Title:
Armoire or entertainment center
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Disclosed is an entertainment center having a moveable front and shelves to hold a television, electronic entertainment components, and other household items. The front has an open area through which the television, or another desired item, is exposed and accessible when the front is in a closed position. Thus, the contents of the entertainment center, except for the television or other item, are concealed when the front is closed.



Inventors:
Miller, Joseph E. (Naples, FL, US)
Application Number:
10/007799
Publication Date:
07/04/2002
Filing Date:
11/13/2001
Assignee:
MILLER JOSEPH E.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
312/7.2, 312/139.2, 312/223.6, 312/349
International Classes:
A47B81/06; A47B96/00; (IPC1-7): A47B5/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAI, LANNA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Richard L. Byrne (Pittsburgh, PA, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. An armoire, comprising: a housing; a front moveably connected to the housing, wherein when the front is in a closed position, the front has an open area within the periphery of the front and the front and the housing define an interior space; and at least one shelf located within the interior space, wherein when an item is placed on the at least one shelf, the item is visible through the open area.

2. The armoire according to claim 1, wherein: the front includes at least one door, the at least one door defining the open area.

3. The armoire according to claim 1, further including: at least one interior panel perpendicular to the at least one shelf.

4. The armoire according to claim 1, wherein the open area is generally rectangular.

5. The armoire according to claim 1, wherein the front includes two C-shaped doors, and when the front is in the closed position, legs of the C-shaped doors abut to define the open area.

6. The armoire according to claim 1, wherein the at least one shelf is laterally moveable.

7. The armoire according to claim 1, wherein the at least one shelf is vertically adjustable.

8. The armoire according to claim 1, further including at least one opening in a back of the housing, wherein the opening is configured to accept at least one electrical cord therethrough.

9. An entertainment center, comprising: a back panel; a top panel; a bottom panel opposed to the top panel; a first side panel; a second side panel opposed to the first side panel; a moveable front, wherein when the front is in a closed position, the front is opposed to the back panel and has an open area within the periphery of the front; and at least one shelf, wherein the back panel, the top panel, the bottom panel, the first side panel, the second side panel, and the front define an interior space,and the at least one shelf is configured to be supported in the interior space such that when an item is placed on the at least one shelf, the item is visible through the open area in the front.

10. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein the at least one shelf is laterally moveable.

11. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein the at least one shelf is vertically adjustable.

12. The entertainment center according to claim 9, further including at least two interior side panels located in the interior space parallel to the first and the second side panels, wherein the at least one shelf is configured to be supported by two of the interior side panels.

13. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein the item is a television.

14. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein the open area in the front is generally rectangular.

15. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein the interior space is generally rectangular.

16. The entertainment center according to claim 9, wherein: the front includes a first door and a second door; and when the front is in a closed position, the doors are positioned to define the open area in the front.

17. The entertainment center according to claim 16, wherein each door is generally C-shaped such that when the front is in the closed position, the doors are positioned to be substantially mirror images of each other in parallel abutment with legs of the C-shapes facing each other defining the open area in the front.

18. The entertainment center according to claim 9, further including track hardware attached to the top panel, the bottom panel, and the front to enable movement of the front.

19. The entertainment center according to claim 9, further including at least one opening in the back panel, wherein the opening is configured to accept at least one electrical cord therethrough.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] 1. Field of the Invention

[0002] The present invention is directed to furniture and, more particularly, to an entertainment center.

[0003] 2. Description of the Prior Art

[0004] Entertainment centers currently are available in a variety of styles, shapes, and sizes. One style of entertainment center houses a television along with several other pieces of electronic entertainment components, such as a VCR, a receiver, a CD player, a DVD player, and speakers. Additionally, the entertainment center may have storage space, such as shelves or drawers, for videos, CDs, DVDs, remote controls, television guides, books, etc.

[0005] Some entertainment centers are completely open on the front. Some have doors or drawers concealing some or all of the components and/or other household items. Several types of centers have a combination of open areas, doors, and drawers.

[0006] Given the size of a typical entertainment center, the area around the television may become filled with items, for example, many components, remote controls, television guides, videos, and/or other household items. When doors are present to conceal the television (and hide the other items), in order to watch the television, the doors must be opened. In many instances, the doors are placed out of the way of the television—either swung out wide or retracted into the unit. The doors must remain open to watch the television. Thus, items that were once hidden by the doors are now revealed. Many people do not want to see the other items when watching the television, especially when entertaining guests. Some people never want to see items around the television.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0007] It is an object of the present invention to provide an entertainment center that permits access to the television while concealing other entertainment components and household items.

[0008] Accordingly, I have invented an entertainment center having doors that, when closed in a parallel abutting manner, conceal the contents of the entertainment center except for the television.

