Landscape and furniture designer Jamie Durie, 48, is part of the new-look judging panel on House Rules (airs Sun. at 7pm and Mon. to Wed. at 7.30pm; Channel Seven).
From Backyard Blitz to The Living Room, you’ve been involved with a number of successful lifestyle and reality shows over the years. Why did you want to be part of House Rules?
I’ve been designing furniture for 15 years, and for me this was a fantastic way to share some of my knowledge of the world of interiors and furniture and colour and texture and engineering and innovation and all those things it takes to put a beautiful home together. My business started in landscape architecture and moved into interior and furniture design. The public probably don’t know so much about that – it’s my little secret and now I can share it with everyone.
What sort of judge are you?
I’m definitely not harsh. In fact, I was told I was being too kind during the first session and had to toughen up a little bit.
What has been the best part of doing the show?
I’ve been doing lots of travel all over Australia and I love that about the show – it’s so inclusive of all the states and gives everyone an equal opportunity to come away with their house fully renovated and take away the prize. It’s a really fair show and you get so many ideas out of every episode.
You are based back in Australia after many years in the US. Do you miss America?
I’ve still got a lot of mates there and they visit from time to time. Those friendships will never go. In all the time I was working there, I always remained an Australian resident – I was just doing a lot of work there and all over the place.
Do you have a career highlight?
Definitely my time with Oprah Winfrey. I just absolutely loved and have cherished my time working with her.
Do you keep in touch still?
From time to time the team and I communicate but we are all busy doing our own thing these days. I think she’s enjoying a quieter life and not working so hard. She deserved a break, although I did hear something about her popping up in politics at some stage, which would be a great move. She would be a fabulous leader for the US.
How are you feeling about turning 50 next year?
Fine. I’ve never felt younger, to be honest. Lots of yoga, good food and laughs.
Are you conscious of keeping in shape for TV?
Totally. In fact I’m off to my Spin class in about 15 minutes. I went to my doctor for my check-up and he said, “You know, Jamie, you’ve got the heart of a 25-year-old.”