Title:
Furniture with integral storage
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Furniture intended for outdoor, includes framework defining structure providing a storage compartment, or compartments, for receipt of, e.g. cushions or other items when not in use. The compartment protects the contents from the elements and, because it is incorporated into the framework of the furniture, provides an aesthetically pleasing appearance.



Inventors:
Kahan, David L. (Beachwood, OH, US)
Application Number:
11/092042
Publication Date:
03/23/2006
Filing Date:
03/29/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C7/62
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
NELSON JR, MILTON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
COOK, ALEX, MCFARRON, MANZO, CUMMINGS & MEHLER LTD (SUITE 2850, 200 WEST ADAMS STREET, CHICAGO, IL, 60606, US)
Claims:
1. An article of furniture comprising: a support frame; a cushion removably associated with the support frame; and a storage compartment integral with the frame sized to receive the cushion, the storage compartment including a weather resistant lining adapted to protect the cushion from environmental conditions when received therein.

2. The article of furniture of claim 1 wherein the support frame includes a seat support, and the storage compartment is located beneath the seat support.

3. The article of furniture of claim 1 wherein the support frame includes a backrest with a front side and a back side, the storage compartment being located on the back side of the backrest.

4. (canceled)

5. The article of furniture of claim 1 wherein the storage compartment has an opening sized to receive the cushion and a closure for the opening.

6. (canceled)

7. The article of furniture of claim 5 wherein the closure comprises a hinged door that, when closed, conceals and protects the cushion.

8. An article of furniture comprising a frame about which fabric is secured, the frame defining a storage compartment including a weather resistant lining; and a cushion associated with the frame and sized to be received in the storage compartment.

9. The article of furniture of claim 8 wherein the frame includes a seat support, and the storage compartment is located beneath the seat support.

10. The article of furniture of claim 8 wherein the frame includes a backrest, and the storage compartment is located on the back side of the backrest.

11. An article of furniture comprising: a frame; a cushion; and a storage compartment integral with the frame sized to receive the cushion, the storage compartment including a weather resistant lining adapted to protect the cushion from environmental conditions when received therein.

12. (canceled)

13. An article of furniture for storing a cushion comprising: a frame; and a storage compartment integral with the frame sized to receive the cushion, the storage compartment including a weather resistant lining adapted to protect the cushion from environmental conditions when received therein.

14. (canceled)

15. An article of furniture comprising: a support frame having a plurality of legs depending therefrom; and a storage compartment integral with the frame located between the legs, the storage compartment including a weather resistant lining adapted to protect contents stored therein from environmental conditions.

16. The article of furniture of claim 15 wherein the support frame includes a seat support, and the storage compartment is located beneath the seat support.

17. The article of furniture of claim 15 wherein the support frame includes a backrest with a front side and a back side, with a second storage compartment being located on the back side of the backrest.

18. The article of furniture of claim 15 wherein the support frame includes a table top.

19. (canceled)

20. The article of furniture of claim 15 wherein the storage compartment has a closure for the opening.

21. An article of furniture comprising: a plurality of tubular members joined together to form an open support frame; a covering mounted on the support frame; a cushion removably associated with the support frame; and a storage compartment defined by selected of said tubular members and the covering and sized to receive the cushion, the storage compartment adapted to protect the cushion from environmental conditions when received therein.

22. The article of furniture of claim 21 wherein the support frame includes a seat support, and the storage compartment is located beneath the seat support.

23. The article of furniture of claim 21 wherein the support frame includes a backrest with a front side and a back side, the storage compartment being located on the back side of the backrest.

24. The article of furniture of claim 21 wherein the storage compartment includes a weather resistant lining.

25. The article of furniture of claim 21 wherein the storage compartment has an opening sized to receive the cushion and a closure for the opening.

26. The article of furniture of claim 25 wherein the closure comprises a hinged door that, when closed, conceals and protects the cushion.

27. An article of furniture comprising: a plurality of tubular members joined together to form an open support from, the support frame having a plurality of legs; a covering mounted on the support frame; and a storage compartment located between the legs, the storage compartment defined by selected of said tubular members and the covering and adapted to protect contents stored therein from environmental conditions.

28. The article of furniture of claim 27 wherein the support frame includes a seat support, and the storage compartment is located beneath the seat support.

29. The article of furniture of claim 27 wherein the support frame includes a backrest with a front side and a back side, with a second storage compartment being located on the back side of the backrest.