[0009] The entertainment center has two front doors that slide laterally. The doors are C-shaped and positioned as mirror images of each other (i.e., with the legs of each C facing each other), such that when the doors are closed in a parallel abutting manner, a rectangular open area is provided in the front of the entertainment center. Shelves are provided within the entertainment center to hold a television, other electronic entertainment components, and/or other household items. One shelf is strategically placed so that the television, or other desired item, for example, a computer monitor, is visible through the open area in the front of the entertainment center. Thus, the contents of the entertainment center, except for the television or other desired item, are concealed when the doors are closed. All contents are accessible when the doors are open.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0010] FIG. 1 is a front perspective view of an entertainment center according to the present invention with doors opened;

[0011] FIG. 2 is a front perspective view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 1 with doors closed in a parallel abutting manner;

[0012] FIG. 3 is a front view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 1;

[0013] FIG. 4 is a top view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 1;

[0014] FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional side view taken along line V-V of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 3;

[0015] FIG. 6 is a front perspective view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 1 in use;

[0016] FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a second embodiment of an entertainment center according to the present invention with doors opened;

[0017] FIG. 8 is a front view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 7; and

[0018] FIG. 9 is a top view of the entertainment center shown in FIG. 7.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

[0019] A complete understanding of the invention will be obtained from the following description when taken in connection with the accompanying drawing figures wherein like reference characters identify like parts throughout.

[0020] For purposes of the description hereinafter, the terms “upper”, “lower”, “right”, “left”, “vertical”, “horizontal”, “top”, “bottom”, and derivatives thereof shall relate to the invention as it is oriented in the drawing figures. However, it is to be understood that the invention may assume various alternative variations, except where expressly specified to the contrary. It is also to be understood that the specific devices illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification, are simply exemplary embodiments of the invention. Hence, specific dimensions and other physical characteristics related to the embodiments disclosed herein are not to be considered as limiting.

[0021] Referring to FIGS. 1-6, an entertainment center 10 according to the present invention includes a back panel 12, a top panel 14, a bottom panel 16, a right side panel 18, a left side panel 19, and a front 20 defining a generally rectangular interior space 22.

[0022] The front 20 includes a right hand door 24 and a left hand door 26 positioned such that they are in parallel abutment when in a closed or shut position. The doors 24, 26 are moveably mounted to the top panel 14 and the bottom panel 16 such that they may move away and towards each other to open and close the entertainment center 10 (i.e., reveal and conceal the interior space).

[0023] The right hand door 24 may be moved independently of the left hand door 26, and vice versa. Preferably, the doors 24, 26 open and close by sliding laterally. In this case, wheel and track hardware 28 may be mounted to a top surface 30 of the top panel 14 and a bottom surface 32 of the bottom panel 16 to facilitate sliding of the doors 24, 26, or in any other location to facilitate sliding.

[0024] Alternatively, any conventional method to open and close the doors 24, 26 may be utilized, such as by rotating or pivoting the doors 24, 26. In these cases, appropriate hardware is utilized to achieve the desired movement. Also, a system may be installed to operate the movement of the doors 24, 26 electronically or by remote control.

[0025] Preferably, the left hand door 26 is generally C-shaped. The right hand door 24 is substantially the mirror image of the left hand door 26 (i.e., a backwards C-shape). The doors 24, 26 are positioned such that when they are in the closed position (i.e., in parallel abutment with the legs of each C aligned and facing each other), a generally rectangular open area 62 is provided within the front 20 by the mirror image C-shapes. The C-shapes may be configured such that the open area 62 is at any desired location on the front 20.

[0026] In another embodiment of the present invention, the front 20 includes only one door (not shown) with a rectangular cutout that forms the open area 62. In other embodiments, the front 20 may be any combination of doors, panels, etc. that define the open area 62, and the doors 24, 26 may not be mirror images as long as the open area 62 is defined when the doors 24, 26 are closed.

[0027] At least one shelf 34 is located within the interior space 22 of the entertainment center 10 forming at least two cavities 36. Preferably, the entertainment center 10 has multiple shelves 34 that form multiple cavities 36. The shelves 34 are configured to fit within the shape defined by the back panel 12, the side panels 18, 19, and the front 20 and lie parallel to the bottom panel 16. The shelves 34 may be installed within the interior space 22 in any conventional manner to be stationary, laterally moveable, and/or vertically adjustable.

[0028] Preferably, each side panel 18, 19 has a multiplicity of openings 38 on surfaces 40 facing the interior space 22. The openings 38 are sized and shaped to receive dowels (not shown). The openings 38 on each side panel 18, 19 align with the openings 38 on the opposed panel 18, 19 so that when dowels are placed in the openings 38 at desired locations, the shelves 34 rest level on the dowels. By placing the dowels in different openings 38, the shelves 34 may be positioned and repositioned at will, which allows the sizes of the cavities 36 to be adjusted as desired.

