Title:
Pre-molded monolithic design ready for installation niche
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A premolded plastic, monolithic design, decorative, and inexpensive niche packaged with all tools and supplies required for installation into a home or office by any professional or do-it-yourselfer with very little if any construction background. Said niche does not require affixing to wall studs. Once installed, the niche is designed to display urns, vases, sculptures, trophies, collectables, and other works of art.



Inventors:
Dowers, Kenneth A. (Tucson, AZ, US)
Application Number:
10/244703
Publication Date:
10/02/2003
Filing Date:
09/13/2002
Assignee:
DOWERS KENNETH A.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04F19/00; (IPC1-7): A47B23/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
CHEN, JOSE V
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KENNETH A. DOWERS (TUCSON, AZ, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A niche apparatus comprised of a monolithic design; said monolithic design including an exterior lip, a recessed interior display area, and a mantle; composed of plastic; said plastic is shaped into said monolithic design through a mold forming process.

2. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said monolithic design exterior lip is two to three inches in width.

3. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said monolithic design exterior lip has at least one dimple molded into the backside of said exterior lip.

4. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said monolithic design interior display area has a depth of three to three and one-half inches.

5. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said monolithic design interior display area is no more than twenty-four inches in width.

6. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said plastic is composed of polystyrene.

7. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said plastic is composed of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene.

8. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said mold forming process comprises a vacuum forming method to create said monolithic design.

9. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said mold forming process comprises a pressure forming method to create said monolithic design.

10. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said mold forming process comprises plastic injection to create said monolithic design.

11. The niche apparatus as described in claim 1 wherein said mantle includes a cornice under said mantle.

12. A method for installing a niche comprising the steps of locating studs within a wall; placing a niche template upon the wall surface; verifying the template is positioned level with the horizon and essentially parallel with the wall studs; securing the niche template upon the wall; tracing the edge of the template; cutting a hole in the wall along line created by the template tracing; applying an adhesive to appropriate contact areas of the niche with the wall; pressing the niche into the hole cut into the wall such that said adhesive makes proper contact with the wall; and waiting an appropriate amount of time required for said adhesive to cure thereby firmly securing the niche into the wall.

13. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of locating studs within a wall comprises utilization of a capacitive stud finder moved across the wall surface.

14. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of locating studs within a wall comprises utilization of a magentic stud finder moved across the wall surface.

15. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of securing the niche template upon the wall surface comprises application of at least one of double-sided adhesive tape and tacks to the template surface and the wall.

16. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of verifying said template position comprises utilization of a level placed at an edge of the template.

17. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of tracing the edge of said template comprises utilization of a writing instrument that leaves a legible mark on the wall.

18. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of cutting a hole in said wall comprises utilization of a handheld drywall saw to cut the traced area out of the wall.

19. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of applying an adhesive comprises applying a bead of adhesive from an adhesive container onto an appropriate surface of the niche that makes contact with the wall surface.

20. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein said step of pressing said niche into the cut hole in the wall comprises placing by hand the niche sufficiently into the cut hole and applying essentially even hand pressure onto the niche outer surface such that the adhesive makes firm contact with the wall surface.

21. The method for installing a niche as described in claim 12 wherein elapsed time to complete all said steps is accomplished in under seven minutes.

22. A system for installing a niche into a wall comprising the steps of a means for determining a desired position for said niche to be located in the wall without impinging on internal studs of the wall; a means for tracing the outline of said niche onto the wall; a means for cutting out traced area on the wall; a means for securing said niche into cut-out area of the wall; and all of said means contained within a single package means.

23. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for determining the desired position for the niche without impinging on the internal studs of said wall comprises a portable sensor working on a principal of changing capacitance for determining stud locations within the wall.

24. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for determining the desired position for the niche without impinging on the internal studs of said wall comprises a portable sensor working on a principal of magnetism for determining stud locations within the wall.

25. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for tracing the outline of the niche onto the wall further comprises: a portion of the package material, whose outline form is consistent with the form of the niche, used as a template; a means for securing the template to the wall; and a means for tracing the perimeter of the template onto the wall.

26. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for cutting out traced area of the wall comprises a drywall saw.

27. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for securing said niche into the wall comprises an acrylic caulk.

28. The system of claim 22 wherein the means for securing said niche into the wall comprises a polyseam sealant.

29. The system of claim 22 wherein said package means further comprises: corrugated cardboard shaped into a box form suitable for shipping said system; a corrugated cardboard insert into said box form possessing a cut-out void within said insert used to secure the niche into insert void area, and secure said niche into the box form such that the niche is immobilized within the box form; and the cut-out structure of the insert is used for immobilizing within the box form the means for determining desired position for niche, the means for tracing, the means for cutting, and the means for securing the niche into the wall.

Description:

PRIORITY

[0001] This application claims priority to, and incorporates by reference in its entirety, the United States Provisional Patent Application entitled Pre-molded Niches Ready for Installation Niches, having a serial No. 60/367,396, filed Mar. 26, 2002.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The present invention relates generally to pre-molded niches for installation into existing walls and more specifically it relates to pre-molded niches ready for installation installed by any professional constructor, but especially the do-it-yourselfer who has little if any home improvement or construction background. All materials needed to install said niche are provided in a nice, neat package that affords those not skilled in the art of home improvement projects the ability to install a decorative niche in as little as five to seven minutes.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] Niches have existed as far back as Roman times. Modern era niches for residential or commercial use have been designed primarily for utility use, such as to provide open storage for pantry items (U.S. Pat. No. 4,681,380), concealed storage for bathroom appliances (U.S. Pat. No. 5,577,819), or in fact a concealed cabinet with a hinged access door to store personal valuables in a way to fool would-be thieves (U.S. Pat. No. 5,368,378). In these examples, the niches were designed for a functional purpose, with aesthetics not being the primary design consideration. Furthermore, these niches were secured into a typical wall with some method of bolting into the wall or studs of the wall.

[0004] The niches were not of a simple, one-piece construction for ease of installation. Even a niche design that is of a one-piece design still requires some means of securing the niche into a wall by bolting the niche to the studs of the wall (U.S. Pat. No. 5,427,446). Furthermore, niches traditionally have been made of plaster, making the niche rather difficult to transport to a home or office without great risk of breakage, not to mention the difficulty in working with a heavy mass object.

[0005] Additionally, niches have been designed to hold specific items in a waterproof, monolithic design (U.S. Pat. No. 5,134,758), however this style of niche is not practical for the home do-it-yourselfer to install the niche into a wall in as little as five to seven minutes.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0006] It is therefore a feature and advantage of the present invention to provide a reduction of the mass of a niche that can be mass produced at low cost using plastics that are commonly available, formed into distinctive decorative designs by a pressure molding process.

[0007] Additionally, it is a feature and advantage of the present invention to reduce the complexity of a niche used for displaying items, yet provide for styling variations to meet many customer tastes. The styling variations can include niches that are up to 24 inches in width.

[0008] It is another feature and advantage of the present invention to provide a convenient and secure means for installing a decorative niche in a residential or commercial interior wall of a building. Furthermore, this secure method of installation does not require the niche be attached to inner surfaces of wall studs.

[0009] It is another feature and advantage of the present invention to provide a simplified method for installing a decorative niche in a residential or commercial interior wall of a building, such that an untrained installer can complete the installation in a short period of time.

[0010] It is another feature and advantage of the present invention to package all requisite materials for niche installation into a typical residential or commercial wall, such that an untrained installer can complete the installation of this invention in a short period of time.

[0011] Also, another feature and advantage of the present invention is the packaging materials for the invention are designed to minimize waste by using all elements of the packaging, and utilize recyclable materials in the composition of the packaging to minimize impact on the environment.

