There are so many great reasons to be involved in the BuildHer Collective. Building can be a stressful and somewhat lonely journey, but with a group of passionate and collaborative women supporting you all the way through, the building journey becomes so much more fun.

In this episode, Rebeka visits one of our very stylish and thoughtful BuildHers – Rachel Harris – to talk about the recent renovation of her beautiful family home in Preston. Purchasing the Californian bungalow a number of years ago while living interstate, Rachel and her husband knew there was a lot of work to be done. However, instead of rushing ahead, they took their time to carefully research and be thoughtful throughout the design phase.

Rebeka talks to Rachel in detail about the extension to the back of her house. Specifically, how she implemented passive solar principles such as cross-ventilation, heat pumps, a solar chimney and so much more. By incorporating these design features into the build, Rachel’s home is not only comfortable all year round, but also oozes a thoughtfulness which resonates in each space.

Building and renovation take time and it can be tempting to cut corners or just take the easy road to get the job done. What Rachel did so well, and we are so proud to see, is that she was thoughtful in the design process to determine the values of her family. By doing this and taking a bit more time in the design phase, she created a beautiful energy-efficient home with well-designed spaces that capture sunlight and make you want to linger a little longer.

Rachel’s thoughtfulness is tangible in every aspect of the design. Tune in to hear more about how Rachel incorporated passive solar principals into her build and how you could do it too!

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


  • [2:00]: Rachel’s experience renovating her Melbourne Californian bungalow while living interstate
  • [3:48]: What Rachel and her husband first loved about the house
  • [5:21]: The benefits of living in the house for a few years before renovating and the details of what they have achieved
  • [7:30]: The importance of installing two windows for cross ventilation in bedrooms and how Rachel used passive solar principals to keep a moderate temperature all year round
  • [10:30]: How Rachel was thoughtful in the design phase to utilise heat pumps
  • [12:50]: How the western reverse brick wall helps to improve energy ratings
  • [14:20]: Rachel and Rebeka’s design taste similarities and the beauty of the collaborative group at BuildHer
  • [16:15]: The building journey Rachel undertook to project manage alongside the builder they had chosen
  • [19:22]: How Rachel chose a great builder with excellent recommendations and how they worked through an issue with a flooring height difference
  • [23:24]: The Q&A session where Rachel was able to discuss the flooring issue and the benefit of being in the BuildHer community to bounce ideas off each other
  • [24:12]: How Rachel did the work early on to determine her family’s values and incorporated thoughtful details into the build


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!