First of all, if I’m gonna talk about HGTV’s Aussie hunk, Jamie Durie, I have to start out by saying that for me, he was an acquired taste.  While the network was trotting him out as the pin-stripe-suited, gel-slicked-host of shows like HGTV Showdown, I was completely turned off.  He just looked like some beefcake oily salesman and every time I saw him onscreen I wondered, “What is HGTV doing with this guy?”

HGTV Rose Parade hosts Rob Weller, Sabrina Soto and Jamie Durie, who's looking more smarmy than sexy. © 2011, HGTV.

HGTV Rose Parade hosts Rob Weller, Sabrina Soto and Jamie Durie, who's looking more smarmy than sexy. © 2011, HGTV.

Then came The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie, featuring a much more casual version of Mr. Durie and Oh. My. Gawd. Is. That. Guy. HAWWWWT.

Dude made it to my DVR cue, “record series” level.


A swoon-worthy version of Jamie Durie. © 2009, Jamie Rector for HGTV.

And man, what a fantasy show.  Turns out Jamie’s a very talented landscape designer, so every episode features a different outdoor space getting tricked out, of course, but there’s also an exotic destination as inspiration for the design.  So it’s like getting the best of Travel Channel, with beautifully shot cinematography (if you can use that word for non-movie footage) and really amazing landscape design all in one, with the added bonus of some seriously serious eye candy of the hawt-guy-getting-his-hands-dirty variety.

Excuse me while I fan myself.

While I’ve enjoyed most every episode of the series, one I’m really thankful to have watched is the one that centered on Jamie’s own house in LA.  He said in the 20 years he’s been in the business, he’s never ever made over his own yard before.

All that air you just heard?  That was me, exhaling.

There’s such pressure as an interior designer to have the coolest-looking house on the planet.  If I had a dollar for every client who uttered the phrase, “Your house must look amazing,” I could quit my job and eat bon-bons every day.  The truth is, my house is sort of half-assed.  There’s color on the walls and in most rooms I have funky window treatments, but there’s not one room that feels “done” to me.  My list of grievances:

1. I have had floating shelves in my living room for about two years that have always been too wobbly for me to actually put anything on, so they lean there…mocking me…with a very un-designed group of objets that are aching to be styled:

Don't worry, I hire pros to install things like this in clients' homes.

Don't worry, I hire pros to install things like this in clients' homes.

2. There are still mini-blinds on five windows.  Effing cheap-ass mini-blinds, y’all.

3. I hate my office color but abhor the idea of unpacking and reloading my bookshelves, so I continue to sit here in an office that doesn’t feel like “me.”

4. I’ve never nailed down Phoebe’s room.  I’ve done some pretty badass girls’ rooms (Exhibit A, Exhibit B) but my daughter’s is not one of them. *frowny face*

5. Dying to rip out the fugly stained carpet in our living room and replace it with…anything.

6. I’ve had a paint swatch stuck to my kitchen cabinet for two years and still haven’t painted them.

The top one is the color I'm going for.  I was into teal before teal was cool.

The top one is the color I'm going for. I was into teal before teal was cool.

7. There are boxes in my garage that have not been unpacked since we moved in two and a half years ago and we have yet to park a damn car in there due to that mess of disorganization.  I’m further embarrassed to admit that the two shelving units I purchased at the beginning of the year to alleviate part of this problem  still await assembly.  They mock me too.

8. I’ve had a killer piece of art for over a year, which is currently leaning against our closet wall instead of hanging over our bed, as originally planned when I placed the order for said artwork.

9. I have tons of stuff I want to frame for a family photo/memento wall and after two and a half years, have one piece on the wall.

10. My cat has completely shredded the superfab and superspendy fabric on my Crate & Barrel Petrie chair, which is one of the first things anyone sees when they come into our house.



11. I still have a depressing concrete rectangle of a back patio and not a single shrub, plant, or tree in the backyard.  Cue fantasy of Jamie Durie rolling up in a Monrovia truck and digging around in my back yard.  Me, offering him ice-cold lemonade, as all genteel Southern ladies do.

12. There is no furniture in our playroom, which is not exactly embarrassing but is definitely annoying.

13. I’ve bought fabric to reupholster my vintage dining chairs not once, but twice–and still have not recovered them.

14. I’ve had cabinet hardware for two of our bathrooms for about a year and a half, which continue to lie unused in drawers next to tubes of toothpaste.

Phoebe's princess-style cabinet knobs.

Phoebe's princess-style cabinet knobs.

As a designer, I never try to impose my style on clients, so while I love the spaces I recreate, I don’t always want to live in them.  But recently I’ve finished a couple of makeovers and thought, “I want this for myself!”  When someone like Jamie Durie says he’s never made over his own space before, it makes me realize, phew–I’m not the only one! But the really amazing thing to watch is how different Jamie is during this episode than all the rest in this or the last season.  He’s beaming and radiating this little-boy excitement that is–dare I say it–giddy.


A beaming Jamie Durie during his own home's makeover. © 2011, HGTV.

I know that it’s more than just, “oh, wow, am I getting one hell of a free makeover on HGTV’s dime” that is running through his head.  The guy’s obviously just…happy.  There’s nothing else that makes you feel the way that having your home reflect your personality makes you feel.  That’s the true meaning of “home,” and I appreciate this important reminder.