[0012] There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, the more important features of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof that follows may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional features of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

[0013] In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction nor to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

[0014] As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0015] FIG. 1 is a schematic view illustrating several elements of a preferred embodiment of a pre-molded, monolithic design niche.

[0016] FIG. 2 is a side view illustration of a pre-molded, monolithic design niche installed into a wall.

[0017] FIG. 3a and FIG. 3b are a representation of preferred and alternative embodiments of a complete installation package for a pre-molded, monolithic design niche.

[0018] FIG. 4 is a summary flow chart showing the steps of a preferred method of installation of a pre-molded, monolithic design niche.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION

[0019] The preferred embodiments of the present invention provide a monolithic design niche. Also provided in preferred embodiments are a convenient and secure method and system for installing a premolded niche into a home or office wall.

[0020] A preferred embodiment of the present inventive apparatus is illustrated in FIG. 1. The niche is a monolithic design, being constructed of a single piece of plastic. The preferred embodiment is a plastic composition of polystyrene, though acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene, commonly referred to as “ABS”, plastic is suitable as an alternative composition. Polystyrene has the desired property of being lightweight, important for reducing the cost of shipping through distribution channels, and reduced effort to install the single-piece niche into a wall. Other superior properties of polystyrene include being durable, very malleable despite potentially having several styling bends and subforms, and also being a lower cost per unit.

[0021] High temperature tolerance is not required of a niche, as it is excepted to be in a room temperature environment. However, in an alternative embodiment, special compositions of plastics can be employed to cover greater temperature ranges, should the need arise, than what would typically be experienced in a home or office.

[0022] Other plastic compositions are acceptable, particularly if a variety of manufacturing techniques are employed to construct the monolithic design of the niche. For instance, for smaller volume production numbers, a simple vacuum forming method of creating the niche with polystyrene sheets {fraction (3/16)}th inch thick conformed to a mold is preferred. For more intricate designs of niche, a pressure forming method can be employed to assure that all bends and creases are crisply made also using {fraction (3/16)}th inch polystyrene sheets. Molds for either the vacuum or pressure methods of manufacturing the niche are relatively inexpensive when the cost of the mold is spread over a production run of several hundred units. Those skilled in the art of vacuum or pressure molding can appreciate the advantages of different compositions of materials for the molds, including wood, aluminum, steel, and alloys of different metals. Choices among these mold compositions are made depending upon the number of niches to be made per production run.

[0023] For large number production runs, such as several thousand niches, it is more economically feasible to employ an injection mold process to construct the niche, as injection molds are more durable for a larger number of units produced. Since there are more units produced for the fixed cost of the mold, the higher cost of producing an injection mold can be justified by being spread over more units produced, coupled with the fact that the injection mold will last, in some cases, considerably longer than a mold used in vacuum or pressure molding methods. Furthermore, a switch to ABS plastic with its advantages, as known by those skilled in the art, can be made when employing an injection molding technique.

[0024] FIG. 1 shows three major elements that comprise the niche: an exterior lip 10; an interior recessed display area 20; a mantle 30. Each of these elements are discussed in greater detail below.

[0025] The exterior lip 10 is part of the monolithic design of the niche. Its primary purpose is to provide a surface of the niche that makes direct contact with the wall into which the niche is being installed. It is to this lip that an adhesive is applied to affix the niche to the wall surface into which the niche is being installed. This is in stark contrast to niches that are secured to the studs in the wall through the interior side portion of the display area 20. The advantage with an adhesive affixing method is that wall studs can be something other than exactly 24 inches on center. Furthermore, the preferred embodiment of niche can be manufactured to be somewhat to significantly narrower than 24 inches wide, as wall studs are not relied upon to secure the niche into the wall. For instance, a niche made to conform to load-bearing wall specifications could be inserted into a non-load bearing wall, despite the fact that such a niche would be approximately eight inches narrower than the wall studs.

