Title:
Furniture combination useful for hiding pet products
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Provided is a furniture combination providing an ornamental, work or seating surface and a selectively hidden cubby, the combination comprising: a piece of furniture comprising four legs and a solid top surface supported by the legs, an area under the top surface defining the cubby; a cover with a top and bottom surface comprising a top panel, two or more screen panels attached to the top panel adapted to screen the cubby from three sides; and a retaining mechanism operating with one of the screen panels, comprising two or more tie pairs connected to the top and bottom of the cover and adapted to retain the respective screen panels in a rolled up position, the separate pairs spaced apart to limit a tendency of the rolled up screen panel to unroll.



Inventors:
Heide, Diana D. (New York, NY, US)
Boynton, Julia C. (Skillman, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/188487
Publication Date:
04/06/2006
Filing Date:
07/25/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C31/00
View Patent Images:
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20060267382Arm rest returnNovember, 2006Mcmillen et al.



Primary Examiner:
EDELL, JOSEPH F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LAW OFFICES OF ARTHUR E. JACKSON (P.O. BOX 88, HOPEWELL, NJ, 08525, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A furniture combination providing an ornamental, work or seating surface and a selectively hidden cubby, the combination comprising: a piece of furniture comprising four legs and a solid top surface supported by the legs, an area under the top surface defining the cubby; a cover with a top and bottom surface comprising a top panel, two or more screen panels attached to the top panel adapted to screen the cubby from three sides; and a retaining mechanism operating with one of the screen panels, comprising two or more tie pairs connected to the top and bottom of the cover and adapted to retain the respective screen panels in a rolled up position, the separate pairs spaced apart to limit a tendency of the rolled up screen panel to unroll.

2. The furniture combination of claim 1, further comprising: a second such retaining mechanism operating with the screen panel opposite that of the first retaining mechanism.

2. The furniture combination of claim 2, wherein the screen panels are adapted to screen the cubby from all sides.

4. The furniture combination of claim 2, wherein, between the screen panels operating with the first and second retaining mechanisms, there is a said screen panel without a retaining mechanism.

5. The furniture combination of claim 2, wherein, on each side between the screen panels operating with the first and second retaining mechanisms, there is a said screen panels which is without a retaining mechanism.

6. The furniture combination of claim 1, wherein the screening panels comprise an inner and outer fabric and the inner fabric is stain or water resistant.

7. The furniture combination of claim 1, further comprising: a solid overlay surface adapted to removably layer or connect on top of the top panel.

8. The furniture combination of claim 7, wherein the solid overlay surface is glass.

9. The furniture combination of claim 7, wherein the solid overlay surface is Plexiglass.

10. The furniture combination of claim 7, wherein the solid overlay surface is wood.

11. The furniture combination of claim 7, wherein the solid overlay surface is a cushion.

12. The furniture combination of claim 7, wherein the solid overlay surface comprises an extendable panel adapted to extend outwards of one of the screen panels.

13. The furniture combination of claim 1, further comprising: holes in screen panels adapted to allow, when the respective screen panel is not rolled up, the respective bottom ties to be passed through the slits and decoratively tied with their corresponding upper ties.

14. The furniture combination of claim 1, further comprising: a cushion adapted to support a pet and covered with a material matching a material of the top panel, or a screen panel, or a tie.

15. The furniture combination of claim 1, further comprising: trim material around the edge of the top panel, the trim material matching material of the ties.

16. The furniture combination of claim 1, wherein, given a first such screen panel that is adjacent to a second said screen panel, said second screen panel operating with said tie pairs to secure a retained position, the material of the first screen panel is secured to the top panel in a manner to create an overlap with the second screen panel.

17. The furniture combination of claim 1, wherein the screen panels are adapted to screen the cubby from all sides.

18. A method of selectively hiding an object, the method comprising, placing the object in the cubby of he furniture combination of claim 1; and retaining the door-aligned screen panel in a rolled-up position as needed to allow use of the object or extra light or air to reach the object.

19. The method of claim 18, wherein the object is an animal crate and the crate is placed in the cubby with the crate door aligned with a screen panel having a said retaining mechanism.

