149 – Amali De Vos: Use The Power Of Serendipity In Renovating

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The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

149 – Amali De Vos with James Burgin and Bernadette Janson: Use The Power Of Serendipity In Renovating

Embracing the power of serendipity in renovating can lead you to magical and positive outcomes. Bernadette has a lively and at times an esoteric conversation with Amali De Vos and James Burgin. Whilst you may think this topic is too ‘Woo-Woo’ to take seriously, you may be surprised how you can embrace serendipity to power your renos.

Definition: Serendipity is an unplanned, fortunate discovery. It’s a common occurrence throughout the history of product invention and scientific discovery. Serendipity is also seen as a potential design principle for online activities that would present a wide array of information and viewpoints rather than just reinforcing a user’s opinion. The literal definition is luck… taking the form of finding valuable or pleasant things that are not looked for.

 Watch Episode 149 on Video:

Amali De Vos with James Burgin and Bernadette Janson: Use The Power Of Serendipity In Renovating


  • [01:15] Get to know Amali De Vos and James Burgin
  • [04:05] The serendipity experience
  • [08:13] What is the reticular activating system (RAS)?
  • [10:19] The gift of having an entrepreneurial mindset
  • [11:19] Thoughts about the subconscious mind
  • [14:09] Dealing with your pessimist mind and finding serendipity
  • [15:28] Amali shares her experience to be optimistic
  • [26:23] Experiences on how serendipity in renovating was discovered
  • [31:17] Amali’s thoughts on Bernadette’s vision
  • [31:48] Amali worked with several people in coaching
  • [32:56] James sharing his experience about the property he bought in Melbourne
  • [35:30] Bernadette correlating quantum physics in renovating
  • [37:22] Focus on having the “can do” attitude
  • [38:22] The importance of acceptance
  • [39:55] The concept of infinity
  • [41:10] Thoughts about power and perception
  • [42:33] Extraordinary business partnerships
The School of Renovating and She Renovates Podcast with Bernadette Janson

Spend time thinking about what you want, not what you don’t want. If you do have a monkey mind that says, no, no, no, you could have a little chat with it and say, why are you thinking like that? You are generally redirecting your mind and lending your conscious mind to take over rather than your subconscious mind.”
~ Amali De Vos

Amali Found Serendipity In Renovating

When Amali was just getting started on her first project, she couldn’t find this particular door and she didn’t know where it’s going to happen, but then, she could see it exist.
She had a vision one night, it was a kitchen that needed this big window at the end. It needs to be about 550 wide and 1500 deep. She saw the building and she said, this is what has to happen at the end of the kitchen and asked herself if where could she get it from.
They checked a few places but it didn’t exist in the wide line of window markets. However, she believes if she can see it, it must exist. She finally got a message suggesting she can try that bliss demolitions place. Bernadette and Amali went there. They were advised that they didn’t have anything. Meanwhile, they said they got a few more things out in the back and there was the window, 550 wide, 1,500 tall that was ready to be sold for $150.

The Experience of Serendipity In Renovating

James mentioned that this definition of serendipity is somewhat intellectual. Whereas he thinks serendipity was experienced in a magical way. He remembered his trips with Bernadette, in the car between Sydney and Newcastle. She was often on Facebook Marketplace with a very clear intention of what they needed for the kitchen. James was looking for styling items and then, Bernadette suddenly has the perfect item. Right Place Right Time!
Bernadette was working on the Class Project and had a quote for the front fence of the New Lambton. $6,500! It was about 10 meters long and this quote was very high. She decided to search for options in the marketplace and found this fence in panels exactly as she wanted for $500. She got in touch with the seller and booked a van and asked her son to help her to pick up the fence in panels. The seller told her that they had it on the marketplace a couple of times. It wasn’t removed. They told her that each time they had a buyer they had to tell them to wait until it was removed and they would disappear. Bernadette had only looked for a minute when she discovered it. She found that situation magical. That problem could have been a blowout in their budget.  It was fixed in an instant.

The Reticular Activating System (RAS)

James explained the reticular activating system or RAS for short, is a filtering mechanism. As he talks to Bernadette, he mentions the feeling of the seat she is sitting on. She probably didn’t notice it until James mentioned it. He expressed gratitude for this RAS filtering system we all have. Otherwise, we would be in sensory overload all the time.
A typical example is when someone gets a new car, suddenly they can be seen everywhere on the road. He knew Bernadette had Teslas on her radar. He bet she was now noticing the logo more often. That is her RAS and there’s an association with serendipity.
The RAS helps you to focus your intention when you have a vision for something you want to happen.
Talking to Bernadette, he shared that there is a dimension in our lives which we could call ‘spiritual teammates’, or angels, or our natural innate power. Whatever it is, this energy helps you to find things and manifest what you want.
Amali imagined a window she needed for her renovation – she thought there must be the right window. In the middle of the search, she finally found out exactly the window she needed – and at a very low cost too!
There’s a lot that anyone can do to activate your ability, to be present, to be involved and to be engaged to make things happen.