[0026] If a stud width is wider than building code, and such imperfections can occur even with quality builders, niches that require affixing to the wall studs would potentially require shims placed between the stud and the inside display area surface of the niche, assuming that a preformed niche is roughly 24 inches in width. The shims would allow the niche to be securely installed without potentially wiggling in place, and prevent cracking the inside display area surface due to excessive torque being applied to the niche surface to force the niche to abut the studs.

[0027] Additionally, it is an advantage to affix the niche with an adhesive rather than bolting or nailing in the interest of simplicity. An installer unskilled in the building trades will more readily be able to install a niche using adhesives, as opposed to working with drills, shims, and other specialized constructing equipment used to secure the niche to the wall.

[0028] The exterior lip 10 is two to three inches in width out relative to the edge of the recessed display area 20, and serves the additional purpose of covering any imperfections of the hole cut in the wall by the installer. Additionally, the lip serves a decorative purpose in providing additional area of the niche for unique styling.

[0029] An alternative embodiment of the exterior lip 10 design is to have dimples 12 molded into the backside of the exterior lip 10 that indicate points of the exterior lip 10 that can optionally be punched or drilled out to allow a fastening screw to pass through the exterior lip 10 into the wall. These dimple points remain unseen to the exterior visible surface of the lip 10 if not drilled or punched out. The dimple points 12, with decorative drywall screws passed through the exterior lip 10 into the wall, provide for a very secure installation of the niche into the wall, along with an adhesive as described above, that assist in holding the niche in place. This alternative embodiment provides for greater load holding capacity of the niche in order to display heavier items. However, care must be taken by the installer of the niche not to overtorque the screws, thereby compromising the surface of the exterior lip 10.

[0030] The recessed display area 20 of the niche is the portion of the niche that sets into the wall, preferably three to three and one-half inches depth 26, to allow space for displaying urns, vases, sculptures, trophies, collectables, and other works of art. The visible back surface 22 of the display area 20 can optionally be painted with a mural, or have a picture or some two-dimensional form of art fastened to the back surface 22 such that the art is the displayed feature of the niche.

[0031] The horizontal dimension of the walls 24 of the recessed display area 20 are designed to fit within the post-1978 uniform building codes applicable to wall stud spacing. This building code specifies an on-center spacing of 16 inches for load-bearing walls, and 24 inches for non load-bearing walls. Preferably, the niches are designed to fit within the specifications for non load-bearing walls, however different molds can be manufactured that produce smaller dimension niches that fit into load-bearing walls. Caution should be taken when choosing a load-bearing wall for installation of a niche, in the interest of preserving the structural integrity of the load-bearing wall.

[0032] The mantle 30 of the niche serves multiple purposes. A primary purpose of the mantle 30 is to provide a shelf for displayed items to sit upon. Also, similarly to one of the functions of the external lip 10, the mantle 30 provides opportunity for unique styling consistent with the styling of the external lip 10. Under the mantle 30 can exist a decorative cornice 32 that sturdies the recessed display area 20, and provides a better placed center of gravity for an object resting on the mantle 30. This improved center of gravity feature provides a greater element of stability to the displayed object(s) and lessens the likelihood of the displayed object(s) from falling out of the niche. Additionally, the cornice provides structural rigidity that reduces flexing of the plastic mantle 30, lessening the possibility of a heavier display item falling forward.

[0033] The amount of protrusion of the mantle 30 extended from the wall surface is somewhat a matter of design preference, however it is advisable to not extend the mantle much beyond the same distance as the three to three and one-half inches depth 26 of the display area 20. This is suggested as a matter of convenience and safety, so that the mantle portion 30 of the niche does not become and obstruction for people walking past the niche. For example, a three and one-half inch mantle 30 coupled with a three and one-half inch depth 26 of display area 20 provides for a seven inch shelf upon which objects can be displayed, providing a reasonable balance between excessive protrusion of the mantle 30 into the room, yet providing a significant shelf and cornice 32 area that limits the possibility of a displayed object from suddenly tumbling out of the niche.