20. The method of claim 19, further comprising, a screen panel opposite the door aligned screen panel using a second such retaining mechanism; and retaining the opposing screen panel in a rolled-up position as needed to allow extra light or ventilation for the crate.

Description:

The present invention relates to a furniture combination of a piece of furniture such as a table and a cover adapted to allow easy and decorative access to a cubby under the furniture piece.

Particularly in cities with a high cost of real estate it can be important to have all rooms in home or apartment available for entertaining. Often pet products and other objects, for example animal crates or litter boxes, do not complement the decor of the home. Thus, it can be useful to hide the object, and to hide the object in a decorative manner that nonetheless allows ready opening for convenient access to the pet product. For the great amount of time that is spent either not entertaining or entertaining less formally, a system for hiding the pet product usefully should be relatively decorative in the open arrangement.

There have been articles designed to hide pet products under furniture. For example, the articles described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,683,830 and U.S. Pat. No. D481,496. These products have not provided an easy and decorative mechanism of providing access to the pet products.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, the invention relates to a furniture combination providing an ornamental, work or seating surface and a selectively hidden cubby, the combination comprising: a piece of furniture comprising four legs and a solid top surface supported by the legs, an area under the top surface defining the cubby; a cover with a top and bottom surface comprising a top panel, two or more screen panels attached to the top panel adapted to screen the cubby from three sides; and a retaining mechanism operating with one of the screen panels, comprising two or more tie pairs connected to the top and bottom of the cover and adapted to retain the respective screen panels in a rolled up position, the separate pairs spaced apart to limit a tendency of the rolled up screen panel to unroll.

In another embodiment, the invention relates to a method of selectively hiding an object, the method comprising: placing the object in the cubby of he furniture combination of claim 1; and retaining the door-aligned screen panel in a rolled-up position as needed to allow use of the object or extra light or air to reach the object. The object can be, for example, an animal crate placed in the cubby with the crate door aligned with a screen panel having a said retaining mechanism.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIGS. 1A-1C show a furniture combination of the invention.

FIGS. 2A-2C show covers of embodiments of furniture combinations.

FIGS. 3, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B and 6 show solid overlays for use in the furniture combination.

FIG. 7 shows a furniture combination with holes to allow decorative use of ties.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The furniture combination is illustrated in assembled form in FIG. 1A, with a cover 10. Screen panel 1 is rolled up and secured by tie combinations 11 and 12 (which, as described below, are composed of a top ties 11t and 12t, and bottom ties 11b and 12b). Screen panel 2 further screens, for example, dog crate 30 located in the cubby 22 (see FIG. 1B). Not seen in this view are screen panels 3 and 4. As illustrated, with screen panel 1 rolled up and secured crate door 31 can be easily opened or closed, as illustrated by the arrow and the image in dotted lines indicating an open position for the crate door. If screen panel 3, located to the back an opposite screen panel 1, is rolled up and secured the crate 30 receives good ventilation. A pillow or other animal bed can be used in the crate, for example a cushion that is in a material that matches the material of top panel 5.

FIG. 1B shows the table 20 that supports the cover 20 (indicated in dotted lines). The illustrated table legs 21 are ornamentally carved, but such ornamentation of elements that are often hidden is optional. As illustrated, in many embodiments the legs are usefully slender to provide room for the cubby 22. FIG. 1C corresponds to FIG. 1A, except screen panel 1 is unrolled.

FIG. 2A shows the cover 10 laid out, top up, on a flat surface. Screen panels 1-4 are conveniently sewn to top panel 5. In the illustrated embodiment there is a decorative fringe 6 sewn around top panel 5. By having the screen panels joined (by sewing, continuous material or otherwise) the hang of the screen panels is aesthetically improved. Ties 11t and 12t and optional ties 13t and 14t have (if present) corresponding bottom ties (comparable to ties 11b′, 12b′, 13b′ and 14b′ in FIG. 2B). Optional fringe 6 can be, for example, of a material matching material of the ties, of an animal bed, or the like.

