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Repoussoir is a visual art technique that involves positioning elements in the foreground, middle ground and background in order to frame the image and draw the viewer in. In this Victorian terraced house, the London architecture studio ConForm employs a similar effect to achieve a sense of spatial and visual coherence in an architectural reconfiguration. Welcome to the Repoussoir project, which uses Dinesen Douglas planks to underscore the effect.


Private residence – London, UK

Architect: ConForm

Photographer: Simone Bossi


Douglas Classic

Thickness: 28 mm. Width: 300 mm. Random lengths: 2–5 m

Finish: Lye and White Soap 

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Repoussoir is the transformation of a Victorian terraced house in London, designed and executed by ConForm. With a material palette of brick, steel and Dinesen Douglas wood, the design enhances the lines of the existing building and connects interior and exterior, both visually and structurally.

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The perpendicular steel members that form the rear and side extensions of the building create a framework that connects indoor and outdoor spaces. Their dark colour frames the uninterrupted view of the outside in an open structure that maximises the influx of light. 

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‘The nature of these Victorian terraced homes is that they are quite narrow, and during the design process, the approach was to emphasise the front-to-back scale of the property, visually connecting across the spaces, both internally and externally. We chose Dinesen Douglas fir planks for the flooring material as the long floor planks and strong horizontal lines of the joints draw the eye right across the property to the rear external amenity space. The texture and hue of the Douglas fir also balanced perfectly with the darker texture of the exposed brickwork wall and the flatness of the anthracite steel frames.’

- Eoin O’Leary, Partner at ConForm Architects

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The open-plan design creates an inviting spatial interior and exterior flow, a feeling that is underscored by the impressive linear Dinesen floor planks that extend through the building from front to back. Further adding to the coherent design experience, the brick walls and ceilings draw facade references into the interior. 

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