[0034] While the plastic of the monolithic niche can reasonably handle as much as a 50 pound load from the displayed object(s), depending upon the overall size of the niche and the thickness and composition of the plastic. However, it is not recommended that the load upon the mantle 30 exceed 15 pounds, particularly if the displayed object(s) is/are top heavy. The display object(s) could topple out of the niche, causing damage to the object(s), or worse, pull the entire niche out of the wall. Heavier objects can be displayed with an alternative embodiment of the niche that is secured to a wall with an adhesive applied around the wall side of the exterior lip 10 in conjunction with decorative drywall screws, as described above.

[0035] The entire niche of FIG. 1 preferably is painted prior to installation into the wall, should a complementing or contrasting color to the wall color be desired. However, alternatively, the niche can be painted the same color of the wall once installed, if painting is desired. Preferably, the niche is molded in an off-white, slightly gray hue color similar to that of wall plaster, though many other colors are possible, thereby obviating painting of the niche. Additionally, the plastic composition of the niche is amenable to painting with either an acrylic or enamel paint that can sustain some flexing during the installation of the niche into the wall. For added security against paint cracking during installation, it is recommended to prime the plastic surface with a flexible primer.

[0036] FIG. 2 is a schematic side view illustrating a niche that has been installed into a wall in a preferred embodiment of the invention. The interior recessed display area 20 of the niche is sized such that there is some space preserved between the back surface of the niche 22 and inner surface of the drywall behind the niche 210. A display area depth 26 greater than three and one-half inches runs the risk of not allowing space for unanticipated wiring discovered in the area where the niche is desired to be installed, assuming that the wall stud 200 is a typical four inch depth. The exterior lip 10 of the niche provides the means for securing the niche to the visible drywall surface 220. Adhesive is applied to the wall side of the exterior lip 10 during installation such that the exterior lip is bound to the visible drywall surface 220, eliminating the hazards that a nailing affixing method may bring. These hazards would include diminishing the decorative value of the exterior lip 10, and possible direct impact from a hammer to the niche or the drywall surface 220, potentially leaving an undesired mark even to the point of requiring repairs.

[0037] The added structural, as well as decorative, value of the cornice 32 can be readily seen in FIG. 2. The cornice provides a greater structural rigidity than if the mantle 30 were to extend from the niche by itself without reinforcement. The mantle also provides for a decorative styling opportunity such that the niche can have styling variations including French Colonial, Southwest, and Neo-classical. Other styling themes are possible.

[0038] A preferred embodiment of the niche is to have the niche packaged with all of the tools required for installation, sans paint and paint primer. Paint is optional, and can be applied either prior to or after the installation of the niche into the intended wall. The niche is preferably molded in an off-white, plaster color, such that it would fit into any room color scheme without any additional surfacing. A total package of niche and requisite installation tools and supplies creates a system for installation that improves the likelihood of a successful installation of the niche without any degradations to the niche or the wall into which the niche was installed.

[0039] FIGS. 3a and 3b are an illustration of one particular style of niche (Southwest) 300, niche installation tools and supplies 330, 340, 342, 346, 350, 360, and package materials 310, 320 that comprise all that is preferably required to install the premolded niche into a wall. Some alternative embodiment installation tools 335, 344 are also shown.

[0040] A preferred embodiment of a premolded niche is to package it into a complete system for installation. The advantage of this is that the installer does not have to have an inventory of tools and supplies. Another advantage is that the installer can be assured that all supplies necessary for the proper installation of the monolithic design niche are included with the purchase of the niche. This latter advantage is especially advantageous for the do-it-yourselfer who is not skilled in construction.

