Title:
Kitchen island with chairs associated therewith
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A kitchen island with a chair associated therewith comprising a kitchen island and a chair, wherein the kitchen island comprises a receiving space configured to receive the chair and the chair comprises a backing substantially the shape and size of the opening to the receiving space so that when the chair is placed inside the receiving space the backing serves as a wall for the kitchen island and simultaneously hides the chair within the kitchen island. The chair may further comprise a means for facilitating movement of the chair, such as wheels, bearings, or glide pads. The chair may further comprise a handle or other means to remove the chair from the kitchen island. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith as described also serves to reduce clutter in the kitchen of a home.



Inventors:
Ingjaldsdottir, Erla Dogg (Santa Monica, CA, US)
Thorsteinsson, Tryggvi (Santa Monica, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/998274
Publication Date:
05/28/2009
Filing Date:
11/28/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B83/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Daniel M. Cislo (Los Angeles, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A kitchen island with a chair associated therewith, comprising: a. a kitchen island, comprising i. a countertop; ii. a first side adjacent to the countertop; iii. a second side adjacent to the countertop and opposite the first side; iv. a back side adjacent to the countertop, first side and second side; and v. a front side adjacent to the countertop, first side, and second side, and opposite the back side, wherein the front side comprises a receiving space extending from the countertop of the kitchen island to a floor; and b. a chair, wherein the chair comprises: i. a seat; ii. a leg comprising a top end attached to the seat and a bottom end to provide support for the seat; and iii. a backing attached to the seat to provide support for the seat, wherein the backing is configured to substantially cover an opening of the receiving space.

2. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 1, wherein a. the leg comprises a first mobility mechanism, wherein the first mobility mechanism is selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a glide pad, and a spring-loaded bearing mechanism; and b. the backing comprises a second mobility mechanism, wherein the second mobility mechanism is selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a glide pad, and a ball bearing.

3. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 1, wherein the first mobility mechanism is the spring-loaded bearing mechanism.

4. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 3, wherein the second mobility mechanism is the spring-loaded bearing mechanism.

5. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 1, wherein the second mobility mechanism is the spring-loaded bearing mechanism.

6. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 2, wherein the backing further comprises a handle.

7. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 3, wherein the backing further comprises a handle.

8. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 4, wherein the backing further comprises a handle.

9. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 5, wherein the backing further comprises a handle.

10. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 2, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

11. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 3, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

12. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 4, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

13. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 5, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

14. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 6, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

15. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 7, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

16. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 8, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

17. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 9, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

18. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 14, wherein the chair further comprises a footrest attached to the leg.

19. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 15, wherein the chair further comprises a footrest attached to the leg.

20. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 16, wherein the chair further comprises a footrest attached to the leg.

21. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 17, wherein the chair further comprises a footrest attached to the leg.

22. A kitchen island with a chair associated therewith, comprising: a. a kitchen island, comprising i. a countertop; ii. a first side adjacent to the countertop; iii. a second side adjacent to the countertop and opposite the first side; iv. a back side adjacent to the countertop, first side and second side; and v. a front side adjacent to the countertop, first side, and second side, and opposite the back side, wherein the front side comprises a receiving space extending from the countertop of the kitchen island to a floor; and b. a chair, wherein the chair comprises: i. a seat; ii. a backing attached to a first end of the seat to provide support for the seat, wherein the backing is configured to substantially cover an opening of the receiving space, and the backing further comprises a spring-loaded bearing mechanism; and iii. a leg comprising a top end attached to a second end of the seat and a bottom end to provide support for the seat, wherein the bottom end comprises a caster wheel.

23. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 22, wherein the chair further comprises a storage compartment below the seat.

24. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 22, wherein the chair further comprises a handle.

25. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 23, wherein the chair further comprises a handle.

26. The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith of claim 25, wherein the chair further comprises a footrest attached to the leg.

27. A method of reducing clutter in living spaces, comprising: a. providing a kitchen island having a receiving space; b. providing a chair comprising a backing configured to be housed in the receiving space and to substantially cover an opening of the receiving space.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to kitchen islands and the reduction of clutter, particularly in the kitchen.

BACKGROUND ART

Kitchen islands have become very popular in modern homes because of the added surface area in countertop space. Some kitchen islands come equipped with stoves, sinks, dishwashers, trash compactors and other amenities. Some kitchen islands come with a protruding edge for chairs to slide under thereby providing additional dining space. Thus, the kitchen island can also serve as a primary or secondary dining table. Use of the kitchen island as a dining table, however, requires additional chairs. The presence of additional chairs in the kitchen space may present an unsightly, cluttered view.

Some tables provide chairs that can slide underneath the table top; however, these tables require additional rails or tracks to guide the chair in and out from under the table. Other tables do not provide any means for facilitating the movement of the chair. Currently, the applicant is not aware of any kitchen island utilizing chairs that can easily and efficiently slide inside a kitchen island to become completely hidden, or any chairs that slide smoothly when empty but provide secure seating when in use.