Such bottom ties are shown in FIG. 2B, where top panel 5′ (of another embodiment, cover 10′) and screen panels 1′, 2′ and 3′ are laid on a flat surface with the bottom of the cover oriented upwards. Screen panel 4′ is shown suspended upwards to allow the drawing to better show the optional fold 4a′ around a corner of top panel 5′. The overlap created by fold 4a′ can help further obscure the animal product in the cubby. If an animal crate, the fold and resulting overlap can be adapted to be on the hinged side of the crate door, thereby minimally obstructing the opening and closing of the crate. The fold can be adapted to be on a side of the furniture combination that has more people traffic, thereby better obscuring the animal product. The overlap distance OD, illustrated in FIG. 2C, can for example be 2 cm or more, 3 cm or more, 4 cm or more, 5 cm or more, 6 cm or more, 7 cm or more, 8 cm or more, 9 cm or more, 10 cm or more, 11 cm or more, 12 cm or more, 13 cm or more, 14 cm or more, 15 cm or more, 16 cm or more, or some other distance selected as useful for obscuring while allowing access. Additional overlaps can be added.

FIG. 3 is comparable to FIG. 1C, but further illustrates a solid overlay 40 adapted to be placed on top of top panel 5. The arrows indicate where the solid overlay 40 is moved to place it on the furniture combination. The solid overlay 40 can, for example, be glass, Plexiglass, wood (e.g., butcher block, carved), or a cushion. Generally, the solid overlay is found to be stably secured by friction. However, securing devices such as Velcro, pins, pins held in place by cotter pins, bolts and the like can be used. These devices can be hidden with plugs (e.g., that fill recesses in the solid overlay in which the devices are employed) or other decorative devices. Where necessary, access holes can be located in the top panel 5 to allow securing connections between the table top 25 and the solid overlay 40. Where securing connections are used two or more are preferred to one. In options such as described below where the solid overlay provides extendable side panels, the optional securing connections can include connections on the side opposite the extension.

FIG. 4A shows a solid overlay 140 with an extendable panel 142 hingeably folded over main panel 141 via hinges 143. FIG. 4B shows the extendable panel 142 in its extended position. FIG. 5A shows a solid overlay 240 with an extendable panel 242 slideably engaged under main panel 241. FIG. 5B shows the extendable panel 242 in its extended position. Hardware for reinforcing the slideable connection can be used, and is well known in the art.

In another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6, a solid overlay 340 statically overhangs the rest of the furniture combination. The overhang provided here, as in FIGS. 5 and 6, and the like can be used, for example, to provide a desk work area with extra leg room.

Where a number in a given figure for a given embodiment is not individually described, that number corresponds to element(s) identified by the same last two digits for another embodiment. Hence, element 320 is a table as in the first illustrated embodiment (for table 20).

The furniture element of the combination can be any number of furniture pieces that support a solid top surface. Examples include stools (e.g., ottoman), benches, tables (e.g, coffee table, side table, bed side table, dressing table), desks, and the like.

The item selectively hidden can be, for example, a pet product, which might be, for example, an animal crate or cage, animal bed, pet litter, or the like. The item need not fill the available room in the cubby.

In one embodiment, the height of the furniture component is within 80% of or greater than at least one of length or width of the cubby.

The ties can be woven fabric, other sheet-formed material or cord. In one embodiment, the ties are tied together (preferably in a decorative manner) to secure the rolled up screen panel. Of course, snaps, Velcro, buttons, clasps, and the like can be used to make the securing step more facile. Such mechanism can include slidable clasps such as those used in camping equipment. In this case, the ties are long enough so that the slidable clasp is slide to the bottom to close (un-roll) the screen panel. In this case also, the ties can be joined at the bottom ends. FIG. 7 shows an embodiment where cover 410 includes holes (in this example slits) 415 and 416, with ties 411b and 412b, respectively, drawn through the holes to seat next to corresponding ties 411t and 412t. Located in this manner, ties 411b and 411t and 412b and 412t can be decoratively tied or otherwise secured together.