[0029] The doors 24, 26 may include handles (not shown) to assist with opening and closing. A lock assembly (not shown) may be provided to prohibit entry to the entertainment center 10 when the doors 24, 26 are closed. Stops (not shown) may be provided to ensure that the doors 24, 26 open and/or close to an appropriate location. Detents (not shown), or other means, may be provided to hold the doors 24, 26 in an opened and/or closed position. At least one light (not shown) may be present in the interior space 22 of the entertainment center 10. The at least one light may turn on when the doors 24, 26 are opened and turn off when closed. There may be at least two lights—one to turn on and off corresponding to movement of the right hand door 24 and one corresponding to the left hand door 26.

[0030] In use, a television 42 sits on one shelf 34. Additional components 44 or household items 46 may sit on other shelves 34 positioned in the interior space 22 above and/or below the shelf 34 for the television 42. The one shelf 34 for holding the television 42 is positioned in the interior space 22 of the entertainment center 10 so that when the doors 24, 26 are closed, a screen 64 of the television 42 is visible within the open area 62. The C-shapes of the doors 24, 26 are configured such that the open area 62 allows controls (not shown) of the television to be accessible through the open area 62 and the television 42 to be controlled by a remote control (not shown).

[0031] The C-shaped configuration of the doors 24, 26 may be different sizes and shapes to permit the open area 62 to accommodate different sizes and types of televisions 42, for example, 27″, 32″, 36″, and 40″ screens, flat screens, rear projection televisions, etc. Alternatively, an item other than the television 42, for example, a computer monitor (not shown), may be positioned on the one shelf 34 so that when the doors 24, 26 are closed, the item is visible within and accessible through the open area 62.

[0032] The back panel 12 of the entertainment center 10 has at least one opening 66. When the television 42 and other components 44 are placed in the entertainment center 10, the cords (not shown) of the television 42 and other components 44 may be inserted through the opening 66 such that the electrical plugs (not shown) are available on the exterior of the entertainment center to plug into one or more electrical outlets (not shown). The back panel 12 may have several openings 66 to accommodate cords from multiple components 44 in the interior space 22.

[0033] In another embodiment of the present invention shown in FIGS. 7-9, the entertainment center 10 may also include a right interior panel 68 and a left interior panel 70. The right interior panel 68 is located in the interior space 22 spaced apart from and parallel to the right side panel 18. The left interior panel 70 is located in the interior space 22 spaced apart from and parallel to the left side panel 19. The interior panels 68, 70 may be stationary, laterally moveable, and/or vertically adjustable. With this configuration, spaces 72 are defined between the right panel 18 and the right interior panel 68, the left panel 19 and the left interior panel 70, and the right interior panel 68 and the left interior panel 70.

[0034] At least one shelf 34 is located within the space 72 defined by the right interior panel 68 and the left interior panel 70 to hold the television 42, or other desired item, to be visible within and accessible through the open area 62. Preferably, a multiplicity of shelves 34 are in the spaces 72 defining multiple cavities 36. The shelves 34 are configured to fit into the spaces 72 so that the shelves 34 lie parallel to the bottom panel 16. Similar to the embodiment above, surfaces 74 of the interior panels 68, 70 may include a multiplicity of openings 38 to receive dowels for positioning shelves 34 thereon. In this embodiment, when the television 42 is placed in the entertainment center 10, cavities 36 are present on either side of the television 42. These cavities 36 are concealed when the doors 24, 26 are closed and revealed when opened.

[0035] While specific configurations are described above, various configurations of interior panels 68, 70 and shelves 34 may be used to create countless configurations within the interior space 22.

[0036] Any material suitable for furniture may be used to construct the entertainment center 10 according to the present invention. Additionally, decorative accoutrements, for example, trim molding, kick plates, legs, and/or paint, may be added to the entertainment center 10 as desired. The entertainment center 10 may be fashioned in any furniture style, for example, Shaker, Victorian, modem, or traditional.

[0037] The entertainment center 10 may be used as part of a home entertainment system, a home computing center, an armoire configuration, a wall unit, or a video conferencing system for home and/or office applications. Furthermore, the entertainment center 10 may be used for purposes other than housing a television and other entertainment components, for example, for housing a computer system, clothing, dishes, knickknacks, collectibles, liquor and bar accessories, electrical items, etc.

[0038] The present invention eliminates having a collection of entertainment components 44, videos, CDs, books, knickknacks, and/or other household items 46 displayed while watching television 42. The items generally kept near the television 42 may still be kept there, but without having to see them all the time. Access to these items is easily obtained by opening the doors 24, 26 of the entertainment center 10.

[0039] It will be understood by those skilled in the art that while the foregoing description sets forth in detail preferred embodiments of the present invention, modifications, additions, and changes might be made thereto without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.