The Gift Of Having An Entrepreneurial Mindset

Amali believes that one thing to bear in mind is that all of us have got that part and we need to focus our minds along with it as there can be a little voice inside our heads that would say it does not.
We need to acknowledge it and just bring ourselves back to that conscious focus about what we want because the mind can be very questioning telling us it doesn’t exist. You can keep your focus to where you want it to be. It’s an important step because our conscious mind is only a small part of our mind.
Our subconscious mind is much smaller. We need to keep our focus on what we want and be gentle to that subconscious mind. We’re using our mind, we are directing it, then we’re being centred.

Supporting the Subconscious Mind

Focusing on our conscious mind and setting our conscious intentions, Amali stresses spending time thinking about what we want and those that we don’t want. According to her, once this is done, all our attention is in there. We need to be questioning the pessimism we may have and go straight on hitting our goal.
This is redirecting our minds and lending our conscious minds, the one that has the power to take over, rather than that subconscious mind. Amali suggested breathing and meditation are good for practising to focus our minds. In addition, being in nature is another way to do it.

Dealing with the Pessimists and Finding Serendipity In Renovating

Amali shared that when someone has an idea and is unsure about it, he or she can go to a group and ask them their inputs. With the conversation going on, the group can create positivity and have everybody’s interest to build on it. Gradually, it builds the opportunity for serendipity as well, because everybody’s working together.

James Embraces ‘Transformational Vocabulary’

James had always tried to work on his own vocabulary. He calls it transformational vocabulary, some fascination about what he uses. One of his pet peeves is the word “but” and he tries to avoid it in his copywriting or writing in general as it actually negates everything. His practice is to swap it to “and ” which turned out great. His goal is to develop a positive conversation. He also believes nature brings us into the present and it allows us to find a sense of peace. Things can really be powerful.

Amali Shares Her Experience In Being Optimistic

Amali shares how she turned her worrying and hopeless mind to aim for a positive outcome which resulted in a successful project.
 They live in a beautiful area of McMasters Beach where they were the ones who renovated and built that house.
She was starting to look at real estate and thought that she needed a project. She was depressed thinking she needed to leave her husband. Her husband does not want to move as the house has been his family for 60 years.
Amali’s way of renovating has always been just renovating the house and listening to positive thinking podcasts. She also once thought that it was ridiculous as she has been teaching renovating houses but she finds herself thinking she will never renovate a place again. She diverted her mind to thinking it would be possible because if she can imagine it, it must exist.
She started imagining how she was going to get the funding. She found a place and bought her first investment property. She was supposedly going to buy a property in Miami but it didn’t work out and she was really glad it didn’t because it was going to have a shopfront and it would probably have been terrible in the COVID-19 situation. She bought this little unit in freshwater for $750K and they put in about $35,000 for the renovation then sold it for about a million dollars.
Amali is now working on her next project. Therefore she concluded that turning pessimistic ideas around as she was in such a depressed state of mind, she just shifted it and created another potential. Changing the thought of saying “I can’t” to “I can!” is very powerful.

Bernadette Agrees to Amali’s Way Of Being Optimistic

Bernadette agrees with Amali that being optimistic in life is very powerful. If that phrase, “I can’t,” is in your vocabulary, you need to change it to, “I’m only willing to,” as nobody can’t sound like they got nothing. Sometimes it can’t be helped. Such as, “I’m unwilling to,” means at least you’re taking responsibility for that decision. Bernadette also added something that really helps in bringing about a sort of serendipity, and connections have to do a lot. It’s about building a rapport with customers and having trustworthiness from people to be connected and share with them what you’re doing because it is going to turn out to be surprised when the connection has been built. For example, they projected that they were on at the moment they have.

When Amali Was Looking For A Tiler

Amali once was also in need of a tiler, she had a tough time finding one that she would pay more to have her search be published in high-rated pages but still couldn’t get anybody to respond. However, she believed that if she can see it, it must exist. Then finally in one hour, somebody called her. The guy turned up to be coming from Weiwei, their jobs at the Central Coast and asked her if she was free. The guy was interesting and excellent as he got a hundred positive reviews. That’s how it was serendipitous.