Thus, there is a need for an aesthetically pleasing kitchen island that can hide chairs when not in use, where the chairs can slide out from the kitchen island quickly and easily when needed, while further providing stability and secure seating during use.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

The present invention is directed towards a kitchen island with chairs associated therewith, comprising a kitchen island and a chair. The kitchen island has a countertop; a first side adjacent to the countertop; a second side adjacent to the countertop and opposite the first side; a back side adjacent to the countertop, first side and second side; and a front side adjacent to the countertop, first side, and second side, and opposite the back side, wherein the front side comprises a receiving space extending from the countertop of the kitchen island to the floor. The chair comprises a seat; a backing attached to a first end of the seat to provide support for the seat, wherein the backing is configured to fit into the receiving space; and one or more legs where each comprises a top end attached to a second end of the seat and a bottom end to provide support for the seat, wherein the bottom end comprises a means for moving the chair (or a mobility mechanism), wherein the means for moving the chair (or mobility mechanism) is selected from the group consisting of a wheel, a glide pad, and a ball bearing. The back panel of the chair reaches the floor and has a plurality of ball bearings, wheels, glide pads, or the like.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a kitchen island with a chair associated therewith;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the kitchen island with a chair associated therewith pulled out;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the front portion of a chair of the current invention;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of an embodiment of the bottom of the chair of the current invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the chair of the current invention;

FIG. 6A is an exploded view of the bottom of a leg with a spring-loaded bearing mechanism;

FIG. 6B is a view of the bottom of the leg in FIG. 6A with the spring-loaded ball bearing assembled into the leg;

FIG. 6C is a view of the bottom of the leg shown in FIG. 6B with the ball bearing completely displaced inside the catch;

FIG. 7 is another embodiment of the bottom view of a chair of the current invention.

MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION

The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently-preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed or utilized. The description sets forth the functions and the sequence of steps for constructing and operating the invention in connection with the illustrated embodiments. It is to be understood, however, that the same or equivalent functions and sequences may be accomplished by different embodiments that are also intended to be encompassed within the spirit and scope of the invention.

The kitchen island with a chair associated therewith 100 comprises a kitchen island 102 and a chair 104. The kitchen island 102 may be a standard kitchen island having a countertop 200; a first side 202 adjacent to the countertop 200; a second side 204 adjacent to the countertop 200 and opposite the first side 202; a back side 206 adjacent to the countertop 200, first side 202 and second side 204; and a front side 208 adjacent to the countertop 200, first side 202, and second side 204, and opposite the back side 206. Unlike standard kitchen islands, however, the front side 208 of the current kitchen island 102 comprises a receiving space 210 extending from the countertop 200 of the kitchen island 100 to the floor.

The receiving space 210 may be a single space configured to accommodate one or more chairs 104. Alternatively, the receiving space 210 may be divided into sections or a plurality of receiving spaces 210, each section being capable of accommodating a single chair.

The plurality of receiving spaces 210 may be aligned in series from the first side 202 of the kitchen island 102 to the second side 204 of the kitchen island 102. In some embodiments, the sides 202, 204 and/or the back 206 may also have receiving spaces 210. Alternatively, the sides 202, 204 and/or the back 206 may be reserved for other features or kitchen amenities, such as drawers, cabinets, dishwashers, trash compactors, stoves, and the like. The receiving space 210 is configured to completely house the chair 104 so that the chair 104 is unnoticeable when housed inside the receiving space 210, as shown in FIG. 1.

As shown in FIGS. 3-5, the chair 104 comprises a seat 300; a leg 302 having a top end 304 attached to the seat 300 and a bottom end 306 that is placed on the floor to provide support for the seat 300; and a backing 308 attached to the seat 300 to further provide support for the seat 300 as well as serving as a back support. The backing 308 is configured to substantially cover the opening of the receiving space 210. As such, the backing 308 extends substantially from the bottom of the countertop 200 down to the floor and fits flush inside the opening of the receiving space 210. Therefore, when all chairs 104 are properly housed inside the receiving space 210, the receiving space 210 is completely covered up by the backing 308 and the backing 308 serves as a wall for the kitchen island 102, thereby hiding the chairs 104 from view. This allows the kitchen island 102 to be used as a table; however, when not in use as a table, the chairs 104 do not take up any extra space since they are hidden inside the kitchen island 102. The disappearance of the chairs 104 eliminates any cluttered appearance and provides an aesthetically pleasing sight.

