top it was so far away from my reach – even when I stood on their gigantic ladder I had to resort to throwing some of the ornaments on the tree and poking them in with whatever makeshift “poker” I could get my hands on.  It was a lot of work and usually had us giggling, but somehow it always turned out gorgeous.

Switching to a much smaller tree would be easier, but left us a little unsure as to whether it could be anywhere near the showstopper the other one was.   After all was said and done I’m happy to say it turned out beautiful, showy, elegant and classic.  Though not as grand in size it still makes a grand statement.  As does the rest of her house. 

Very festive and fun!

Take a peek! 


 Pam loves Santa’s so we have quite an assortment sprinkled all over her house.


 We always layer two strands of lighted garland on her mantel for a rich, full look.


 We keep the color scheme classic with cream, gold and silver.









 More fun Santa’s.






 This giant Santa greets you at the entrance.  Love that!


I like to tuck a little fun under the tree even before all the gifts pile up.  Here we have another Santa and some gold gift boxes filled with silver and gold ornaments.

IMG_0404 Fun, unexpected items in the tree make it interesting!


Had to have our Santa’s in here! 





Of course, it’s important to glam up the stairway as well for that total holiday impact.  Almost pretty enough for a wedding – wouldn’t you say?!     (Excuse the gate – it’s for her precious, little doggy.)





Not an enormous twelve foot tree, but lovely none-the-less. 


There is just something about a houseful of Christmas decorations that makes everyone feel warm and snuggly!

Christmastime – such a happy time of year!!!!

(And, thank you, Pam, for donating your old trees to my church!!!)

Happy Decorating!!!

Happy Thanksgiving From My House To Yours


Such a cozy day.  Yesterday it was 81 degrees here in Texas and today it’s 31.  Gotta love it!  But, there is something about the mix of fall decorations, cold weather,  overcast skies (and of course warm, wonderful family) that just screams Happy, Cozy Thanksgiving.   


  There’s nothing cozier than all the fall colors!  They add such warmth to a home.


I like to add little touches like these large corn on the cobs to my existing home decor.


And these beautiful mums. 


They give the entry a welcoming “Fall Feel”.


A little fall foliage added to this planter in my guest bath creates just the right autumn touch.  (And it’s easy to switch out to Christmas colors right after Thanksgiving!)


More touches with fall candle rings.


An entrance full of fall colors creates a welcoming feel.







We already had a productive, fun Thanksgiving day by 11:00am.  My son, Ryan, and daughter-in-law, Katie, had my sister’s family and my family meet them out at the Texas Motor Speedway for a 5k run first thing this morning.  At 6:30 it was 71 degrees.  By the time we got there it was 35 and windy, windy, windy!   Suffice it to say we were fa-reeeeezing!!


My sister, Jana, and I.


The cousins.


Ryan and Katie.


Jana and I after we finished.


The gang after the run and ready for the Thanksgiving feast!  

daniel and melissa (Minus my son, Daniel and his girlfriend, Melissa.  An injured ankle kept them away. Bummer!) 

Jana and I at the start

At the end of the race they had a blow up obstacle course.  My sister and I raced through it – competing to the bitter end and laughing ourselves silly.  My sister screamed to the people in front of us, “Get out of the way….we’re sisters, we’re racing and we’re competitive!!!!”  (We decided that never ends…..even when you’re grandmothers, which we both are!”


Here we are inching our way to the finish line!

 IMG_0595 My nieces, Paige and Raychel.



My daughter, Alyssa.


Alyssa flying down the last slide.


IMG_0597 Laughing, tumbling cousins.



Tired, hungry girls snuggled up on my sofa waiting for breakfast.  We made scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes……all before the afternoon Thanksgiving feast at their grandparent’s house!  But, after our fun. frigid morning of laughing, running and obstacle courses we felt we all deserved it.


feasting at the grandparents......againAnd, of course, we made room for the afternoon feast with all the extra calories we burned up……and froze off!!

What a blessed and wonderful day!

Have a Happy, Blessed, Wonderful Thanksgiving!!!