Bernadette’s Experience With Serendipity In Renovating

So it was the kitchen. The problem was none of the cabinet makers could do anything before Christmas. And so she decided she had it all planned out in Ikea, but she first went to Bunnings but found out she wasn’t happy with their products.
She spent three nights finding what she can add to the cart on Ikea’s website and she was having a hard time as she got a message that the product is not available. She decided to go to shops and stores until she found one that had everything.
She ordered what she could get, but there were no doors and panels. After a week she got a call advising her that they are coming to pick the orders up. She told them not until they already had the doors and panels. Then they replied, unfortunately, there’s no slot for them, so they’re not coming. Apparently, she is back to square one.
She checked out marketplaces such as Gumtree and eBay. Meanwhile, there’s a pop-up for a particular display kitchen store, a brand new kitchen that had several appliances with the perfect configuration of exactly what she had planned for the project. The store had it priced at $10,000.00. Bernadette asked the seller if it was installed and the seller said no, it needed to be taken out.
Bernadette thought she couldn’t get that. The seller then suggested if she wants it removed, she just needs to pay another thousand dollars. It was still within budget. But she preferred to get a bargain and so she ended up offering him $8,000.00 for the kitchen and the seller accepted it.
That was the day James and Bernadette went over and picked it up and the rest is history. She already had the roofing done for it in new Lambton. She had to check it to ensure it was a similar configuration. They can never be really sure until they install it.
When it was done, it went in perfectly right that the stone splashback on the back part of the kitchen, but cut out for the PowerPoint was in exactly the right place. It was perfectly done.

James’ Experience With Serendipity In Renovating

In connection with the Newcastle project, the problem was that it had a gas Miele stove, but they wanted an electric stove instead. It was a $4,000.00 or more brand new gas stove, and having it plugged in is not ideal. The next thing James had to do is to find an induction cooktop. He went to Harvey, Norman and priced that back up at $4,000 price. Sheree, who’s also in the class project, found that marketplace four months old.
An induction stove priced at $1,500.00 that they checked last Saturday was fixed exactly in the space, it’s just perfect. James stressed that they were the ones that were only given two examples, but if they stand back to the door, that’s what they need to be doing. He felt that even when he renovated in the past, it was like he was a novice and he was learning from the masters.
He learned that taking one step with a significant vision is very important. The intention is highly valued, rather than keeping it going. James commended Bernadette as she is such an extraordinary example of not stopping and striving to keep the project moving. He also added that momentum keeps this serendipity in renovating naturally unfolding for them because there’s an intention behind it and he is privileged to be part of the Wonder Women because the group values camaraderie, support and energy. James is just amazed at what the outcome may happen with the group he is in.

Bernadette’s Passion Project

Bernadette thought about replacing that project as Steven is retiring. She was thinking of a passion project. She luckily found it and negotiated the purchase. She knows she is the only person that could buy the property and she found it nostalgic as she also went to school in this town.
It’s a tiny town with 700 people in it. Hence, she already knew how small towns tend to be quite proactive. Bernadette got that renovating connection and happily she also got Steven in the team who is an absolute king of construction. She just happened to be in the right place and at the right time to happen to meet the right person who happened to put it all together.
She was going to meet the owner by next week with the vision of sealing the deal. It was an interesting historic building. It’s on a splitter block so it’s two blocks and one title. She wants to turn the actual building into an Airbnb mini-hotel and restore it and so on. Then the other block to put some long-term rental on it. It’s a project that she had in mind for a long time.
Bernadette and Stephen loved to do those projects. After some time, a deal just turned up in her lap without even having to look for it.

Amali Worked With Several People In Coaching

Amali worked with people that had issues in coaching. She taught them when they had written it down, it is not going to work. She highlighted that they just coach them through to write it down.
Amali shared her sister’s story years ago, that she was looking for a place and she found a rental place. She advised her sister to just write down what she wanted. They were overseas together and she went home to Canada. Her sister found the house in two days.
They said to her they wanted a swimming pool and she wanted an office. Then her boys said that she can’t get that. She has been looking at different houses and one day, she got it right. It has the “For Sale” and she made an offer and they accepted it.
She thought she shouldn’t have gotten that as a single mom, but she did. She believed that it’s going to happen.

