My design-build firm specializes in bathroom remodels, and I do a lot of custom tile showers. One job presented me with a new challenge: The homeowners wanted shower niches with curved backs, which they believed would look more interesting and be easier to clean than squared compartments. Since I couldn’t find any prefab niches with rounded backs, I decided to make my own — three in all (1). I used fiberglass and MDO (medium density overlay) and drew on a technique I had learned working in a boat shop years ago.

First I sized each rough form so that the mosaic tile layout would fit without any cutting (2). I made the forms from 1/2-inch MDO, kerfing the backs so that they’d bend smoothly around the top and bottom pieces (3). Waterproof wood glue and narrow-crown staples hold the assemblies together.

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