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EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Durie shares how he is settling down ahead of turning 50 and being a proud dad to daughter, Taylor

''I was feeling homesick.''

By Thomas Mitchell
On the brink of turning 50, House Rules: High Stakes' host Jamie Durie is finally feeling settled. While it might feel like he's been around forever, it's still hard to believe Jamie Durie is about to turn 50.
Put it down to good genes (and a whole lot of yoga), but the seemingly ageless TV host hits the milestone in June.
Perhaps his secret to staying young is staying busy.
After exploding onto the scene in the early noughties with Backyard Blitz, Jamie went on to conquer the United States with the help of Oprah Winfrey. Since then, he's divided his time between Los Angeles and Australia, co-raising his daughter and building an outdoor-design empire.
But now, the time is right to return home permanently. Having joined House Rules last year as a judge, Jamie is back once more, this time stepping into the hosting role left vacant by Johanna Griggs.
Ahead of his major milestone, TV WEEK caught up with Jamie to talk family, fatherhood – and why the time felt right to put down some roots.
Jamie is settling down, down under. Image: Instagram / @jamiedurie
You returned home for House Rules. How long has it been since you were properly based back in Australia?
I've been sharing my time between the US and Australia for about a decade – I've been lucky to have a career in both countries. But for me now, my career and focus are in Australia, and House Rules allowed me to come home and spend my time here.
How do you feel about stepping into Joh Griggs' mighty shoes?
Joh has done an incredible job building this House Rules brand for Channel Seven. She's developed a loyal audience, so I was nervous to follow in her footsteps, but excited too.
Did it feel like the right time to come home?
It felt like the perfect time. It was all quite serendipitous. I think I did 18 shows in the US – all of them design shows. I initially went over with Oprah, spent a fantastic time with her and the team, then managed to carve out my own career there. But I got a bit homesick; I feel like at this stage of life I want to be home more – be around my family and friends.
Jamie and daughter, Taylor in September, 2019. Image: Instagram / @jamiedurie
Your daughter, Taylor, is still in LA. Was that hardest part about setting up back in Australia?
It was, although she comes out here often. But Taylor's career in commercial floral design is flourishing, and she's doing a great job there.
Taylor is taking after you! Any plans to work together some day?
She'll probably be bumping me out of jobs soon! We've worked together a bunch of times. She did all the designs for my Pottery Barn launch in New York, and we teamed up again for another launch. I was very proud of her to be able to pull that off.
What's it like being a parent to an adult – do you feel more like friends?
I had Taylor when I was in my early 20s, so I was a young father. I was naive when she came along, so in a way, we grew up together. We've always been great mates – that's the dynamic between us and it's still the same today. I'm just so proud of the woman she's become, and to see how she operates in work is amazing.
WATCH: Jamie talks to House & Garden about his home.
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You turn 50 in June. It's always seen as a significant birthday. How do you feel about that milestone?
To be honest, I'm excited. I'm so grateful for where my life is at, to still be on primetime TV at this age. I'm grateful that I've been on air for 23 years. Hitting this age, you do tend to reflect. I feel privileged that I've been able to change some people's lives with the work I've done.
You retired from male dance troupe ManPower at 26 to study landscape design. Can you still connect with that young man who was on the verge of this whole other career?
Oh, I think there's always going to be a showman in me – that was obvious in Manpower. Now, I just scratch that itch differently. But I don't think that Jamie ever had an idea of the scope of what was going to be involved, or the experiences that lay ahead.
You mentioned linking up with Oprah Winfrey in 2007. What do you recall about that time?
It was a total life-changer. I recall getting over there and being blown away by the budgets Oprah worked with. I flew over all my staff from Australia to work on one makeover; it was crazy. We did a Chicago streetscape, and on one building we made over everyone's balcony – it was a massive job, and Oprah paid for it all.
Jamie appeared on Oprah back in 2007. Image: Supplied
Your House Rules colleague Kyly Clarke is a relative newcomer to the reality TV industry. How has she handled the format?
I'm so impressed with Kyly – she's articulate, beautiful, talented, smart and knows her stuff when it comes to design. It's nice to have a feminine touch. It's great to have her come in after losing Wendy [Moore]. She has a sophisticated eye and is very trend-focused.
Moving home gives you more stability, especially when it comes to dating and relationships. Is that an area of life you're feeling settled in?
I'm used to being asked, but I don't talk about my relationships. My private life is the only bit of privacy I get. My most important thing is to continue to deliver the viewers fresh ideas and fresh content – that's my main focus now.
Do you still have any items on your career to-do list you'd like to tick off?
If my career has taught me anything, it's that you can't predict what comes along. I'm just grateful to be back in Australia with House Rules. I'm feeling more centred than I have in a long time and I think much of that has to do with being on home soil.

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