HGTV star’s own L.A. backyard retreat
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Jamie Durie’s outdoor room: HGTV star’s own L.A. backyard retreat

By Debra Prinzing


Jamie Durie, host of HGTV’s “The Outdoor Room,” races against the clock to turn dreary backyards into dreamy retreats in just 48 hours. When the Australian designer moved to L.A., he set out to make over his own backyard. Here, Durie hangs out in one of two egg-shaped wicker nests.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Durie made the move from Australia to L.A. in 2009, snapping up a 1956 house in Laurel Canyon. He updated the pool and ringed it with distinct places for entertaining, dining, even sleeping and bathing. The bifold doors are from LaCantina.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Durie tweaked the original swimming pool into what he calls a “sunken lounge.” A new border was finished with Bisazza glass mosaic tiles.

The lounging area is arranged on decks made of a Fiberon composite. All-weather wicker sectionals are part of the Patio by Jamie Durie collection.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Next to the lounging area are two siesta-inspiring pavilions. Daybeds are furnished with green and aqua cushions. The overhead box beams are actually planting channels; stretched cables support canvas Roman shades that can open or close as the sun moves across the sky.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The custom stone-lined gabion planters serve as botanical accents amid the new hardscape. This planter contains Plumeria rubra, a tropical flowering tree native to Central America that was just starting to leaf out when it was photographed earlier this spring.  (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The view from one of the gabion planters, looking toward the barbecue and dining pavilion off in the distance. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
To make room for the dining pavilion at the base of the steep hillside, a crew excavated soil and built a 10-inch-thick steel and concrete retaining wall. The chaises are classic midcentury cording design by Walter Lamb, reproduced by manufacturer Brown Jordan.  (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The new timber-framed dining structure is open on three sides. It provides enough space for a generous table and U-shaped banquette. Note the barbecue to the right and rooftop deck above, which we’ll come back to later ... (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The back wall of the dining pavilion has an Escea outdoor gas fireplace. The pair of George Nelson bubble lamps were flea market scores; Durie bought them for $60 each at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The view from the grill, which is next to the dining pavilion and across the pool from the twin cabanas and fire pit. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
The indoor bathroom vanity’s backsplash is mirrored on top, reflecting the interior of the house, and glass on the bottom, providing a glimpse of the verdant garden beyond. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Around the side of the dining pavilion, a nearby staircase ascends the hillside to a rooftop garden. A small deck has two Walter Lamp reproduction brass-and-cording chairs. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Yet another seating area sits on the Indian white granite slab patio, sandblasted to be a non-skid surface. Vintage stools surround a table topped with vintage wood. The rhythmic bands are inter-planted with Irish moss for permeability, reducing storm runoff.

“The backyard works like a giant bowl,” Durie says.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Solanum crispum, more commonly called potato vine, is a shrubby evergreen climber. For the mix of plants, Durie turned to Beth Edelstein of Beth Edelstein Landscape Design to help diversify the existing plant palette.

 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Just outside the master bathroom, an outdoor shower, vanity and raised soaking tub wrapped in cedar are tucked into the private side garden. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Jamie Durie surveys his new outdoor rooms, which ring a pool heated with a system from Suntopia Solar. Aric Entwistle of Los Angeles-based H2o Development replaced a conventional chlorine system with Spectralight, which uses ultraviolet light to kill pathogens and waterborne bacteria.



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 (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
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