The kitchen island with chairs associated therewith 100 further has a means for removing the chair 104 from the kitchen island 102. For example, in some embodiments, the backing 308 of the chair 104 has a handle 310 to facilitate pulling the chair 104 out of the kitchen island 102. The handle 310 may be the typical protruding member that can be grasped, such as a knob, a rod, a bar or the like. Alternatively, the handle 310 may be a recess or an orifice, as shown in FIG. 3, through which the user can insert his or her finger or hand to grasp the backing 308 from the inside to pull the chair 104 out from the receiving space. Utilizing the recessed design may further disguise the fact that there are chairs hidden inside the kitchen island. The recess may be a hole of any geometric shape or design. Alternatively, the recess may be a simple indentation providing an edge that can be pulled on to remove the chair 104 from the kitchen island 102.

In some embodiments, the backing 308 may not have any handles 310. Instead, the kitchen island 102 may automatically eject the chair 104 out from the kitchen island 102 by pushing a button on the chair 104. For example, the kitchen island 102 may be equipped with a spring-loaded ejector pressed up against the backing 308 when the chair 104 is housed inside the kitchen island 102. Pressing a button could release the ejector, thereby applying a force against the backing 308 and pushing the chair 104 out from under the kitchen island 102. The user could then grab the backing 308 and place the chair 104 in any desired position. Alternatively, the ejector may be triggered by pressing the chair inward to release a catch mechanism such as a detent so as to allow an outward force such as a spring to drive the chair 104 outward from the receiving space 210.

In some embodiments, the chair 104 further comprises a means for facilitating movement of the chair 104 or a mobility mechanism. In one embodiment, the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 of the chair 104 may have a spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 comprising a bearing 600. Preferably, the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602, is a ball-end spring-loaded bullet catch or the Bright Brass Bullet Catch manufactured by Stanley Hardware (CD5357) as shown in FIG. 6A.

Spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 allows the chair 104 to slide or glide over the floor surface when the chair 104 is unoccupied. Applying a load to the chair 104, such as a person sitting in the chair 104, would overcome the tension in the bearing spring causing the ball bearing 600 to move up inside a catch 604 as shown in FIG. 6C. This allows the legs of the chair 104 to touch the floor and substantially immobilize the chair 104.

The spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 comprises a catch 604 containing a ball bearing 600 and a spring mechanism (not shown). The spring mechanism applies a force on the ball bearing 600 forcing the ball bearing 600 to project out of the catch 604. The tension in the spring is great enough to prevent compression of the spring by the weight of the chair 104 itself. When a sufficient load is applied to the chair the spring compresses allowing the ball bearing 600 to be displaced inside the catch 604. This allows the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 to make contact with the floor. Contact of the leg 302 with the floor increases the friction between the chair 104 and the floor, thereby reducing mobility of the chair 104.

In addition to placing the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 on the bottom of the legs 302, the spring-loaded bearing mechanism can be placed on the bottom of the backing 308 to further increase the mobility of the chair 104. For example, as shown in FIG. 7, each leg may have a spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 and the backing may have a plurality of spring-loaded ball bearing mechanisms 602. For ease of reference, the mobility mechanism pertaining to the legs may be referred to herein as the “first mobility mechanism,” and the mobility mechanism pertaining to the backing may be referred to herein as the “second mobility mechanism.”

The number of spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 in conjunction with the tension of each spring should be sufficient enough to hold the weight of the chair 104 alone, but should be insufficient to withstand an additional load of at least approximately five or more pounds. Therefore, a weight of at least five pounds placed on the chair 104 should be sufficient to overcome the tension in the springs, displacing the ball bearings 600 up into the catch 604 and allowing the legs 302 to touch the floor. The number of spring-loaded bearings 602 or the tension of the springs may be adjusted to change the weight required to cause displacement of the ball bearings 600. A person of ordinary skill in mechanics or the spring art would know or be able to calculate, based on Hooke's law, the required number of spring-loaded ball bearings (having a known spring constant) to use in parallel to withstand a given weight of a chair 104 but succumb to any additional weight or force applied to the chair 104.

To install the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 a hole 608 may be drilled at the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 and/or backing 308 to house the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 such that the catch 604 substantially fits inside the hole 608 with a flanged portion secured against the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 to prevent the catch from being completely disposed inside the hole. This allows the bearing 600 to protrude beyond the face of the bottom end 306 of the leg 302, thereby providing some clearance between the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 and the floor. A bracket 606 with a hole slightly smaller than the flanged portion but larger than the protruding bearing 600 may be used to secure the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 to the bottom end 306 of the leg 302, as shown in FIG. 6A. To prevent the bracket 606 from scratching the floor, a cavity may be carved into the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 dimensioned substantially the same as the bracket so that the bracket is either flush with the bottom end 306 or completely housed inside the cavity so as not to protrude beyond the bottom end 306. The spring loaded bearing mechanism 602 may be installed in many other ways, including using adhesives, resistance or the like to keep the catch 604 inside the hole 608 without the use of brackets 606.