Backyard Bliss: Great Outdoor Living Ideas


I know I’ve done a couple of posts on the Kaleidoscope of Homes already, but they had such great ideas and fun stuff to look at I have to share more.  These are some pictures of the outdoor areas:  Fabulous swimming pools and inviting living areas. Since that’s the craze of the day that everyone’s enjoying now and since it’s something that adds tremendous selling power to your home I wanted to share these backyards with you.



Do you like clean, uncluttered lines?  This design might be something that interests you for your own backyard. 


These large pots with their beautiful foliage helps soften the edges and bring in color.

PA210429How’s this for a nice outdoor set up?  Great amount of space; comfortable, attractive seating; gorgeous floral for color and an indoor homey touch.  And, of course the wonderful fireplace.



Wouldn’t this bar be amazing?  Look at all the people you could seat.  Love the stone and the granite.  This has all of the amenities of the indoor kitchen to provide ease and convenience outdoors when entertaining.  And, of course, you’ll notice the flat screen TV.  What would we all do without five TV’s in our homes?

IMG_8693I like the iron embellishments in the windows, too.  Nice detail.


Another offset sitting area provides more seating and a little shelter from the hot Texas sun.

IMG_8735 This is a wonderful dining space.  It’s covered for shelter from the elements, and includes the corner fireplace and a small kitchen.  Check out all the details:  Flagstone flooring, stone fireplace with that cool iron grate, richly stained bead board ceiling.  Notice the “indoor” touches as well:  Picture over the fireplace, candles on the table, copper bells in the corner, and the floral on the cook area.  This creates all the warmth you’d find inside the home.  Don’t be hesitant about bringing this type of decor outside.  It makes it cozy and inviting.  What a great space for family and friends. 


I’ve always loved this look.  Large concrete or stone pieces with the grass border in between the stone.

IMG_8737 Another cozy sitting area.  This one is smaller than the others, but serves the purpose beautifully.  Love the furniture they chose.  Again, notice all the detail work here:  The bead board ceiling, the flagstone floor, the stone wall, the artwork above the mantel, the iron grate, the candlesticks on the end table and the vases tucked in the corner.  All of these details create a very cozy atmosphere.

Lots and lots of great ideas for your outdoor space!  If you can’t do all this -  carefully study what it is you like about each space and duplicate it on a smaller scale.  That’s what I did!  I can’t have these huge, grand spaces, but I can still have the outdoor kitchen and outdoor living spaces.  I just trimmed them down to accommodate my yard and my budget.  It can be done!  Just get creative, innovative, plan very carefully (or call me and I’ll do it for you!) and you’ll have a beautiful space of your own!

Happy Decorating!

The Evolution Of A Kitchen


When I first started working with Lisa her kitchen had the bland, generic look that was (and still is in some cases)  so common in new homes.  Not much in the way of personality, but when a young family is moving into their new home many times there just isn’t a lot of money for upgrades and beautiful detail work.

Phase 1


So it was light beige walls, light beige countertops, light beige back splash, light beige floor tiles and plain light golden oak stained cabinets.   Generic colors that didn’t limit her as far as adding color in her accessories, but also didn’t contribute much in the way of personality to the space either. 




 So years ago she called me to do some re-decorating in other parts of the house and help ramp things up a notch in the kitchen, but on a very limited budget.   To cozy up the space I had the kitchen painted red and added some interesting accessories to the top of the cabinets and countertop.   Not a lot – just a little touch to cozy up the space.

Phase 2


Pardon all the junk on the countertops! – I didn’t actually take these pictures until I went back to completely gut and remodel the kitchen entirely so it’s not exactly “staged”.  But this is basically what it looked like for a few years (minus my purse, portfolio, papers and junk!) - just a bit warmer with color and accessories,  until they could afford to really get the kitchen of their dreams.


As they (and their children) got older they toyed with the idea of moving into a bigger, newer home and spent considerable time looking around.  In the end they decided they really liked their house and their neighborhood and made the decision to stay put. 

They were now in a position financially to really make some serious changes.  And with David, her hubby, currently going back to school to be a chef (wives out there – can you imagine how wonderful that would be?!!) - a state of the art kitchen was definitely in order.


