Title:
No-tools interchangeable drawer front system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A drawer front system including an interchangeable front panel adapted to be detachably connected to the face of a drawer without requiring special skill or the use of tools. The interchangeable front panel is ideally selected from a variety of front panels having different aesthetics so that the ornamental appearance of the drawer front can be easily changed to correspond with a change in mood, home or office relocation, or living/working arrangement of a user. A pair of panel mounts (e.g., rails) project outwardly from the face of the drawer. A corresponding pair of mounting recesses (e.g., channels) are formed in the interchangeable front panel to slidably receive respective ones of the panel mounts, whereby the detachable front panel and the drawer face are disposed in face-to-face alignment with the front panel visible to passersby. A handle to which a pulling or pushing force is applied to open or close the drawer has a pair of hollow threaded posts that are mated to removable screw-threaded fasteners through the opposing detachable front panel and the face of the drawer so that the front panel and the drawer face are detachably connected together.



Inventors:
Hazzard, Thomas B. (Ladera Ranch, CA, US)
Krause, Steven (Irvine, CA, US)
Berlin, Kurt (Villa Park, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/220330
Publication Date:
06/18/2009
Filing Date:
07/24/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B88/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
TEFERA, HIWOT E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Morland C. Fischer (Irvine, CA, US)
Claims:
1. An interchangeable drawer front system comprising: a drawer having an interior at which articles are to be placed, said drawer having a pair of sides and a face extending between said pair of sides; a front panel to be detachably connected to the face of said drawer so as to be visible to passersby; and a first connector carried by said drawer face and a second connector carried by said front panel, said front panel and said drawer face lying in opposing face-to-face alignment with one another such that said first and second connectors are moved into removable mating engagement with one another, whereby said front panel is detachably connected to said drawer face.

2. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 1, wherein said first connector projects outwardly from one of said drawer face and said front panel and said second connector is a recess formed in the other one of said drawer face and said front panel, said first connector being removably received within said second connector, whereby said front panel is detachably connected to said drawer face.

3. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 1, wherein said first connector includes a rail projecting outwardly from one of said drawer face and said front panel, and said second connector includes a channel formed in the other one of said drawer face and said front panel, said rail being slidably and removably received within said channel, whereby said front panel is detachably connected to said drawer face.

4. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 1, further comprising a removable third connector extending through each of said front panel and said drawer face in said opposing face-to-face alignment with one another.

5. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 4, wherein said removable third connector includes a handle and at least one fastener, said handle positioned at said front panel at which to receive a pulling or pushing force to control access to the interior of said drawer, and said one fastener being removably attached to said handle by way of said drawer face and said front panel.

6. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 5, wherein the handle of said third connector includes at least one hollow threaded post extending through said front panel and said drawer face in said opposing face-to-face alignment, and the one fastener of said third connector having a threaded portion removably received within and mated to the hollow threaded post of said handle, whereby said one fastener is removably attached to said handle.

7. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 6, wherein said third connector also includes a handle support insert having at least one opening formed therein and said front panel has a hole formed therein, said handle support insert being located within the hole in said front panel and the one hollow threaded post of said handle being positioned through the one opening in said handle support insert at which to removably receive the threaded portion of said one fastener.

8. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 7, wherein said one fastener is a screw having a screw head to which a rotational force is applied for causing said screw to move into removable receipt by the one hollow threaded post of said handle positioned through the one opening of said handle support insert located within the hole in said front panel.

9. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 8, wherein the head of said screw is located at the interior of said drawer so as to lie out of sight to passersby.

10. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 1, wherein the face of said drawer is fixedly connected between the pair of sides thereof.

11. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 1, wherein the face of said drawer is pivotally connected to one of said pair of sides thereof, whereby said face is rotatable relative to said pair of sides.

12. An interchangeable drawer front system comprising: a drawer having an interior at which articles are to be placed, said drawer having a pair of sides and a face extending between said pair of sides; a front panel to be detachably connected to and lie in opposing face-to-face alignment with the face of said drawer so as to be visible to passersby; and a connector extending through each of said front panel and said drawer face in said opposing face-to-face alignment, said connector including a handle and at least one fastener, said handle positioned at said front panel at which to receive a pulling or pushing force to control access to the interior of said drawer, and said one fastener removably attached to said handle by way of said drawer face and said front panel, whereby said front panel is detachably connected to said drawer face.

13. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 12, wherein the handle of said connector includes at least one hollow threaded post extending through said front panel and said drawer face in said opposing face-to-face alignment, said one fastener having a threaded portion removably received in and mated to the hollow threaded post of said handle, whereby said one fastener is removably attached to said handle.

14. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 13, wherein said connector also includes a handle support insert having at least one opening formed therein and said front panel had a hole formed therein, said handle support insert being located within the hole in said front panel and the one hollow threaded post of said handle being positioned through the one opening in said handle support insert at which to removably receive the threaded portion of said one fastener.

15. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 14, wherein said one fastener is a screw having a screw head to which a rotational force is applied for causing said screw to move into removable receipt by the one hollow threaded post of said handle positioned through the one opening of said handle support insert located within the hole in said front panel, the head of said screw being located at the interior of said drawer so as to lie out of sight to passersby.

16. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 12, further comprising a second connector carried by said drawer face and a third connector carried by said front panel, said front panel and said drawer face lying in said opposing face-to-face alignment such that said second and third connectors are moved into removable mating engagement with one another.

17. The interchangeable drawer front system recited in claim 16, wherein said second connector is a rail projecting outwardly from one of said drawer face and said front panel and said third connector is a channel formed in the other one of said drawer face and said front panel, said rail being slidably and removably received within said channel, whereby said second and third connectors are moved into said mating engagement with one another.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to Provisional Patent Application No. 61/007,846 filed Dec. 17, 2007.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to a drawer front system by which an interchangeable front panel having any one of a variety of different ornamental appearances can be detachably connected to the face of a drawer without requiring special skill or the use of tools so as to be able to suit the changing moods or decorating requirements of a user.

2. Background Art

Drawers have long been used to store clothing, business files, house wares, and the like. A user purchases a desk or a cabinet surrounding a set of drawers and having an appearance that is compatible with the furniture and environment of a room in a home or office. From time to time, the user may relocate to a new home or office. On other occasions, the user's mood or living/working arrangements may change. In these situations, the front of the user's drawers may no longer be aesthetically pleasing or match the environment and decorating motif of the user's new home or office. Consequently, the user may decide to dispose of a fully-functional desk or set of drawers simply because the ornamental appearance thereof is no longer suitable under the current conditions.

Therefore, it would be desirable to be able to quickly and easily change the ornamental appearance of the front of a single drawer or a set of drawers so as to be compatible with the mood swings, relocations, and living/working arrangements of a user so that it will not be necessary to scrap the original drawers or purchase a new set having different aesthetics.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In general terms, an interchangeable drawer front system is disclosed which enables the front of a single drawer or a set of drawers to be quickly and easily changed without requiring special skill or the use of tools so that the ornamental appearance of the drawer fronts can be changed to correspond with a change in mood, home or office relocation, or living/working arrangements of a user. Each drawer includes a generally-rectangular frame having a face and an interchangeable front panel that is detachably connected to the face. The interchangeable front panel is preferably one which can be selected from a number of different front panels having a variety of different aesthetics.

A pair of panel mounts (e.g., elongated rails) project outwardly from the face of the drawer. A corresponding pair of mounting recesses (e.g., elongated channels) are formed in the interchangeable front panel. A pair of handle attachment holes are formed through the drawer face. A handle support hole is formed in the interchangeable front panel. The handle support hole is sized for receipt of a handle support insert having a pair of fastener holes formed therein.

The interchangeable front panel is detachably connected to the face of the drawer by first moving the front panel into face-to-face alignment with the drawer face such that the panel mounts from the face are slidably received by respective mounting recesses of the front panel. The handle support insert is then positioned in the handle support hole of the interchangeable front panel, whereby the fastener holes in the insert are axially aligned with the handle attachment holes in the drawer face. A handle to which a pulling or pushing force is applied to open or close the drawer includes a pair of rearwardly projecting hollow threaded posts. The pair of handle posts are inserted through the axially-aligned fastener holes in the handle support insert and the handle attachment holes in the drawer face. Next, a pair of threaded fasteners are moved from behind the drawer face into mating engagement with the pair of hollow threaded handle posts which project from the handle. Accordingly, the handle is coupled to the handle support insert, and the interchangeable front panel is detachably connected to the face of the drawer to change the ornamental appearance thereof. The interchangeable front panel is adapted to be detachably connected to the face of a pull-out drawer or a drawer having a face which rotates between open and closed positions.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 shows a cabinet enclosing a vertical stack of drawers, each drawer having an interchangeable drawer front in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 2 shows a pull-out drawer from the stack of drawers of FIG. 1 having an interchangeable drawer front according to a first preferred embodiment;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view showing a drawer front system for the pull-out drawer of FIG. 2, whereby the interchangeable front is detachably connected to the face of the drawer;

FIG. 4 shows the relatively wide heads of threaded fasteners that are used to detachably connect the interchangeable front to the face of the drawer of FIG. 2;

FIG. 5 is a cross section taken along lines 5-5 of FIG. 2 showing the interchangeable front detachably connected to the face of the drawer of FIG. 2; and

