Title:
Bathroom accessory storage system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A bathroom accessory storage system for storage of bathroom consumables such as bathroom tissue, bar soap, or the like, and to covertly store bathroom accessories such as a toilet plunger, toilet cleaning brush, or the like, in a single furnishing.



Inventors:
Hanser, William P. (Billings, MT, US)
Application Number:
09/948235
Publication Date:
03/07/2002
Filing Date:
09/06/2001
Assignee:
Augustine Engineering, Inc. (Billings, MT)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B96/00; A47K17/00; (IPC1-7): A47G29/08
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HANSEN, JAMES ORVILLE
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SANTANGELO LAW OFFICES, P.C. (FORT COLLINS, CO, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A bathroom furnishing, comprising: a. an enclosure having an exterior surface and an interior surface, wherein said interior surface defines an interior volume of said enclosure; b. a first access element coupled to said enclosure; c. a first storage zone within said interior volume of said enclosure accessible by operation of said first access element; d. a second access element coupled to said enclosure accessible by operation of said first access element; and e. a second storage zone within said interior volume of said enclosure accessible by operation of said second access element.

2. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 1, further comprising a removable waste collection element having a location within said second storage zone.

3. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 1, further comprising at least one ventilation element, wherein said at least one ventilation element traverses between said exterior surface and said interior surface of said enclosure, whereby said second storage zone has ventilation.

4. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 1, further comprising a third access element coupled to said enclosure accessible by operation of said second access element.

5. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 4, further comprising a third storage zone accessible by operation of said third access element.

6. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 1, wherein said first storage zone has an interior volume tailored to store consumable materials selected from the group consisting of bar soap, toilet tissue, towels, and facial tissue.

7. A bathroom furnishing as described in claim 1, wherein said second storage zone has an interior volume tailored to store bathroom accessories selected from the group consisting of a toilet bowl brush, toilet bowl plunger, and toilet bowl cleaning materials.

8. A method of storing bathroom furnishings, comprising the steps of: a. operating a first access element coupled to an enclosure; b. accessing a first storage zone by operation of said first access element; C. accessing a second access element by operation of said first access element; and d. accessing a second storage zone by operation of said second access element.

9. A method of storing bathroom furnishings as described in claim 8, further comprising the step of removing a waste collection element from said second storage zone.

10. A method of storing bathroom furnishings as described in claim 8, further comprising the step of ventilating said second storage zone.

11. A method of storing bathroom furnishings as described in claim 8, further comprising the step of storing consumable materials in said first storage zone selected from the group consisting of bar soap, toilet tissue, towels, toilet tissue, and facial tissue.

12. A method of storing bathroom furnishings as described in claim 8, further comprising the step of storing bathroom accessories in said second storage zone selected from the group consisting of a toilet bowl brush, toilet bowl plunger, and toilet bowl cleaning materials.

13. A method of storing bathroom furnishings as described in claim 8, further comprising the steps of: a. accessing a third access element by operation of said second access element; b. accessing a third selectably accessible storage zone by operation of said third access element.

14. A method of using a bathroom furnishing, comprising the steps of: a. operating a first access element coupled to an enclosure having an interior volume; b. viewing a first storage zone comprising a portion of said interior volume of said enclosure; c. obstructing view to a remaining portion of said interior volume of said enclosure with a second access element coupled to said enclosure; d. operating a second access element; and e. viewing a second storage zone.

15. A method of using a bathroom furnishing as described in claim 14, further comprising the step of collecting waste material from bathroom accessories stored in said second storage zone.

16. A method of using a bathroom furnishing as described in claim 15, further comprising the step of reducing humidity within said interior volume of said enclosure.

17. A method of using a bathroom furnishing as described in claim 14, wherein said step of obstructing view to a remaining portion of said interior volume of said enclosure with a second access element coupled to said enclosure comprises obstructing view to bathroom accessories stored within said second selectably accessible storage zone selected from the group consisting of a toilet bowl brush, toilet bowl plunger, and toilet bowl cleaning materials.

18. A method of using a bathroom furnishing as described in claim 14, wherein said step of viewing a first selectably accessible storage zone comprising a portion of said interior volume of said enclosure comprises viewing consumable materials stored within said first selectably accessible storage zone selected from the group consisting of bar soap, toilet tissue, towels, toilet tissue, and facial tissue.

19. A method of using a bathroom furnishing as described in claim 14, further comprising the steps of: a. obstructing view to said remaining portion of said interior volume accessible by operation of said second access element of said enclosure with a third access element coupled to said enclosure; b. operating said third access element; and c. viewing a third selectably accessible storage zone.

Description:

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/230,363, filed Sep. 6, 2000 which is incorporated by reference herein.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0002] A bathroom accessory storage system having nested compartmentalization that provides a primary access to a first viewable storage area and secondary access to a second, or more, selectably viewable storage areas.