So out went the boring cabinets, the boring back splash, the boring countertops and the boring floor.  In came a state of the art “chef’s” six burner stove and oven, surrounded by this beautiful cabinetry,  Santa Cecilia granite, tumbled stone back splash with metal accents, and hardwood floors.  We extended the depth of the upper countertop in order to add an eating area for the kiddo’s with these saddle seat bar stools.


The red walls gave way to textured walls with a faux finish in paint and glaze.  New updated window treatments replaced the old.  (Sorry you can’t see them very well.  They are beautiful.)


I had them combine two stain colors, the cream and the dark stain to create interest and make their incredible cook top area stand out as it should.  All new hardware was added to the cabinets.


Stainless steel appliances replaced the old white ones and rich gorgeous hard wood floors replaced the insignificant beige tiles.  I recycled some of the old accessories and incorporated some new ones for the cabinet tops.

After years of waiting this precious family finally has the kitchen of their dreams, fit for a king and perfectly suited for a “chef”.

So much fun!

Happy Decorating!


Life By Design – God’s Way

Sometimes there are things that touch you in a certain way that leave you speechless. Simply without words to express what you feel in your heart.  When I was cleaning out cubbies and corners in my bedroom recently – getting organized, (yet again) - I came across something that left me sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor in tears.


My old journal. 

Tucked inside this journal were some very important handwritten notes I received from a very special family almost a decade agoThis has nothing to do with design – (except perhaps God’s design” for life and death.) 

You see, years ago I was introduced through a mutual friend to a young mother with the unusual name of Finley who was very sick with cancer.  She had a beautiful little boy and a wonderful, loving husband and because of this, set about to fight the disease with everything she had.  She was so passionate, so strong…..a “fighter”.  I met her mother, too, the grandmother to her precious son (who was actually once a very successful interior designer herself in the Dallas area) who struggled with the enormous challenge and heartache of having a daughter with cancer…..fearful of losing her daughter…..fearful of her grandson losing his mother.

One night I had the privilege of accompanying this young mother with my friend to a cancer support group.  There I sat with so many mothers, all joined in a bond that only cancer patients and cancer survivors feel – in a fierce battle for their lives – for more of that oh-so-precious thing called time on this earth to spend with their families they loved so much. To say it was moving and stirring is putting it mildly.  There are simply no words……..

It touched me so deeply that I sat down one day to write a letter and a poem to this young mother to share my thoughts with her about this battle she was going through.  My intention was to send them to her, but something stopped me.   I was afraid it might somehow upset her or she might think me odd for writing to her – for writing a poem about her – since I really didn’t know her very well.  Would it be perceived as positive or negative?  Did it have an undertone of certain death or the undertone of hope?  Would she take it from the heart with which it was written?  I just wasn’t sure.  So as strong as my desire was, as compelled as I felt to send it to her, I reluctantly hung on to it  – feeling deeply torn about what to do. 

When I found out later that she died I deeply, deeply regretted not sending it to her.  Instead of worrying that it might have upset her my thoughts were now – maybe it would have been a comfort……maybe it would have meant something.  And now I would never know.  Do you know what that kind of regret feels like?  There are no words…..So after fighting with the overwhelming regret I felt for having not sent it and the sense that I should have – I decided (actually, I felt a nagging sense of conviction for some reason) to send it to her mother whom I’d met only once for a short period of time.

Her precious mother’s unexpected response to that poem (I never dreamed I’d hear from her) left me shaking, speechless and in tears.

002 (2)

   Here is what her handwritten note said:

Dear Sheri,  I am without words – your letter to Finley, your letter to me – and your wonderful poem.  Nothing that anyone has said or done has moved me so much.  I wish you had sent it to her – but, she’s just read it over my shoulder so she knows and she appreciates it – I’m 100% sure of this.  James and I are so very grateful to you for your love and concern for and your kindness to Finley.

If all your poetry is this good you ought to be published – at the very least this should go to Guidepost.  I will save this very carefully for James when he is older.  And may I share it with others?

My gratitude and love  are yours……

And then I was so touched and honored to find, in the same package, that Finley’s in-laws sent the poem out with their Christmas cards that year. 



They sent me this Christmas card with a copy of my poem that they had placed in each card – and this sweet handwritten note:

May your angel be watching over you, bringing you peace, comfort, courage, and strength during his Holy season and the coming year.