[0041] Turning first to FIG. 3a, the external package 310 is preferably constructed of corrugated cardboard for its lightweight property yet strong crush resistance. Furthermore, this material is recyclable, reducing the impact this embodiment has on the environment. Included with the packaging is an insert 320, also preferably constructed of corrugated material that securely holds the niche 300 in the external package 310. The insert is cut out in the indicated area 325 that corresponds in dimensions to the size of the display area 20 of the niche 300. The niche is placed into the cut out area 325 of the insert 320 for shipping. Additionally, this insert 320 also serves as a template for the location in the wall where cuts with the drywall saw FIG. 3b:350 should be made in the wall to install the niche 300. Furthermore, all of the tools and supplies requisite for a proper installation are secured to the material of the cutout area 325 of the insert 320 prior to shipping, such that there are no loose items within the external package 310.

[0042] A person installing the niche will unpack from the external package 310 the niche 300 and all of the tools and supplies, and preferably paint the niche 300 with either an acrylic or enamel paint prior to installation of the niche into the wall. This is assuming that it is desirable to have a color other than the molded color of the niche as discussed with FIG. 1. A paint should be chosen that has some flexibility when dried, to allow for flexing of the niche during installation. Preferably, the surface of the niche will be prepared with a flex primer prior to painting, to assure that the paint bonds with the niche 300 surface and enhance the life of the paint. However, a good quality paint applied directly to the polystyrene, ABS, or other composition plastic surface of the niche 300, depending upon which plastic is used to create the embodiment of niche 300, should suffice for a quality finish.

[0043] A means for painting the niche prior to installation includes spray painting in addition to brush painting. The insert 320 can be used as an overspray containment shield, obviating a drop cloth or other means for preventing overspray paint from covering unintended objects.

[0044] If the niche 300 is painted prior to installation, the installer can select the general location on the wall where the niche is to be installed. The next step of installation is to use a stud locator. Two alternatives for stud finding are shown in FIG. 3. The preferred method for finding studs in the wall is to use a stud finder that works on detecting varying densities in the wall. This type of stud finder 330 works on a principal of changing capacitance as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,099,118.

[0045] Alternatively, a stud finder working on a principal of magnetism 335 can be used. This type of stud finder 335 relies on nails driven into the studs being composed of a ferrous metal. The advantage of this type of stud finder is its lower cost, but has the disadvantage of making the assumption that only ferrous metal nails were used to attached the drywall to the studs of the candidate wall for niche 300 installation. Furthermore, the installer must assume the width of the stud, something that is normally an acceptable risk if standard building materials were used to construct the wall.

[0046] Assuming that painting was done and is now dried, and the studs in the wall have been located and noted, the insert 320 is now used as a template to be placed upon the wall where the niche will be installed. Alternatively, the insert cutout area 325 could also be used as a template, however for the purposes of discussion, the insert 320 will be documented. The insert/template 320 is held against the wall in the desired position for installation. Preferably, an air bubble level 340 is used to confirm that the insert/template 320 is held level with the horizon. However, alternatively, placed at the lower edge of the insert/template 320, a simple protractor with an appropriately attached plumb line, i.e. a commercially available angle indicator, can indicate tilt relative to the horizon to indicate whether the template is held level to the horizon.

[0047] Turning to FIG. 3b, once the proper position has been established for the insert/template 320, it preferably can be temporarily secured to the wall with wall mount tape 342, a product that has adhesive applied to both sides of contact, that adheres the insert/template 320 to the wall without leaving a permanent mark or hole in the wall. Alternatively, simple tacks 344 can be pushed through the insert/template 320 into the wall, however care must be taken to push the tacks through the insert/template 320 close to the edge of the cut out area 325 such that the holes created in the wall by the tacks will be covered by the exterior lip 10 of the niche when the niche 300 is installed. Once the insert/template 320 is secured to the wall, trace the cut out area 325 of the insert/template 320 with a writing instrument 346, preferably a pencil, but other instruments that produce a legible mark on the wall can be used. The installed should then verify that a sufficiently legible mark has been traced around the perimeter of the cut out area 325 of the insert/template 320 prior to removing the insert/template 320 from the wall. The tracing will be used as a cutting guide in the next step of installation of the niche 300.

