Who would you want working on your heart? An orthopaedic surgeon? A dermatologist? No, you want a cardiac surgeon – a specialised expert in the field. The same goes for kitchens – the heart of the house. You don’t want just any interior designer, you want someone specialising in kitchens so you’re not left with a bum ticker.

Our guest today is Rachel Collard (get ready for the accolades) – a BuildHer Collective member, a qualified interior stylist, with an award-winning career in kitchen design, a stint on The Block, mother of three, and formally trained psychologist (phew!). This woman knows how to understand clients’ needs in the kitchen and how to put that into practice. More importantly, she knows well the functionality that is so dearly needed in a great kitchen.

She has spent just shy of a decade designing kitchens for Freedom and founded Co.Kitchens in 2016 – a boutique, Melbourne-based company offering custom kitchen design consultancy. Speaking to the importance of the kitchen, Rachel herself says, “Kitchens are the soul to every home – it’s where some of the best memories are created and traditions are passed down from generations: everything else should just work to compliment the true heart of the home.”

This critical space is often the giver-of-first-impressions to prospective buyers and is thus analysed with great care prior to making any offers on the property. If the kitchen does not need to be done, the rest of the house will be easily customised and personalised. However, if flaws are seen in a kitchen’s design, it is often a dealbreaker.

Rachel and Rebeka discussed the importance of hiring a stylist for the kitchen design phase, designing for functionality and aesthetics on a budget, the rookie mistake of forcing what’s trending into your kitchen, and having foresight in your design.

If you have a topic or question you’d like us to cover, contact us here.


  • [2:52] – Key takeaways for designing your kitchen for the first time
  • [3:27] – Functionality and how you work as a family
  • [3:54] – Pros and cons of a butler’s pantry
  • [5:36] – Rebeka’s shocking admission to leaving the house with the oven on
  • [6:06] – Getting your architect/draftsperson and your kitchen designer in at the same time
  • [7:01] – If you’re using a draftsperson, a designer can help to solidify the drawings and protect practicality
  • [8:35] – The finality of kitchen design and getting it right the first time
  • [9:27] – Designing for the way your family uses the kitchen
  • [10:54] – Appliance placement taking into account activity in the kitchen
  • [12:33] – Finding the right designer/architect/contractor for your job and the way you see your kitchen working
  • [13:29] – Incorporating a mudroom into your design for busy families to best accommodate the natural flow
  • [14:56] – Balancing our budget and expectations of what we can achieve
  • [15:19] – Two minds are better than one – collaborating with a stylist will help you find any flaws in your design before you start building/renovating
  • [16:41] – Drawing on inspiration from other designers. Everything has been done before – it’s about making little changes to suit your specific needs
  • [17:54] – Spending a lot of money doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get the best looking kitchen
  • [19:07] – Don’t get stuck on what’s trending: focus on what you love
  • [19:34] – Factoring in longevity at the design phase: consider features that can be refreshed to allow budget-friendly periodic updates
  • [20:43] – Choosing kitchen appliances when it comes to budget and price per item
  • [23:25] – Rachel, Rebeka, and Mel’s roles in the BuildHer Collective and ways to get in touch


We have several Facebook Groups at BuildHer Collective.


BHC DevelopHers Circle and BuildHer Collective Members Only – these are closed groups for women who are doing our Build Like a BuildHer course or who have joined our DevelopHers Inner Circle.


Anyone is more than welcome to join our Women who Design, Decorate, Renovate & Build group. You will note that it’s a closed group but ask to join and if you’re into building and renovating, this is such an amazing and supportive FREE community, so come on and join in the building goodness!