In memory of Finley, our angel, 1966-2001

Stumbling across all this again - in my cleaning frenzystopped me in my tracks and flooded me with the same emotions I felt the day I received this so long ago.   So heartfelt and touching… 

I so regret not sending it to Finley.  I wish I had listened to the part of my heart that yearned to send it instead of the part of me that felt too insecure to follow through.  I never want to miss an opportunity like that again, to feel regretful like that again, because I didn’t follow through on a simple act that might have, just maybe, been a comfort to someone during a time of great anxiety and need.   At the very least she would have known she was in my prayers, known that I cared.  Below is the poem:

A Friend Of A Friend

I met you but a moment

in this life here on earth,

but a moment changes lifetimes –

and for whatever it is worth….

you struck a chord within me

to cry out to God in prayer

that His grace will be sufficient…

and of this you’ll be aware.

No doubt it’s hard to understand

the brevity of life,

or why sickness falls upon

a mother and a wife.

All our days are counted

from the moment of our birth…

our struggles and our joys

as we enter life on earth.

And, though we’ll truly

never know –

why one is asked to struggle so…

I know God’s love

is very real,

that He loves you so

and always will.

For each of us the years

will vary…

as will the burdens

that we carry –

but, God’s grace is sufficient

for us all,

He hears your voice

each time you call.

You must now stay focused

to endure the fight –

on God’s grace, His love

and the strength of His might.

Be still and know that I am God”

He whispers in your ear…

He is ever present –

He is always near.

Don’t fret at the brevity

in this vast space called time,

for it’s eternity we seek

at the end of the line.

I saw Him in your eyes that day

His tender spirit in your soul,

so I know that you will be just fine –

and that His truth will make you whole.

Like a trip across the ocean

is our passage through time…

We enter a new life

and leave the old one behind.

And though it’s only human

to be anxious for the ride –

what treasures there await us

just on the the other side!!

In time I’d like to meet you

among the Christians there,

and tell you in my own words

what I couldn’t tell you here.

For now rest assure a distant voice

prays humbly from within –

a heart moved by your spirit

For God’s peace in the life…

of a friend –        

of a friend.

                                                                                                 Copyright 2001 – Sheri Martin

If I hadn’t sent it to Finley’s family it probably would have remained unread in my prayer journal all these years.   And, I would never have known the joy of receiving these sweet, special, heartfelt letters that mean so much to me.  I’m glad God’s continued nudging at my heart compelled me to send it to someone I met only once.  Seeing their response after all these years warms me all over again and brings tears to my eyes.     

I was a little uncertain whether or not to share this on my design blog, but felt compelled none-the-less.   It stirred up such emotions in me again that I thought maybe, just maybe, there is someone out there going through something similar who will maybe,  just maybe, be touched by this.  Maybe not.  But, when I feel strongly compelled and convicted about something it’s now my goal to just step outside myself and act on it. 

Life is just simply too short.

Do It Yourself: “Fresco” Faux Finishes


Most of you at this point have heard of the term “faux finish”.  And many of you have seen different versions in model homes, offices, restaurants, etc.  Maybe you’ve even thought to yourself how nice it would be to have something like that in your own home.  But, what you might not know is that places like Sherwin Williams have come up with some new step by step techniques and guidelines that enable those of you who are willing to give it a go a great way, an easier way to create the look yourself at a price you can afford.   Love that!

Check out some of these great “Fresco’s” and follow these steps for each one.  All the supplies are listed for each project as well as pictures of the step by step process.  Also, notice at the beginning of each project the time you can expect to spend on each one and what steps to take before you begin:

 Textured Fresco


 Rich, warm, beautiful! If you like this look follow these steps below: 


  Step 1


Step 1B


 Step 2, 3A 


 Step 3 

 step 3b



 Smooth Fresco


   Gorgeous, classic.


 Step 1


 Step 2A, 2B



High Polished Fresco


  Sleek, sophisticated.


Step 1


Step 2A, 2B, 3



Three great looks!  Do you feel motivatedInspired to try it yourself?   Faux finishes are a great way to cozy up a space and give it richness and depth.  What was once a difficult, painstaking, expensive process is now something that is much more attainable and affordable.  If you’d like to have the actual pamphlet in hand (with all the tips above)  go to your local Sherwin Williams store and pick one up.  Talk to the professionals there with any questions you might have.  Most of them are pretty knowledgeable or will direct you to someone who is. 