FIG. 6 shows an interchangeable drawer front according to an alternate preferred embodiment to be detachably connected to a rotatable face of a different drawer from the stack of drawers of FIG. 1.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 of the drawings illustrates a cabinet 1 surrounding a vertical stack of drawers 3-1, 3-2, etc. to which the no-tools interchangeable drawer front system of this invention is applicable. For purposes of illustration, the cabinet 1 shown in FIG. 1 encloses at least one pull-out drawer 3-1 and at least one drawer 3-2 having a rotatable door front 40. However, it should be understood that this invention is not limited to a vertical stack of drawers 3-1, 3-2, etc. or to the cabinet shown in FIG. 1. That is to say, the soon-to-be-described advantages are applicable to a single drawer or a set of drawers whether stacked vertically or horizontally. Moreover, rather than the cabinet 1 shown in FIG. 1, the pull-out drawers 3-1, 3-2, etc. may be enclosed individually or in combination by a desk, a shelf, or a similar article of furniture.

Turning now to FIG. 2 of the drawings, a single pull-out drawer 3-1 from the cabinet 1 of FIG. 1 is shown including a rectangular frame 5 having optional guide rails 7 (only which being visible) at opposite side thereof and a flat face 9. In some situations, it may be desirable to be able to quickly and easily change the ornamental appearance of the face 9 of the drawer 3 depending upon the mood of the user, the location of the drawer 3-1, or the living/working arrangements of the user.

To accomplish the foregoing, and referring concurrently to FIGS. 2-5 of the drawings, a drawer front system is disclosed including an interchangeable front panel 10 that is adapted to be detachably connected to the drawer face 9. The interchangeable front panel 10 is preferably selected from any one of a number of different front panels having a variety of different colors, textures, materials, and the like to provide an aesthetically-pleasing appearance which will enhance the look of the drawer 3-1 and/or the article of furniture in which the drawer is enclosed so as to be compatible with the environment in which the drawer 3-1 is located. By virtue of having a number of interchangeable front panels having a variety of different aesthetically-pleasing appearances from which to choose, the look of the drawer 3-1 visible to passersby and/or its article of furniture can be changed to suit the changing decorating requirements of the user.

What is even more, the interchangeable front panel 10 herein described can be connected to or removed from the face 9 of drawer 3-1 without requiring special skill and without using tools. In particular, the frame 5 of drawer 3-1 is constructed so that one or more panel mounts 12 project outwardly from the face 9 thereof. In the present example, the panel mounts 12 are preferably a pair of elongated, parallel-aligned rails that run vertically adjacent opposite sides of the drawer face 9 (best shown in FIG. 3). However, the number and size of the panel mounts 12 may vary with the size and weight of the interchangeable front panel 10.

A corresponding number of elongated mounting recesses (e.g., channels) 14 are formed (e.g., milled) partially through the rear of the interchangeable front panel 10. In the present example, where two panel mounts 12 run vertically along the face 9 of the drawer 3-1, two mounting recesses 14 run vertically adjacent opposite sides of the front panel 10 (also best shown in FIG. 3). The mounting recesses 14 are sized and shaped so as to slidably receive therewithin respective ones of the panel mounts 12.

A generally centered handle support hole 18 extends through the interchangeable front panel 10. The handle support hole 18 is sized and shaped to accommodate a handle support insert 20. In the embodiment of FIG. 3, the handle support insert 20 has a generally disk-like configuration. A pair of fastener holes 22 are formed through the handle support insert 20. A corresponding pair of handle attachment holes 24 is formed through the face 9 of drawer 3.

In order to complete the interchangeable drawer front system assembly (best shown in FIG. 5), a suitably stylized handle 26 is coupled to the handle support insert 20 that is received by the support hole 18 of front panel 10 so that a pulling or pushing force applied to handle 26 will be transmitted to the face panel 10 so as to cause the drawer 3-1 to slide outwardly from or into its article of furniture (e.g., the cabinet 1 shown in FIG. 1). The handle 26 has a pair of hollow, screw-threaded cylindrical posts 28 projecting rearwardly therefrom.

When it is desirable to provide the drawer 3-1 with a decorative front having the aesthetics required for a special occasion, mood, or room environment, the user selects the particular front panel 10 which satisfies his needs. The front panel 10 is then moved downwardly along the face 9 of drawer 3-1 so that the panel mounts (i.e., rails) 12 which run vertically along the face 9 are received in and ride through respective mounting recesses (i.e., channels) 14 that run vertically along the opposing front panel 10. Once the panel mounts 12 slide to the ends of mounting recesses 14, the interchangeable front panel 10 will be positioned in predetermined face-to-face alignment with the face 9 of drawer 3-1. However, the panel mounts 12 are hidden from sight within the recesses 14 at the rear of front panel 10.

In the aforementioned predetermined face-to-face alignment, the handle support insert 20 is located within the handle support hole 18 in the interchangeable front panel 10. The handle attachment holes 24 through the face 9 of drawer 3-1 are automatically axially aligned with the fastener holes 22 through the handle support insert 20. The drawer handle 26 is now coupled to the handle support insert 20 such that the hollow threaded posts 28 of handle 26 extend through the axially-aligned fastener holes 22 and handle attachment holes 24.