30. The article of furniture of claim 27 wherein the storage compartment includes a weather resistant lining.

31. The article of furniture of claim 27 wherein the storage compartment has a closure for the opening.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of the filing dates of provisional application Ser. No. 60/605,663, filed Aug. 30, 2004, and Ser. No. 60/644,424, filed Jan. 14, 2005.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to furniture intended for outdoor use, such as tables, chairs, benches, chaise lounges, gliders, ottomans, and the like. The framework or support structure for the furniture includes integral storage for a cushion (or cushions) that may be associated therewith, or for other items. The storage compartments are intended to easily receive the intended contents in order to protect them when not in use from detrimental environmental conditions.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Furniture having cushions as a component thereof is becoming increasingly popular for outdoor use. As can be appreciated, cushions associated with the furniture are exposed to detrimental environmental conditions. Such conditions can include precipitation, wind, sunlight, windborne dirt, dust and debris, and exposure to contact by plants and animals. Each of these can be detrimental to both the appearance and the integrity of the fabrics and padding that comprise the cushions. Further, such environmental exposure can also render the use of the furniture unpleasant until the cushions have sufficiently dried out or otherwise been cleaned off.

One way protection of outdoor furniture from the elements has been provided is by a cover. See, e.g., Waters U.S. Pat. No. 6,155,637, which shows a slip cover arrangement for chairs, such as glider rockers. See also, Gengler et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,709,055 and Blome et al. U.S. Pat. No. 6,626,491. While such covers are generally effective in protecting the furniture, some persons may consider them to be aesthetically unpleasing. In addition, there is a general need for convenient weather-proof storage of various outdoor accessories.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to furniture intended for outdoor use. The framework of the furniture includes structure providing a permanent compartment, or compartments, for receipt of any cushions that may be associated therewith, or other outdoor accessories, when not in use. The compartment protects the contents from the elements and, because the storage compartment is incorporated into the framework of the furniture, it provides a more pleasing appearance than a cover.

In one aspect of the invention, a chair is provided with a compartment suitable for storing seat or back cushion. A compartment for a seat cushion is typically provided under the seat frame, while a compartment for a back cushion is provided on the back side of the backrest. In another aspect of the invention, storage compartments for tables are provided underneath the table top.

The compartments are made by adding framework to the existing support frame of the particular type of furniture. The additional framework is covered with a material, preferably waterproof or weather resistant, suited for outdoor use that may be complementary to or identical with material that covers the remaining framework. This results in the storage compartment(s) being less visually objectionable.

The interior of the storage compartment(s) may be lined with a waterproof or water-resistant material, and the opening of the compartment may include a closure, such as a hinged or sliding door, or a weighted flap, to further protect the contents stowed therein from adverse environmental exposure.

It is accordingly a general aspect or object of this invention to provide an improved article of outdoor furniture that facilitates protection of cushions that may be associated therewith, or other items, from detrimental environmental conditions when not in use.

Another aspect or object of the invention is to provide a support frame for such outdoor furniture that has integral storage compartments for storage of cushions or other items.

Another aspect or object of this invention is to provide a weather-protective storage compartment in an unobtrusive location, whereby a user can quickly and conveniently store in or remove from the compartment an associated cushion or other item.

Other aspects, objects and advantages of the present invention will be understood from the following description of the preferred embodiments of the present invention, specifically included stated and unstated combinations of the various features which are described herein, relevant information concerning which is shown in the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS

FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of a cushioned chair of the type suitable for the present invention with the cushions in place;

FIG. 2 is a rear perspective view of a chair shown in FIG. 1, showing the integral storage compartments; and

FIG. 3 is a rear perspective view similar to FIG. 2, except that the cushions are stowed in the storage compartments.

FIGS. 4-6 show a table incorporating a weatherproof storage compartment in accordance with the present invention, with the opening of an associated closure door or panel shown in sequence.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein. However, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which may be embodied in various forms. Therefore, the specific details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriate manner.

Turning to the drawings, a chair generally designated 10, is shown in FIG. 1. While the preferred embodiment is in the form of a chair for storage of any cushions associated therewith, it will be appreciated that the invention is suitable for use in connection with other types of outdoor furniture. The illustrated chair 10 is an armchair intended for outdoor use that has a frame which may be made of, e.g., aluminum tubing, cast aluminum, wrought iron, wood, etc. The frame is covered with a material suitable for outdoor use, such as, e.g., a synthetic waterproof or water-resistant material, to provide for a more attractive finish. Preferably, the chair is covered in a synthetic wicker material. However, other materials can be used to cover the frame without departing from the invention.

The chair 10 includes a backrest 14 and a seat frame or support 16, which support cushions 18, 20, respectively, to provide for enhanced seating comfort. Storage compartments, generally designated 22 and 24 (seen in FIGS. 2 and 3), are provided integrally with the frame of the chair 10 and are sized to receive the back cushion 18 and seat cushion 20, respectively.