If you’re not comfortable tackling this yourself – consider hiring a professional (If you’re local – feel free to contact me for one of my sources) to create the look you want.  It’s a look that is well worth spending a little extra money on to get it right.  But for those of you who are ready and willing…..choose your favorite “Fresco”, select your color scheme and go for it!

Be confident!  Be brave!!  You can do it!

Happy Decorating!!!!


Design Details: That’s What Makes The Difference


 If you’ve wondered what it is that designers do that makes such a difference in the way a space look I’ll let you in on the secretIt’s all in the details.  Designers pay careful attention to detail. All the details in the space in every corner of the room.  From the drapes, to the walls, to the ceiling, the lighting, the furnishings, the accessories, every nuance and detail.  Everything that goes into the space is important to the designer.  Extremely important.   There’s not a pillow or an accessory that doesn’t matter.  If it doesn’t work, well then, it doesn’t belong. 

Take a look at some more of these amazing rooms I was fortunate enough to see at the Kaleidoscope of Homes in Southlake a couple of weeks ago.  Make note of all the extreme detail in each space.  It truly is the details that makes a difference.

IMG_8683Notice the walls, the unusual furnishings, the lighting…….all of it!  All in the details. 



 Love these iron balusters.


Notice these incredible chairs!  Fabulous! 



Everything in its place…..a place for everything.  The clean lines in the simple drapery panels compliment the clean lines in the chair.  The carefully placed bench in front of the fireplace adds an interesting, cozy touch.  The simple floral dresses up the table without competing with the amazing lighting above.  And a simple, uncluttered mantel lends a subtle, understated quality to the space.  Very classic and classy.


IMG_8687The two tone cabinets with their interesting design look amazing with this beautiful granite.  The backsplash is elegant, yet simple and compliments the granite as well.  The lighting over the island adds depth and flair.  Details, details, details.!



Look at the detail work in this ceiling and this copper faux finish on the walls.  Stunning!

Yes, the design is in the details.  And the details are soooooooo important.  One screw-ball accessory, the wrong color on the walls, an inferior window treatment on the windows in the space can throw a wrench in the entire room.  So when trying to pull a room together with that “designer flair” pay careful attention to all the details in the space.  Better to have nothing in a space than the wrong thing in a space. 

So if your are currently working on a project be sure to take your time.  Think the project through and remember it’s the details, details, details

Happy Decorating!


The Front Porch: Cozy Curb Appeal


One thing I’ve always loved, always wanted was a cozy front porch I could sit on and watch the world go by.  Especially now that I’m a proud and happy grandmother – I tend to think of everything in terms of how it would affect my grandchildren.  And a cozy, big porch tops the list!  When my husband, Doug, and I were visiting his family in Port Washington, New York last summer I took a stroll through his old neighborhood (one of the coziest neighborhoods in one of the coziest towns ever!) and got some pictures of some of my favorite front porches.  Now I’m dreaming of my own……Someday……


I see myself sitting out front watching my granddaughter (grandchildren!) play while sipping on a glass of iced tea.  (A Southern thing!)  


 So charming!


What’s more inviting, peaceful and appealing than a large, comfy porch??  I could have white wicker chairs or I could have rocking chairs….I don’t know….Hmmmmm…. 


Tell me that doesn’t say I’m a happy home?????  Can’t you see my grandchildren frolicking in a yard like this or with me on the porch? I can!

P8092338  This porch is a little smallish, but still — so sweet.


When my daughter, Alyssa, graduates high school we’ll no longer be landlocked.    We can move anywhere we want.  And while it’s not easy finding this sort of thing in the suburbs of Denton or Dallas, Texas I’m not giving up hope!   We look constantly on the weekends and have managed to scope out some possibilities.

In a year and a half Alyssa will be preparing for college, my granddaughter will be almost three, and just maybe there’ll be another one here or on the way……

So I’m thinking by then this Mimi will be more than ready for that porch and that glass of tea!!!

Happy Decorating!

The Magnificence Of Massive, Old Doors!


