Jamie Durie makes the move from judge to host in the new season of House Rules.
Jamie Durie makes the move from judge to host in the new season of House Rules. Channel 7

Jamie Durie’s blast from the past

JAMIE Durie found himself in very familiar territory when he arrived on the Gold Coast for House Rules: High Stakes.

Seven's reality reno show is mixing things up this year, challenging eight teams to transform the penthouse of Surfers Paradise's iconic circular high-rise Focus.

"My grandfather was the caretaker for Focus, so when I was seven years old, I used to sit in the basement with him and carve wood while my grandfather was working," Durie says.

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"I remember it in its hey day. I totally freaked out (when I found out we were filming there). "I know this building so well; the penthouse used to be absolutely mind-blowing - the best on the Gold Coast. But in the past 30 years it's fallen into disrepair."

The property throws up an array of unique challenges for this year's crop of renovators, from curved walls and unusual angles to an indoor pool 32 storeys up.

House Rules: High Stakes teams with hosts Jamie Durie and Abbey Way on the rooftop of the Focus building in Surfers Paradise. Supplied by Channel 7.
House Rules: High Stakes teams with hosts Jamie Durie and Abbey Way on the rooftop of the Focus building in Surfers Paradise. Supplied by Channel 7.

On top of that, the penthouse renovations will determine which six teams will get to progress to the next stage of the competition where their own homes will get a much-needed makeover.

"We almost had a few teams walk out; it was pretty dramatic," Durie says of when he broke the news of the double elimination to the teams.

"That was almost a deal breaker for a lot of them. We have the ability to throw curveballs into this show at any time and the contestants now know that. What's come out of this is they all have to fight for their position on the show.

"It's a small price to pay when you are looking at your entire house getting renovated. If it was my dad, he'd say 'toughen up princess'."

Durie says his transition from House Rules judge to co-host, alongside Abbey Way, has been a lesson in patience.

House Rules: High Stakes hosts Jamie Durie and Abbey Way. Supplied by Channel 7.
House Rules: High Stakes hosts Jamie Durie and Abbey Way. Supplied by Channel 7.

"Let's just say I've had to bite my tongue more times than I would like," he says.

"I like to speak my mind, but I have to remain neutral. I've had to give out a few hugs - obviously we were not mid-coronavirus when we were filming - and there was a lot of hand holding. It's a big thing for anyone to leave their families for several months and then have to go back to their kids and say 'We didn't make it'. No one likes to admit defeat."

Durie takes pride in the show function as a source of practical and cost-effective design ideas.

"The teams have been a lot more environmentally conscious which is very cool. Sustainable design is something I think should be on everyone's lips at the moment," he says.

"Being creative and innovative with everyday products means it becomes accessible design.

"Good design should be free. It's the wealth of ideas that come out of this show that's the real nugget of gold."

House Rules: High Stakes premieres Monday at 7pm on Seven.


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