[0003] In today's society entry hall bathrooms, commonly referred to as “powder rooms,” (or other small rooms) are increasing in popularity. Because powder rooms are used primarily by visitors to the home, they are generally smaller in square footage than a conventional bathroom and are typically furnished with only a toilet, sink and mirror. Despite their smaller size, powder rooms require the same number and kind of bathroom consumables or accessories as a conventional bathroom. At the same time, there is resurgence in the use of “pedestal” style sinks that do not include an underneath cabinet, particularly in powder rooms. This may be due partly to their aesthetic attributes and partly to the fact that the openness of the pedestal sink creates the illusion that the powder room is larger than it really is. Regardless, the use of a pedestal sink further compounds the problem of storing the necessary number and kind of bathroom consumables and accessories in a bathroom that is already diminutive in size.

[0004] Conventional bathroom storage devices provide a single or multiple compartments for storage, as described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,008,933, and 5,984,100. A significant problem with these types of conventional storage devices can be that when accessed the bathroom consumables are typically stored in the same compartment with the typically unsightly bathroom accessories. When the furnishing is accessed for any consumable item, such as toilet tissue, the user is exposed to all items in storage, including, but not limited to, toilet bowl plungers, toilet bowl brushes, cleaning supplies, or the like.

[0005] While conventional bathroom storage devices may provide an outwardly aesthetic solution to storing various bathroom items, it is not aesthetically desirable to view bathroom accessories such as the toilet bowl plunger, toilet bowl brush, or the like, when accessing a bathroom storage device for bathroom consumables such as toilet tissue, bar soap, bath towels, or the like.

[0006] The present invention addresses this problem by providing a bathroom accessory storage system that provides selectably accessible covert storage of bathroom accessories, that the user may desire to have remain hidden, while simultaneously providing a viewable storage zone for bathroom consumables.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] Accordingly, a significant object of a particular embodiment of the invention can be to provide a bathroom accessory storage system having nested compartmentalization providing primary access to a first storage zone and simultaneously providing secondary access to a second storage zone hidden from view.

[0008] Another significant object of a particular embodiment of the invention can be to provide separate storage for consumable bathroom supplies, such as toilet tissue, that may be accessed without viewing bathroom accessories, such as toilet plungers, that are stored within the same furnishing.

[0009] Another significant object of a particular embodiment of the invention can be to provide ventilation to the second storage zone used to store such bathroom accessories.

[0010] Another significant object of a particular embodiment of the invention can be to provide a moisture trap or waste collection element that can be removed to dispose of liquid waste shed from stored bathroom accessories.

[0011] Another significant object of a particular embodiment of the invention can be to provide accessory storage systems for use in rooms other than bathroom(s) that have limited space. The overt and covert storage tailored to the particular utility of the room or space.

[0012] Naturally further objects of the invention are disclosed throughout the specification.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0013] FIG. 1 shows a particular embodiment of the invention having a secondary access nested within the primary access with both accesses shown in the open position.

[0014] FIG. 2 shows a particular embodiment of the invention having a secondary access nested within the primary access with both accesses shown in the closed position.

[0015] FIG. 3 shows a particular embodiment of the invention having a secondary access nested within the primary access with the primary access in the open position and the secondary access in the closed position.

[0016] FIG. 4 shows an exploded perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the invention further showing a preferred storage location of the bathroom consumables with respect to the accessories.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0017] As can be easily understood, the invention includes a variety of aspects including bathroom accessory storage devices and methods of bathroom accessory storage, the elements of which may be related in various combinations and permutations to create numerous embodiments of the invention. Importantly, while specific embodiments of the invention may be shown or described as bathroom or half bathroom furnishings these examples are not meant to limit the scope of the invention to only those examples. Rather, it is to be understood that these examples are illustrative of the broad variety of embodiments of the invention that address the problem of providing selectably accessible covert storage of items, that the user may desire to have remain hidden, while simultaneously providing a viewable storage zone for items that the user may desire to have viewable. Particular embodiments of the invention are shown in FIGS. 1 to 4.

[0018] Now referring primarily to FIG. 1, the invention can comprise a bathroom accessory storage system having a plurality of nested storage compartments or storage zones (25)(26) to separate consumable materials, such as bar soap, toilet tissue (16), towels, facial tissue, or the like, from bathroom accessories, such as the toilet bowl cleaning brush (21), toilet bowl plunger (20), cleaning supplies, or the like.

[0019] As can be understood from the figure, the enclosure (10) has an exterior surface and an interior surface. The interior surface defines the interior volume of the enclosure (10). A first access element (14) can be coupled to the enclosure (10) and upon operation of the first access element (14) the user gains access to a first storage zone (25) and also gains access to a second access element (18). Upon operation of the second access element (18) the user gains access to a second storage zone within the interior volume of the enclosure (10). The invention may further comprise additional, tertiary or quaternary accesses that open to tertiary or quaternary storage zones nested within the enclosure. As such, each of various items stored within enclosure (10) can have priority viewing or priority storage, as the user may desire.