FIG. 6B shows a perspective view of a spring-loaded bearing mechanism assembled to the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 with the bearing 600 protruding beyond the bottom end 306 of the leg 302 and beyond the bracket 606. FIG. 6C shows the spring-loaded bearing mechanism 602 with the bearing 600 displaced inside the catch 604 so as not to protrude beyond the bottom end 306 of the leg 302.

Other means for facilitating movement of the chair include wheels 500 and glide pads 400 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. Preferably, the wheel 500 is a swiveling caster wheel. More preferably the caster wheel has a lock. This will allow the chair 104 to move forward and backward, to the sides, or around in circles. The caster wheel 500 may further comprise a lock so that when the chair 104 has been placed in its desired location it can be locked to prevent any injuries from a moving chair 104. Alternatively, the caster wheel 500 may be spring-loaded, similar to that of the spring-loaded bearing mechanism, such that applying weight onto the seat depresses the caster wheel 500 up into the leg 302 or up past the leg causing the leg 302 to contact the floor. The friction created by the floor and the leg would reduce movement of the chair particularly when someone is sitting on it. The spring should be able to resist up to approximately five pounds of weight above and beyond the weight of the chair. Therefore, an additional weight of approximately five pounds or more on the chair 104 would be required to cause the springs to compress.

In some embodiments, the means for facilitating movement of the chair 104 may be a glide pad 400, as shown in FIG. 4. The glide pad 400 may be attached to the bottom end 306 of the legs 302 or the bottom end of the backing 308 to allow the chair 104 to slide along the floor without damaging the floor. The glide pad 400 may be made of plastic, felt, cork, or any other material that would not damage a typical floor. In general, the type of glide pad 400 used may vary depending on the material with which the floor is made. The glide pad 400 may have a means for securely attaching the glide pad 400 to the chair 104, such as adhesives, screws, nails, or the like.

In addition, the means for facilitating movement of the chair 104 on the legs 302 do not have to be the same means on the backing 308. For example, in one embodiment, the legs 302 may have spring-loaded ball bearings 602 and the backing 308 may have a glide pad 400. In other embodiments, any combination of wheels 500, bearings 600, and glide pads 400 may be used. In addition, other modes of facilitating movement of a chair 104 across a surface may be used.

The chair 104 may further comprise a footrest 312 attached to the leg 302. Preferably, the chair 104 has two legs 302 at the front, opposite the backing 308. A footrest 312 may be attached in between the two legs 104. This provides a place for users to place their feet for added comfort. The footrest 312 can be any sturdy, elongated member such as a rod, a bar, or a step.

The chair may further comprise a storage compartment 320 below the seat 300. The storage compartment 320 may be a drawer, a shelf, a basket or the like to hold various accessories such as placemats, tablecloths, napkins, and other kitchen necessities or accessories. The storage compartment 320 may be configured so as not to obstruct or interfere with the utility of the footrest 312. For example, the storage compartment 320 may be elevated above well above the footrest 312 for accessibility. Alternatively, the storage compartment may extend from the backing towards the footrest 312 without contacting the footrest 312. By providing a small clearance space a user can still rest his or her feet on the footrest 312 without being obstructed by storage compartment 320.

In some embodiments, the storage compartment 320 may be removable from the chair. In other embodiments, the storage compartment 320 may further comprise a sliding mechanism to allow the storage compartment 320 to slide in and out from under the chair like a drawer.

Thus, the kitchen island with a chair associated therewith 100 provides a method of reducing clutter by providing a kitchen island 102 having a receiving space 210 and providing a chair 104 configured to be housed in the receiving space 210. In use, the user slides the chair 104 out of the receiving space 210 when ready for use and slides the chair 104 back into the receiving space 210 when the chair 104 is not in use. Since the chair 104 is hidden inside the kitchen island 102 and the backing 308 substantially fits inside the opening to the receiving space 210, the cluttered appearance is avoided. In addition, using spring-loaded wheels 500 or bearings 600 allows the user to secure, immobilize or fix the chair 104 in place by sitting on the chair 104.

The foregoing description of the preferred embodiment of the invention has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many modifications and variations are possible in light of the above teaching. For instance, instead of or in addition to the receiving spaces 210 for the chairs 104, receiving spaces for other amenities such as laundry baskets, trash cans, shelves, storage boxes, and the like may be similarly created and used with the kitchen island in keeping with the scope of the present invention. It is intended that the scope of the invention not be limited by this detailed description, but by the claims and the equivalents to the claims appended hereto.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICABILITY

This invention may be industrially applied to the development, manufacture, and use of kitchen islands configured to house chairs so as to reduce a cluttered appearance. The kitchen island comprises a receiving space large enough to contain a chair. The chair comprises a backing configured to fit the receiving space such that when the chair is placed inside the kitchen island the backing functions as a wall for the kitchen island thereby hiding the chairs inside the kitchen island.