To complete the decorative drawer assembly and detachably connect the interchangeable front panel 10 to the face 9 of the drawer frame 5, a pair of threaded fasteners (e.g., screws) 30 having wide heads 32 are positioned inside the frame 5 at the rear of face 9. The threaded fasteners 30 are rotated at their heads 32 so as be advanced linearly and into mating engagement with respective threaded posts 28 that are received within the handle attachment holes 24 through the drawer face 9. Thus, and as is best shown in FIG. 4, the heads 32 of fastener 30 will remain out of sight and accessible to the user at the rear of face 9. With the interchangeable front panel 10 held in place in front of the drawer face 9, the outside of the drawer 3-1 which is visible to the user and passersby will take on the ornamental appearance of the interchangeable front panel 10.

Should the user's aesthetic requirements change, the threaded fasteners 30 are rotated out of engagement with the threaded posts 28 of drawer handle 26. The handle 26 can then be separated from handle support insert 20, whereby the insert 20 is removed from the handle support hole 18. The interchangeable front panel 10 is now free to be removed from the drawer face 9 by simply lifting the panel upwardly relative to the drawer frame 5 so that the panel mounts 12 slide out of the mounting recesses 14. A different interchangeable front panel having different aesthetics may now be selected by the user and detachably connected to the frame 5 of drawer 3-1 without the use of tools in the manner described above.

The interchangeable drawer front system described while referring to FIGS. 1-5 makes reference to an interchangeable front panel 10 that is detachably connected to the face 9 of a pull-out drawer 3-1 of the kind that moves in and out of an associated article of furniture, such as the cabinet 1 shown in FIG. 1. However, with some articles of furniture such as, for example, a bookstand, television stand, shelf, and the like, a stationary drawer or shelf is covered by a rotatable face that is adapted to rotate between closed and open positions. To this end, and referring to an alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings, an interchangeable drawer front system is now disclosed wherein an interchangeable front panel 40 is detachably connected without the use of tools to a rotatable drawer face 42 that is associated with the drawer 3-2 of the cabinet 1 of FIG. 1. The face 42 includes upper and lower pins 44 at one side thereof that are pivotally coupled to the cabinet 1 to create a pivot axis around which the face 42 and the front panel 40 connected thereto can rotate between the closed and open positions.

The rotatable face 42 of drawer 3-2 has a pair of elongated, parallel-aligned panel mounts (e.g., rails) 46 running horizontally adjacent the top and bottom thereof. A pair of handle attachment holes 48 are formed through the face 42. In the case of the rotatable face and front panel assembly of FIG. 6, the handle support holes 48 are located adjacent a side of the front panel 42 opposite the side at which the pivot pins 44 are located. The interchangeable front panel 40 which, like the earlier-disclosed front panel 10, may have any one of a variety of ornamental appearances, includes a corresponding pair of elongated, parallel-aligned mounting recesses (e.g., channels) 50 formed in the rear thereof. When the interchangeable front panel 40 is moved laterally towards the drawer face 42, the mounting recesses 50 of the front panel 40 are positioned so as to slidably receive therewithin respective ones of the panel mounts 46 of the drawer face 42, whereby the interchangeable front panel 40 is disposed in face-to-face alignment with face 42. A handle support hole 52 is formed through the interchangeable front panel 40 so as to lie opposite the handle support holes 48 through drawer face 42.

Like that described while referring to FIG. 3, the drawer front system of FIG. 6 includes a handle support insert 20 for receipt within the handle support hole 52 of front panel 40 and a handle 26 having hollow, threaded posts 28 projecting rearwardly therefrom. Identical reference numerals have been used to identify identical elements shown in both FIGS. 3 and 6. In this same regard, the handle support insert 20 includes fastener holes 22 to be axially aligned with the handle attachment holes 48 in the drawer face 42. Likewise, a pair of threaded fasteners 30 having relatively wide heads 32 to which a rotational force is applied are moved into mating engagement with the threaded posts 28 of the handle 26 via the axially-aligned handle attachment holes 48 and fastener holes 22.

It may be appreciated that the handle 26 is coupled to the handle support insert 20 and the interchangeable front panel 40 is detachably connected to the drawer face 42 in a manner which is identical to that described while referring to FIGS. 2-5. Thus, the heads 32 of fasteners 30 will remain out of sight and accessible to the user at the rear of the drawer face 42. With the interchangeable front panel 40 held in place in front of the drawer face 42, the outside of the drawer 3-2 (of FIG. 1) that is visible to the user and passersby will take on the ornamental appearance of the front panel 40 so as to be capable of matching the mood swings and/or aesthetic requirements of the user.