[0020] Now referring primarily to FIG. 2, a particular embodiment of the bathroom accessory storage invention (10) can include a base assembly (11) intended to support the invention by providing a flat base, legs, or feet as desired, or the invention can be mounted directly to a support surface. At least two sides (12) can be fastened between the base assembly (11) and a cap assembly (13). It can be understood, that the bathroom accessory storage invention (10) may have triangular, rectangular, pentagonal, polygonal, round or other geometry, as desired. The exterior surface of the base assembly (11), the walls (12) and the cap assembly (13) may have decorative or ornamental features, as may be further desired. A primary access (14) can cover the primary viewing zone or storage area enclosed by the sides (12). The primary access (14) can be hingedly responsive to at least one side (12) such as edge (15) such that the primary access (14) can be pivoted about edge (15) between a closed position as shown in FIG. 2, and an open position as shown by FIG. 3. Naturally, the various access elements can be made responsive to enclosure (10) in a variety of ways other than hinges. The base assembly (11), sides (12) or cap assembly (13) of the bathroom accessory storage invention (10) may be made from numerous types of material as desired or depending upon the nature of the items to be stored. For example, the invention may be made from metal, wood, glass, plastic, or even press boards, cardboard, composite board, or the like.

[0021] Now referring primarily to FIG. 3, the primary access (14) provides ingress to the primary viewing zone or storage area (25) defined by the sides (12) and partition (17). Bathroom consumables (16) such as a toilet paper can be stored in the primary viewing or storage area. The primary access (14) also provides access to the secondary access (18) covering a secondary viewing or storage area (26) defined by the secondary access (18) and the sides (12) and the partition (17). The secondary viewing or storage area (26) can be used for storing the bathroom accessories and cleaning supplies. The secondary access (18) can be hingedly responsive to edge (19) such that the secondary access (18) can be pivoted about the edge (19) between an open and a closed position as shown by FIG. 1.

[0022] Now referring primarily to FIG. 4, bathroom consumables can be a roll of toilet tissue (16), and bathroom accessories can comprise a toilet plunger (20), a toilet brush (21) or the like. Naturally the bathroom accessory storage system may be configured to view or store numerous types of bathroom consumables or accessories including any decorative or non-decorative item that may be desired such as extra bar soap, containers of cleanser, cleaning rags, or gloves.

[0023] As further shown by FIG. 1 or 4, the toilet plunger (20) and the toilet cleaning brush (21) may be located within the secondary viewing zone or storage area (26). As illustrated by FIG. 4, the toilet cleaning brush (21) may be hung from a mounting fixture (22) located in the secondary viewing or storage area (26). The bathroom consumables such as the roll of toilet tissue (16) may be located in the primary viewing or storage area (25).

[0024] Moreover, the secondary viewing zone or storage area (26) can further comprise a removable fixture (23) for capturing or containing waste, toilet water runoff, or the like from the bathroom accessories. The removable fixture (23) can be removed and easily cleaned then returned to its original location.

[0025] The bathroom accessory storage system may be readily assembled by securing the sides (12) by a first end to the base assembly (11) and by the second end to the cap assembly (13). As previously mentioned sides (12) are configured to the desired aesthetic geometry. Accordingly, the sides (12) may have most any shape. The primary access (14) can be made hingedly responsive so as to pivot between an open position and a closed position. However, the primary access may be made responsive to the sides (12) in a variety of ways so as to allow access to the primary viewing zone and storage area. Upon providing access to the primary viewing zone or storage area a first priority item may be viewed or retrieved from the primary viewing or storage area (25), without viewing or otherwise interacting with the second priority items within the secondary viewing zone or storage area.

[0026] In another embodiment of the invention, the cap assembly (13) can be secured to the first end of the sides (12), and the first end of the sides (12) can be secured to the base assembly (11), as above described. Ventilation holes (24) can be provided as shown in FIG. 4 such that the secondary viewing zone or storage area (26) (or tertiary or quaternary viewing zones or the like) of the invention (10) can be in fluid communication with the ambient atmosphere, thereby permitting air to flow between the secondary viewing zone or storage area (26) and the ambient atmosphere. Thus, the moisture from bathroom accessories or cleaning supplies, and in particular the residual moister from waste or toilet water or the like, will evaporate more rapidly than if the secondary viewing zone or storage area (26) was closed to the ambient atmosphere.

[0027] It should be noted that the invention disclosed herein provides an accessory storage system which may specifically be used in the bathroom to store supplies and consumables or bathroom accessories or the like in a compact and concealed manner. More particularly, the invention can provide a decorative pedestal for compact, concealed storage of a toilet plunger, toilet cleaning brush, rubber gloves, one or more rolls of toilet tissue and the like.

