The latest of our regular columns by the Huddersfield-based Energy Saving Trust advice centre for South and West Yorkshire
WHEN she went through a divorce four years ago, Sue Widdup decided to completely change her life.
She took up new interests and turned one hobby into something more permanent by retraining as a holistic therapist.
And the 53-year-old soon found that her Kirkburton home provided the perfect inspiration for her work.
Sue spent years developing properties in the area, living in many of the 15 homes she transformed with her family.
The latest home Sue found that she felt she could really make her mark on was a semi-detached on Queen’s Way, just a short walk from Kirkburton village centre.
She loved the spaciousness of the rooms. A keen hiker, Sue also appreciated having open countryside right on her doorstep.
Soon her property-developing skills were in full swing as Sue transformed the property from a rather dated specimen to a modem haven.
She explains: “Even if I am planning to live in a house I have a target family in mind when I develop – for this I pictured a couple with two children and ensured there were things like plenty of outdoor space.
“I love light spaces and had the kitchen and dining rooms knocked into one to create an open-plan space that’s flooded with light.”
Following her divorce, Sue embarked on a real lifestyle change, taking on adventurous activities she would have never dreamed of before, from sky diving to a gruelling Three Peaks endurance challenge.
She also aims to go travelling in the near future, including an expedition to Peru’s famous Inca Trail.
As part of her life makeover Sue went back to the classroom, attending The White Rose School of Health and Beauty in Huddersfield.
Sue said: “I had always meditated and loved getting treatments and being pampered, so I thought why not give it a go myself?
“It was strange going back to school and I was the oldest student there, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. For the first time in my life I was getting the opportunity to do something I had missed out on when I was younger.”
Sue, who also works in management accounts for a construction firm, qualified as a holistic therapist earlier this year and set about building up her client base.
She utilised the space in one of the three bedrooms to create a fully-equipped treatment room, but also found that her house as a whole acted as the perfect environment for her work.
She says: “I am very into eastern philosophy so the way the house is designed is very influenced by that and really lends itself to my work.
“The house is in a quiet corner of the village and when you walk through the door it has a very calm, tranquil feel to it.
“I have soft lighting and candles everywhere which really creates an atmosphere of relaxation.”
Sue has added to her home’s calming vibe by adorning chairs with comfy cushions and dotting Buddha statues around, sourced from her trips to retreats abroad.
She has created an organic feel by adding pine furnishings and growing herbs on the large outside deck where she leads meditation groups.
In the kitchen diner Sue has added a striking wallpaper mural of exotic palm trees on the wall opposite to the patio doors.
She says: “With it leading out to the decking area, the room has the feel of a conservatory and I wanted to reflect that.
“I wanted to create a wall of greenery and achieve the feeling of bringing the outdoors in. I’ve got lots of plants in there and all this really draws the spaces together.”
Injections of colour break up the magnolia walls and add to the home’s real sense of personality.
The calming influences of rooms like the lounge and kitchen is contrasted with a dramatic downstairs toilet which has a theatrical chandelier and film stars wallpaper with shelves full of quirky ornaments.
“It’s my sense of humour coming through,” says Sue. “I’m really into design but I’ve kept bolder ideas to small spaces.
“Having said that, people coming to the house always say that’s the best room!”
Sue’s home blends old and new worlds with 100-year-old meditation stools teamed with modern leather sofas.
She said: “I saw the potential of this house and it really has been perfect for me.
“It has always been a place where I could relax and practice my yoga and tai chi on the deck and it’s great that other people have been able to enjoy it as much as me.”
Queen’s Way, Kirkburton, is on the market with Boulton’s estate agents.
For information on treatments Sue offers call 01484 606543 or visit her website www.huddersfieldmassage.co.uk
l Price £169,500
l Specious semi which has been extensively renovated
l Three bedrooms
l Quiet corner position a short walk away from Kirkburton village centre
l Gardens with two-tier decking