Experience About the Property Bought In Melbourne

 James was reminded of how he found the property he purchased in Melbourne. He lived in two periods, for 10 years and he used to commute. He looked at this warehouse building and drove past unconsciously there. He observed that it was quite familiar particularly with the structure of the shape and then it helped them with their site.
To make the long story short, James ended up buying it for about $375,000.00. This story was back in the nineties and he ended up several years later selling it for $995,000.00.
When he was living in America, he was doing the same thing again, loving this historic district in downtown Phoenix, driving around the streets, and finding that there were the Pesaro signs. He ended up buying a historic house and renovating it. The bedroom, bathroom and the attic.
He has been living in that apartment for several years. Overdue for a renovation has featured him in some of Bernadette’s workshops having visited and knocked him off by his chair to create the audio spot for the kitchen or he will be sitting right in the kitchen.
The corporate body wants to get the common areas renovated. It was borrowed beautifully. James got the general principle of the agreement to invest in an upgrade whereas it is up to him to make that happen with some more quotes, but there’s really been no push back.
James is really surprised because he has been projecting with corporates and it is a problem if there will be a mistake. James has yet to manifest that whole story, a new renovation and a set in a building, but he is on the case.

Correlating Quantum Physics and Serendipity In Renovating

Bernadette thinks it would be remiss not to talk about the role of quantum physics where the whole concept is that people and everything is connected and may not be as visibly connected as it is. The perfect word was “energetically connected”. She mentions that it also plays a part when somebody walks, she believes there are people who want to get into renovating or investing in a property that they have been wanting to do and focusing on that intention.
She shared that they had a woman in their community who came and participated in their boot camp, a few years ago. She is currently out of marriage. She came out of it with next to nothing. She came off worse for wear, but she scraped it together to learn how to make more money.
That woman recently came back and joined the Wonder Women team. She told Bernadette that those few shares that were worth nothing have absolutely gone ballistic over the last few years. Now, she’s got a great chunk of money so that she can use it to get herself going. Bernadette knows she is really going to do well.

Focusing On Having The “Can Do” Attitude

Amali said that it comes down to focus again saying, “I can, but I don’t know-how,” attitude. One must be able to do it.
She shared that when she was a single mom, people kept telling her that it’s impossible for her to get a loan because she is a single mother of a child who is seven-year-old and another one, who is four-year-old, so how is it going to work? But eventually, they gave her the loan that they said to her and was told that she needed to have financial training.
Bernadette added that intention and commitment to do a project are things that have been working out. Staying stuck to your fight when things don’t look good.

The Importance Of Acceptance

Incorporating the importance of acceptance, Amali said that the element of acceptance is not pushing because when someone starts to push they create resistance and they actually close doors. When someone chooses acceptance, it does not mean that they are not moving forward. They’re accepting where they are. They still have the vision which creates the tension for something else to manifest. Amali compared bringing acceptance just like her mom who was not feeling well but kept on resisting the pain.
She elaborated that she needed to just accept it. Amali got a call from her mom and she sounded so ill on Friday but Amali felt fantastic. She has been saying that intention every single day and her life’s turned around and it was her accepting where she was. Therefore, hold the vision, but just accept it and then be open to what those spaces are in between.
The vision and the acceptance are just around and just waiting for whatever manifests in between. That’s the serendipity of that space for Amali.

Thoughts About Power And Perception

James shares that innate abilities, powers and perceptions are what we all have. This reminds him of the book about the Celestine Prophecy. It was the number one bestseller at the time he was living in America. He remembers he was on a plane going somewhere and flew a lot back there and he would observe two-thirds of the passengers were all reading the book.
 Bernadette added that when she was reading about serendipity, it talked about an interesting concept which is creatively dissatisfied. She thought that this is a very powerful emotion being dissatisfied but in a creative way. We need to start thinking out of the box and look for a solution. She thinks that this fits into the necessity of being the mother of all invention sort of mantra.
James interjected and shared that there have been some extraordinary business partnerships he got. He was into a conversation with the guys who got together to create PayPal. That came out of serendipity, spontaneously met him being at the right place and the right time. They sold it to eBay that Elon Musk who went on to found the tesla or the rest of him as did the other people that had some amazing things. He mentioned Kate and Suzzette who found each other in Wonder Women. In the beginning, they do not have a connection and they had to get to know each other and fortunately, that whole partnership has unfolded magnificently.
I love to teach people because. It’s about really owning your power and it’s awesome.”
-Amali de Vos

She Renovates Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

Where To Reach Amali De Vos? 

Instagram: karinamali.nurturehouse

Did this episode inspire you? If you have any thoughts or comments about the show, head over to She Renovates on Apple Podcasts and leave us a review. Also, don’t forget to subscribe, tune in, and share this podcast.

She Renovates Free Facebook Group

If you want to meet up with a group of savvy renovators. I would say come over and join She Renovates Facebook Group. It’s a completely FREE Facebook group and it is growing at the rate of knots. We hit over a thousand members just recently, and now it seems to have picked up momentum. They are all savvy renovating women and men working their little hearts out to live a better life through renovating.

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Bernadette Janson

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