> Skip to content

Article  •  3 November 2016


What’s a ‘transterior’?

In Living Design, Jamie Durie explains a fundamental aspect of his design philosophy.

‘Transterior’ is a term Nadine [Bush, co-author] and I have coined to describe the space where the interior and exterior of a home merge. Our aim has always been to create a seamless transition between the two – to take the indoors out and bring the outside in, creating a greater connection to nature. What you get is a blurred line, where a strong sense of shared space evokes an alfresco feeling, which reflects the quintessential Australian lifestyle.

This transterior space is often the threshold where architecture meets nature, such as where a verandah or sliding doors open onto a courtyard or garden. You can, however, create the same feeling in a room without that physical threshold by bringing nature indoors through your choice of natural, handmade organic materials, textures and colours.

What we are trying to do is to re-create the outdoors vibe indoors, because we believe that everything feels better outside – lounging, dining, cooking, sleeping or chatting to your friends and family. We want you to feel just as good inside as you do outside.

I love watching people’s jaws drop as they walk into my living room and discover that the fourth wall is a six-metre living wall embedded with hand-selected tropical plants. There’s an element of surprise and life force generated by having plants vertically installed as part of your living space.

By the same token, you can create outdoor rooms within a garden that are as comfortable and luxurious as any interior room. I call this ‘luxescaping’. The more luxurious something looks and feels, the more it feels like ‘forbidden fruit’ when it is taken outside. I’m talking rugs, cushions, plush drapes and fabrics, chandeliers, artworks – whatever your heart desires. Most of my clients say, ‘Can I really have this outside?’ and that is the exact response to design that drives me.

The challenge comes from finding materials durable enough to last outside, but these days we are able to break down many barriers thanks to advances in technology, so let’s make the most of every opportunity to take interior elements outside.

To create a transterior, the trick is to pull as many features as possible from the exterior into the interior and vice versa, exchanging materials, textures, colours and even lights, so the two spaces become one – the ultimate goal.

The relationship between people and plants is paramount. My whole career has been anchored around facilitating that connection. For more than a decade, I’ve dedicated myself to finding new ways to say, ‘Let’s go outside’, designing outdoor living rooms, dining rooms, bathrooms, kitchens and even bedrooms. These days, there is nothing that can’t be done outdoors – even showering outside feels more sacred. Outside is where we spend precious, quality downtime with our family and friends – it’s here that unforgettable memories are made.

What matters is that by extending inside living outwards, and vice versa, bringing elements of the outside indoors, we’re reconnecting with the natural world. I believe this is vital to our sense of wellbeing.

Photograph: Jamie Durie © JPD Media + Design

Feature Title

Living Design
In his first book on interior design, internationally-acclaimed designer Jamie Durie shows us how to create a home totally at one with nature.
Read more

More features

See all
Outside in

Tips for indoor plants, straight from Jamie Durie’s Living Design.

‘When the facts conflict with the legend’ – how does a biographer balance storytelling with the truth?

Matthew Lamb sheds light on the process of writing a biography about Frank Moorhouse, the contradictions in his research and his personal friendship with the author.

QUIZ: Which Ranger’s Apprentice book should you ask for this Christmas?

Take this quiz to find out which Ranger’s Apprentice book you should put on your wish list.

Penguin Fantasy Fest was a magical night for fantasy fans and authors

The inaugural Penguin Fantasy Fest was a wonderful evening for all. Learn about the author panel, see photos of the event and find out how to be notified of future events.

Matthew McConaughey shares his parenting tips and new book with Australian fans

Matthew McConaughey made an appearance on the Today Show Australia and Nova to talk about his picture book, Just Because.

7 books recommended by Dolly Alderton

Check out book recommendations from author Dolly Alderton.

'Cricket' is officially the most-loved Bluey episode

In honour of five years of Bluey, fans voted on their favourite Bluey episode.

Look inside Here Comes a Merry Christmas

A gorgeous holiday picture book based on the much-loved song by children’s entertainer, Justine Clarke.

Why submit to the Penguin Literary Prize? A previous winner's perspective

‘You owe it to the writer you are to put your work out there.’

Debut authors share their best tips for aspiring authors

The Fresh Voices of 2023 share their advice with fellow writers. Whether you’re aspiring to get your book published or looking for writing tips, these words of wisdom will help.

PRH and UBD volunteers planted 1,600 trees for the Penguin Foundation

Volunteers from PRH and UBD participated in a day of tree-planting to help future-proof the Summerland Peninsula from the increasing threat of fire.

Look inside Peggy and Molly

Sneak a peek at the adorable book Peggy and Molly, which chronicles the very special friendship between a staffy and a magpie.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles