Life as a traveller has lost some of its sparkle as love and family pull in the other direction, writes Debbie Schipp.
EASTER WITH THE AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY Sunday, 6.30pm, Nine
JAMIE Durie’s return to Australian television is a labour of love – in more ways than one.
The 42-year-old landscaper, horti-culturalist and presenter has teamed up with Channel 9 and his fiancee, Queenslander Lisa Christie, to overhaul a community centre as part of Nine’s Easter With the Australian Women’s Weekly special.
It’s a return to the familiar for the former Backyard Blitz host, who ditched a stint in Manpower to study landscaping and horticulture in his 20s, and established himself as a TV presenter before moving to Los Angeles.
And it’s a sign that he’s home to stay.
‘‘I have been bouncing back and forwards (between Australia and LA) but I think I have finally landed,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m calling Australia home again, absolutely, and it feels really nice.’’
Manly-boy Durie and interior designer Christie, 33, met while filming the ill-fated reality interior design series Top Design, in 2011.
She was one of the contestants, and Durie was host and main judge. But love didn’t blossom until well after filming had wrapped.
‘‘It wasn’t until well after the show, when we ended up working on Hayman Island, which I redesigned after Cyclone Yasi, and Lisa came to do work experience with my design firm that the sparks flew,’’ Durie says.
The pair were engaged at the start of this year, and have set up a love nest on the Northern Beaches, where Durie’s recently finished dream house has become a dream home for the couple, Christie’s son, Brayden, 8, and daughter Charlotte, 5, and Durie’s beloved dog, Rhodesian ridgeback Bodhi.
Durie’s daughter, Taylor, 18, remains in the US where she’s hoping to study in New York.
For the Easter special, Christie makes over the interior of the Croyden community centre, while Durie teams up with his former Backyard Blitz offsider Nigel Ruck to sort the outdoors.
The special also features Great Australian Bake Off hosts Shane Jacobsen and Anna Gare and judge Dan Lepard in the kitchen working on Easter dishes, and Easter craft and home improvement ideas.
For the loved-up renovation dream team, appearing on television together second time round has been both a novelty and a breeze.
Durie concedes this time ‘‘the territory is a little more even, and she’s having quite the giggle about it’’.
‘‘They say we are going in as equal partners, and I’m going to go with that,’’ Christie says.
Durie, long used to a life of travel, is relishing the simple things – such as driving to work together.
‘‘It’s been great. The kids are off to school in the morning, then we head off to the set together. I’ve never done that before,’’ he says.
Durie says it’s all part of a new stage of life, as he and Christie build their lives together.
They’re yet to set a wedding date – ‘‘we were thinking spring but the year is barrelling away from us’’ says Christie – and are already talking more children.
Durie’s move home is in no small part due to Christie.
‘‘Travel – while it used to be a little more exciting – it’s now kind of hard to drag myself away from my life here,’’ he says.