What do you call it?

I have seen something in some homes that I would like to put into my home, but I don't know what they are called, so finding out information about them is all but impossible.
I have mostly seen them in stairwells. They are usually about 3 feet high by 2 feet wide, usually oval and are mounted into the wall (recessed). They are meant to hold flowers, or decorative pieces such as statues.
If anybody has any idea what I am talking about, can you let me know what they are called (how to describe them better)... or even better would be if you know some online resources where I can find information about buying / installing them.
Sorry about the vague description.
Thanks everyone
Cory
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LUE42 wrote:

They are called niches or nooks. I believe there is another name for them, but I can't recall it right now. They are not really something that would be bought and installed. They are more built on site and trimmed out.
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Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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I saw them at the recent HomeBuilders convention in Las Vegas. They are available now in forms that are made out of sheet metal that is notched, and fits to the drywall like corner bead, but with longer legs. Cut the rough opening in for the insert to go into. Nail some backing in, put in the insert, and mud over the exposed parts. Most of the ones I saw were for arched doorways, but they had them in niches, too. Don't recall the manufacturer's name, but they were in the North hall.
Steve
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Thanks Robert... I did a search for 'niches' and it came up with exactly what I am looking for.
Cory

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Sounds to me you're just looking for a niche. As long as it's on an interior wall, it's built like a built-in medicine cabinet - between the studs. Let your imagination run amok. I've seen some beautiful ones and some real hacks. Buying or making the trim surround is the major difficulty with them.

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This is what I heard as what it called and why it is put in stairwells.
Traditionally it was made out of plaster and called a coffin corner. Before funeral homes, viewings were held in the deceased family's home. The coffin corner allowed you to carry the coffin up and down the steps.
As for where to get them now. Today they are made out of urethane foam and are in the architectural millwork of your home center. If they don't have them in stock, there should be some way to order them.
I also found this site.
http://www.architecturalspecialties.com/products/niches/default.asp

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