The back cushion storage compartment 22 has a size and shape adapted to receive the back cushion 18 and extends from the backrest 14 of the chair. The storage compartment 22 comprises frame member 26, seen in dotted lines in FIG. 2. As illustrated, the frame members 26 extend from the top of the backrest to the mid-section of the rear legs of the chair. The frame members 26 are joined by a sufficient number of cross-frame members 28 (also shown in dotted lines) to provide structural rigidity. The frame members 26, 28 support a covering material 30 to define the storage compartment 22.

The covering material 30 is preferably chosen to create an unobtrusive appearance when combined with the covering on the remainder of the chair frame. The covering material 30 may be different from the synthetic wicker material covering the remainder of the frame, or the covering material 30 can be made of a material identical to that covering the remainder of the frame to further disguise the storage compartment 22. Additionally, the covering material is preferably a waterproof/water-resistant material, which is suitable for outdoor use and provides a barrier to the elements with respect to the interior of the compartment.

Alternatively, or additionally, the interior of the compartment 22 can be provided with a waterproof/water-resistant lining to further protect the cushion when stored therein. If a lining is employed, it is preferably made of a material having a low co-efficient of friction so as to facilitate easy insertion and removal of the seat cushion from the compartment. The low co-efficient of friction for the lining may permit the storage compartment to be made slightly undersized (and, therefore, less visually obtrusive), as the cushion can be slightly compressed when placed into the compartment.

The upper end of the compartment 22 is open to facilitate receipt of the back cushion 18. The opening may be provided with a closure, such as a hinged lid 31 or weighted flap (not shown) in order to provide more complete protection for a cushion stored therein. The lid or flap is also preferably made of a material that would complement or match that covering the remainder of the chair frame and back cushion storage compartment.

Similarly, the seat cushion storage compartment 24 comprises frame members 32, 34 (shown in dotted lines in FIG. 2) that extend between the legs of the chair underneath the seat frame 16. These frame members 32, 34 support a covering material (not shown) like cover material 30 to define a storage compartment sized to receive the seat cushion 20. Similar to storage compartment 22, the covering material is suited for outdoor use and provides a barrier to environmental elements entering the compartment 24. In addition, a protective lining can be provided on the interior of the compartment 24, as well as a closure lid 36 or flap (not shown), to provide fuller protection for a cushion stored therein.

As is appreciated, some outdoor chairs have only seat cushions, and not back cushions. In such circumstances, only a single storage compartment, preferably under the seat frame, is needed. Additionally, the furniture item having the integral storage compartment need not be the same furniture item for which the cushion is used.

Turning to the FIGS. 4-6, there is seen a second embodiment of the present invention in the context of a table, generally designated 38. As is typical, the table 38 includes a table top 40 and four legs 42, although more or fewer (i.e., at least three) legs may be used. Supported between the legs 42 underneath the table top 40 is a shelf 44 for supporting cushions or other items. The shelf 44 is defined by four frame members that extend between the legs 42 and which, in the illustrated embodiment, are covered with a waterproof/water-resistant material, as described above. However, the shelf 44 may be made of, e.g., a solid panel or sheet, without departing from the invention. In addition, a storage compartment is defined by the shelf 44, in combination with three of the four sides that bound the shelf 44, and the table top 40 (or a partition or panel 46 supported between the legs beneath the table top). In the illustrated embodiment, the sides bounding the shelf are defined, in part, by the legs 42, and are closed by, e.g. covering with waterproof/water-resistant material. The compartment, as thus described and illustrated, is closed on five of six sides. As noted above, the interior of the compartment can also be provided with a waterproof/water-resistant lining.

To close the open side of the storage compartment, the table 38 includes a door or closure panel 48 that slides and pivots with respect to a track (not shown) mounted to the table 38 adjacent to the table top 40. The panel 48 preferably comprises a frame that supports waterproof/water-resistant material like that defining the remainder of the storage compartment, and also may include a waterproof/water-resistant lining on its interior side.

With reference to FIGS. 4-6, to obtain access to the storage compartment, the door or closure panel 46 is pivoted upwardly and then slid along the track so that it underlies the table top 40. Various contents may then be placed into the storage compartment, such as cushions 50 that may be associated with other furniture, or other items (such as dinnerware, table linens, etc.). To close the storage compartment, the closure panel 48 is simply slid along the track outwardly from the table 38, and then pivoted downwardly once the end of the track is reached.

It will be understood that the embodiments of the present invention which have been described are illustrative of the application of the principles of the present invention. Numerous modifications may be made by those skilled in the art without departing from the true spirit and scope of the invention, including combinations of the features that are individually disclosed or claimed herein.





 
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