The screening panels can be made of two or more layers of material. The material (in one or more layers) can be stain or water resistant. Where two or more layers are used with stain or water resistant material, such material should comprise the inner layer. The stain or water resistant material can be of a polymer that is stain or water resistant, which polymer may be in a sheet or provide the thread of a woven fabric. The material can be made stain or water resistant by application of an appropriate treating agent, such as Scotchguard™ Fabric Protector, Scotchguard™ Heavy Duty Water Repellant, Scotchguard™ Ultra Water Repellant with Mildew Block (the foregoing from 3M Co., St. Paul, Minn.), Quiltgard™ (from Craftgard Co., St. George, Utah), and the like.

In some embodiments, at least the top surfaces of the panels adapted to be visible to a guest are formed of a woven fabric, such as cotton, wool, silk, polyester, cotton blends and corduroy, Sunbrella fabrics (treated to be fade proof and stain resistant, from Glen Raven, Inc., Glen Raven, N.C.), Nano-tex™ enhanced fabrics (treated to be stain, water and wrinkle resistant, from Nano-Tex, LLC, Greensboro, N.C.), and the like.

Some exemplary size combinations include:

SizeLengthWidthHeightFurniture options
Petite23″ (58.4 cm), or21″ (53.3 cm), or18.5″ (47 cm), orStool, coffee table.
≦25″ (63.5 cm), or≦23″ (58.4 cm), or≦20″ (50.8 cm), orSide table, bed side table
≦25″ (63.5 cm)≦23″ (58.4 cm)≦28″ (71.1 cm)
Extra28″ (71.1 cm), or26″ (66 cm), or23.5″ (59.7 cm), orBench, bed side table,
Small≦30″ (76.2 cm), or≦28″ (71.1 cm), or≦25″ (63.5 cm), orside table
≦30″ (76.2 cm)≦28″ (71.1 cm)≦32″ (81.3 cm)Desk, dressing table,
butcher block
Small34″ (86.4 cm), or29″ (73.7 cm), or26.5″ (67.3 cm), orSide table, bed side table
≦36″ (91.4 cm), or≦31″ (78.7 cm), or≦28″ (71.1 cm), orDesk, dressing table,
≦36″ (91.4 cm)≦31″ (78.7 cm)≦32″ (81.3 cm)butcher block
Medium40″ (101.6 cm), or32″ (81.3 cm), or30.5″ (77.5 cm), orDesk, dressing table,
≦42″ (106.7 cm)≦34″ (86.4 cm)≦32″ (81.3 cm)butcher block
Large46″ (116.8 cm), or36″ (91.4 cm), or34.5″ (87.6 cm), orDesk, dressing table,
48″ (121.9 cm)≦38″ (96.5 cm)≦36″ (91.4 cm)butcher block
Petite24″ (61 cm), or18.5″ (47 cm), orStool, coffee table,
Round≦26″ (66 cm)≦20″ (50.8 cm)ottoman
Extra29″ (73.7 cm), or23.5″ (59.7 cm), orOttoman, bed side table,
Small≦31″ (78.7 cm)≦25″ (63.5 cm)side table
Round

Definitions

The following terms shall have, for the purposes of this application, the respective meanings set forth below.

Adapted to Screen the Cubby from Three Sides

Many pieces of furniture are adapted to not often be seen from one side, thus the screening can be for people located in the 180° arc (“three sides”) away from such a side. By screening it is meant that the aesthetic impact of the pet product is significantly reduced, not that close visual inspection of the furniture combination might give no indication of the pet product.

Stain or Water Resistant

A stain or water resistant material is one that is easier to clean by resisting staining or by wiping down to markedly reduce the odor of body fluids that find their way to the material.

Publications and references, including but not limited to patents and patent applications, cited in this specification are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety in the entire portion cited as if each individual publication or reference were specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated by reference herein as being fully set forth. Any patent application to which this application claims priority is also incorporated by reference herein in the manner described above for publications and references.

While this invention has been described with an emphasis upon preferred embodiments, it will be obvious to those of ordinary skill in the art that variations in the preferred devices and methods may be used and that it is intended that the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein. Accordingly, this invention includes all modifications encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the claims that follow.





 
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