VANCOUVER, B.C. — If necessity is the mother of invention — and innovation — then one inventor here has come up with what could become the next big thing in occasional table development.

Over the past two years, Reymond Janssen has developed a cocktail table that not only doubles as a dining table, but also as a desk thanks to its integrated seating.

He got the idea for the product while living with his daughter in a small apartment. Due to the limited space, he decided to develop a multi-functional piece that could be used as more than just a cocktail table.

Thus, he created a lift-top table with built-in bench seat. Slow-close hydraulic hinges allow the top to open and close safely and remain in position as a dining table or work surface.

Other lift-top cocktails by comparison, must be positioned close to a sofa or sectional. With the built-in bench seating, this unit does not need to be used with a sofa or sectional.  Instead it can stand on its own in the center of a room and be used as a standalone desk, dining or drafting table.

Janssen has already received a provisional utility patent, which means the product is patent-pending. The full patent application, being processed now, is due in late July.

The patent would specifically cover the integration of the bench as part of the table construction, which combined with the lift top, makes it multifunctional.

“It doesn’t matter what the table looks like aesthetically, as long as there is bench seating and open access on the sides,” Janssen said.  “Our main patent point is that it has a lift-top and seating that is revealed or shows itself when the table is lifted or is not visible when the table is closed. That is the only thing we had to have.

“It is pretty basic, but it is functional,” he added, noting that while he has not worked in the furniture business previously, he is an electronics instrumentation technician by trade. Growing up, he also worked alongside his grandfather and father in their woodworking/hobby shop. His grandfather helped him with the prototype.

He noted that the table, currently built with mahogany and cedar solids, can also be built with various materials and in various design footprints and dimensions, all of which would be covered by the utility patent.

“We did not stipulate any other dimensions for the size and shape of the table,” he noted. “We can modify it to be a student desk and end table. It is almost like a three-piece set you could put together with additional seating as well.”

Janssen has hired an attorney to work on the licensing aspect, which will potentially allow other manufacturers to use the item in their lines under a licensing arrangement.

“I would like to see this in as many homes as possible,” he said. “I know from experience how helpful it is to be able to pull it up and have dinner. Houses are getting smaller and smaller, and I see the need for this getting bigger and bigger.”

More information is available on Janssen’s website or by calling (236) 489-0024.

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