[0048] Prior to cutting the tracing out of the wall, electrical power to outlets and switches on both sides of the wall FIG. 2:210, 220, should be turned off. This is best done at the breaker or fuse box that supplies power to the room(s) affected by the niche 300 installation. Once the power is turned off, the installer takes the drywall saw 350 and cuts out the tracing made with the insert/template 320 cut out area 325. The interior of the cut out area of the wall should be inspected for obstructions and obstructions resolved prior to installation of the niche 300.

[0049] Placing the niche 300 on its face, meaning the exterior lip 10 is placed face side down, an adhesive 360 is applied to appropriate areas of the backside of the exterior lip 10. Appropriate areas are those that make contact with the wall. Optionally, adhesive can also be applied to the niche perimeter created by the recessed display area FIG. 1:20 that makes contact with the cutout area of the wall, to further make secure the installation of the niche. Care should be taken to lay down a bead of the adhesive 360 onto the backside of the external lip 10, as too much adhesive 360 applied will cause excess adhesive 360 to press out from under the exterior lip 10 as the niche 300 is pressed into position onto the wall surface.

[0050] The type of adhesive 360 chosen is one that will not materially and adversely affect the composition such that the decorative appearance of the niche 300 is marred. Acceptable adhesives for adhering the niche 300 into a wall include an acrylic caulk, an acrylic caulk with silicon, and a polyseam seal. This adhesive can be applied either by a commonly available caulking gun or directly squeezing of the adhesive from its packaging if the package is not in a caulking gun form factor.

[0051] Once the adhesive 360 is applied, the niche 300 can be placed into the hole in the wall prepared by the cutting step mentioned above. The installer should firmly press against the exterior lip 10 area of the niche 300 with even pressure around the entire perimeter of the niche 300. Any excess adhesive that flowed out from under the exterior lip 10 should be wiped clean very soon after securing niche to the wall. An appropriate amount of time should be allocated after installing the niche 300 to allow for the adhesive 360 to cure. This can vary by type of adhesive 360, however preferably one hour should be allocated for curing time of the adhesive 360.

[0052] FIG. 4 is a flow chart summary of the steps taken to install the niche into a wall in a home or office. Each of the installation steps has been covered in detail above: locate studs 410; level the template into position 420; temporarily secure the template to the wall and trace the template 430; remove the template and cut along the tracing made with the template 440; apply adhesive 450; place niche into prepared hole 460; let adhesive cure prior to displaying object(s) 470.

[0053] As mentioned above, either the insert FIG. 3:320 or the material of the cutout area FIG. 3:325 can be used as a template featured in steps 420 and 430. Preferably, the insert 320 is traced along the inside perimeter of the cutout area 325. The insert 320 is chosen as it provides a better visualization for making the template level 420. Alternatively, the exterior perimeter of the material of the cutout area 325 can also be used as a tracing template. A choice of either template provides an additional measure of convenience to the installer, and therefore both options are provided in the preferred embodiment.

[0054] These options are made available from the packaging material, creating a multiple utilization of the packaging materials including containing niche and installation materials for shipment, securing the embodiment during shipping, creating a paint overspray barrier, and usage as an installation template. Furthermore, the packaging material was chosen in part such that it can be recycled after use, as well as being created from recycled materials.

[0055] For safety reasons, power supply to room outlets and switches should be turned off prior to cutting the hole in the wall for the niche 440. The power can be restored after it is verified that no power lines within the wall were compromised during the installation, the niche is already installed, and the curing step is taking place 470.

[0056] Painting of the niche, if desired, can be done either preferably prior to installation, or after installation, and is therefore not listed in the summary of FIG. 4. The advantage of painting prior to installation is if a color for the niche is chosen other that the wall color, less care is necessary to paint the niche, as the wall cannot be accidentally painted by overspray/overbrush. This of course is not a concern if the niche is to be painted the color of the wall.

[0057] The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirits and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents may be resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.