[0028] In addition, the invention described and disclosed herein includes the following notable features: (1) Multiple storage compartments for storing and accessing bathroom consumables and bathroom accessories; (2) easy removal of each bathroom item without disturbing the remaining bathroom consumables and accessories, including access to the frequently required bathroom consumables without interacting with the bathroom accessories; (3) a catch basin for collecting moisture, such as residual toilet water, from the bathroom accessories and cleaning supplies after use; (4) a decorative exterior design that can be adapted to take on the aesthetic appearance of the bathroom; (5) a top surface that can be used as a pedestal for books, flowers, a basket and the like; and (7) a versatile configuration that can be adapted for use in other applications such as entryway and living room storage.

[0029] The discussion included in this United States Patent Application is intended to serve as a basic description. The reader should be aware that the specific discussion may not explicitly describe all embodiments possible; many alternatives are implicit. It also may not fully explain the generic nature of the invention and may not explicitly show how each feature or element can actually be representative of a broader function or of a great variety of alternative or equivalent elements.

[0030] Further, each of the various elements of the invention and claims may also be achieved in a variety of manners. This disclosure should be understood to encompass each such variation, be it a variation of an embodiment of any apparatus embodiment, a method or process embodiment, or even merely a variation of any element of these. Particularly, it should be understood that as the disclosure relates to elements of the invention, the words for each element may be expressed by equivalent apparatus terms or method terms—even if only the function or result is the same. Such equivalent, broader, or even more generic terms should be considered to be encompassed in the description of each element or action. Such terms can be substituted where desired to make explicit the implicitly broad coverage to which this invention is entitled. As but one example, it should be understood that all actions may be expressed as a means for taking that action or as an element which causes that action. Similarly, each physical element disclosed should be understood to encompass a disclosure of the action that physical element facilitates. Regarding this last aspect, as but one example, the disclosure of an “access element” should be understood to encompass disclosure of the act of “accessing”—whether explicitly discussed or not—and, conversely, were there only disclosure of the act of “accessing”, such a disclosure should be understood to encompass disclosure of a “access element” and even a means for “accessing”. Such changes and alternative terms are to be understood to be explicitly included in the description.

[0031] Additionally, the various combinations and permutations of all elements or applications can be created and presented. All can be done to optimize the design or performance in a specific application.

[0032] In addition, as to each term used it should be understood that unless its utilization in this application is inconsistent with such interpretation, common dictionary definitions should be understood as incorporated for each term and all definitions, alternative terms, and synonyms such as contained in the Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, second edition are hereby incorporated by reference. However, as to each of the above, to the extent that such information or statements incorporated by reference might be considered inconsistent with the patenting of this/these invention(s) such statements are expressly not to be considered as made by the applicant(s).

[0033] Any acts of law, statutes, regulations, or rules mentioned in this application for patent; or patents, publications, or other references mentioned in this application for patent are hereby incorporated by reference.

[0034] Thus, the applicant(s) should be understood to have support to claim at least: i) each of the bathroom accessory storage devices described herein, ii) the related methods disclosed and described, iii) similar, equivalent, and even implicit variations of each of these devices and methods, iv) those alternative designs which accomplish each of the functions shown as are disclosed and described, v) those alternative designs and methods which accomplish each of the functions shown as are implicit to accomplish that which is disclosed and described, vi) each feature, component, and step shown as separate and independent inventions, vii) the applications enhanced by the various systems or components disclosed, viii) the resulting products produced by such systems or components, ix) methods and apparatuses substantially as described hereinbefore and with reference to any of the accompanying examples, and the x) the various combinations and permutations of each of the elements disclosed

[0035] In addition, unless the context requires otherwise, it should be understood that the term “comprise” or variations such as “comprises” or “comprising”, are intended to imply the inclusion of a stated element or step or group of elements or steps but not the exclusion of any other element or step or group of elements or steps. Such terms should be interpreted in their most expansive form so as to afford the applicant the broadest coverage legally permissible in countries such as Australia and the like.

[0036] The claims set forth in this specification are hereby incorporated by reference as part of this description of the invention, and the applicant expressly reserves the right to use all of or a portion of such incorporated content of such claims as additional description to support any of or all of the claims or any element or component thereof, and the applicant further expressly reserves the right to move any portion of or all of the incorporated content of such claims or any element or component thereof from the description into the claims or vice-versa as necessary to define the matter for which protection is sought by this application or by any subsequent continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof, or to obtain any benefit of, reduction in fees pursuant to, or to comply with the patent laws, rules, or regulations of any country or treaty, and such content incorporated by reference shall survive during the entire pendency of this application including any subsequent continuation, division, or continuation-in-part application thereof or any reissue or extension thereon.