New hosts, new judges and new challenges as the House Rules teams go at it hammer and nail

Sky High: House Rules High Stakes co-hosts Abbey Way and Jamie Durie.

Sky High: House Rules High Stakes co-hosts Abbey Way and Jamie Durie.

No one is excluded from the need to be socially distant. Newly installed co-host of House Rules: High Stakes Jamie Durie has set up his architectural office at home while managing his 15 staff producing technical documents at their homes for the 5-star resort he is building in Port Douglas.

"We will get through it, it's going to be quite cathartic, to navigate our way through. Everyone needs to re-prioritise."

Durie says his transition to interior and furniture design began in his entertainment days. "The Las Vegas stages are some of the biggest in the world. I was 17, and designing light podiums to add more flavour to the whole production. I'm happiest when I'm creating ... whether it is a TV show, a garden or a piece of furniture, it still requires creativity."

He says when designing outdoor rooms you have to look at how you extend the rooms of the house into the great outdoors. "You still have to look at what works for the human body in an ergonomic sense."

Moving from judge of House Rules to host has been a challenge for him. "I am biting my tongue more than I would like. Not being able to comment on some of the designs, has been tough, I have to remain quite neutral."

Something returning judge Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen does not. "I think LLB will always have a competitive nature. He does like to joust, but we love him for it, it's part of what makes him entertaining. I've worked with him for eight years [seven of them on a show in Singapore]. He's an incredible wordsmith, one of the best design commentators, and even though I've heard all his comments he's still making me giggle."

Durie's co-host is Abbey has the competitive edge due to her experience breaking numerous national sports stories as a stellar sports presenter.

"I met Abbey in Brisbane when we were judging the Brisbane Racing Carnival Fashions on the Field. She was amazing. I put her forward to the network and it wasn't too long before she got the call."

She is used to talking to people who are experiencing the height of emotion in a competition. "This is their one shot of achieving something they've always wanted," she says.

Durie says this year's teams are the "nicest contestants I've ever worked with". "It's lovely heartfelt TV. There's only so much people can take that tests the human spirit. It's highly emotional. These are homes that people have lived in, it changes their world, everyone wins.

"These teams articulate their designs in such solid form I didn't expect to be this blown away. I think public are going to love it."

There are a couple of twists this season, even one for Durie. "My grandfather was the caretaker on the [Gold Coast] building. I can remember being six or seven years old in the basement with him while he was working.

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