Isn’t there just something so cool about old doors?  They have a definite character to them and all sorts of lines and crevices that seem to tell a story – kind of like people I guess you could say.  They have a certain “stateliness” about them; a distinguished regal quality – like a handsome, weathered patriarch that sits back quietly yet looms large, full of history, full of tales and life and secrets – that just floods a space with character, interest and well…….major oomph and coolness!  They can be used as exterior doors, interior doors, headboards, tables, architectural pieces or even just leaning against a wall somewhere. 

Check out these incredible pieces from Grassroots.


 How fun would it be to have something like this in your house?


Or this?



MmmmHmmm…..or this……



 Wouldn’t you love to know the history of these doors?  Where did they come from?  What kind of people walked through them?  Was it a church?  A mansion?  Some type of fortress?   How old are they exactly?????


Do you know the story behind these six panel doors above and below?  Notice the cross on the front?  They were originally created to display the cross for Christians.  Also called Cross and Open Bible doors or Christian Doors to denote that Christians occupied the home or building.  Cool, huh?!




 Oh my goodness!  How incredible are these?!  Wish I had a house big enough to have these as my front doors.  These could also actually be attached to custom built shelving to create an old looking armoire or interesting wall unit.  How awesome would that be?


 These would look great on or in a Mediterranean or Tuscan home.  Don’t they look so…….distinguished?


Nothing creates and adds more character and interest to a space than something like these amazing doors

Wouldn’t you like to add this kind of character and definition to your place?  (If you need smaller doors they’re out there, too!)

Why not bring some of this magnificence to your own home – and let their weathered, worn faces tell a story for you and yours????!!!!!!

Happy Decorating!

Going Gruene (Texas Style): Road Trip With Friends


Every year for…..I don’t know…..six or seven years or so…..we’ve gone to the Hill Country with our friends for a long, fun weekend.   The last two years we’ve gone to Gruene (pronounced green) – a cozy, little sleepy town filled with adorable houses, B&B’s and quaint little shops – for the Texas Country Music festival.  Last year the weather was rainy and overcast, this year it was perfect. Lots of sunshine, cool evenings.  Perfect.

PA110344 Dave found this adorable little B&B, Gruene’s Yellow Haus, online located in Gruene, just walking distance from Gruene Hall where the musicians would be playing all weekend long.   It was great with it’s four bedrooms, cute kitchen, family room and large backyard. (I couldn’t get good pictures, because we made too much of a mess with all our “stuff” everywhere.  Sorry!) We sat out back for hours sipping on wine, talking, laughing…..watching the guys play horseshoes and grilling, having a great time.



 My hubby, Doug, and I hanging out at Gruene Hall.


Our travelling companions.  One couple who normally always goes with us every year couldn’t make it this year due to a sick child.  Just not the same without them! 



 The ladies set out early on Sunday – such gorgeous weather! – to scope out the shopping.  Last year on Sunday it was raining cats and dogs and we still managed to have a great time together shopping our little hearts out – so you can just imagine with the sun out and such picture perfect conditions how much fun we had.



This amazing mural was in one of the first stores we visited.  Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name of it, but the owner made this beautiful piece.   Isn’t it incredible?  How would you like to have a backsplash like this in your house?  It’s just amazing!


PA100277 More fun pieces.


This little shop was my favorite.  Isn’t it cute?  Very welcoming curb appeal.




PA100287 How is this for a fun painted piece?  All these fun colors and the trim hanging down.  Funky and fun!  And the boots and jeans ain’t so bad either!



Don’t you love this???!!!!


PA100290This antique settee has been reupholstered in this rich gold velvet and refinished in a distressed finish – it looks so rich and girly.  Lots of character.   Love it!  This is one of my favorite looks – an antique piece that has a fresh new coat of paint or new finish and a current fabric or fabrics for a sort of hip, updated look.  It creates such a fun, interesting piece.


PA100289 Great idea to give an old shelf new life!



 More fun stuff!


Framed music sheets. 



 This is a newspaper print floor!  She laid down the newspaper, then shellacked it over and over again. Very, very cool!


 Just some fun displays of her great clothes and accessories.


So much shopping……so little time!!!!

Happy Decorating!


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