Cricketing legend Martin Crowe and his wife are pulling stumps on their family home, writes 

Roseneath, 121 Western Springs Road, Western Springs. 

Martin Crowe is a believer in the under-rated attractions of Western Springs, and not just because he can walk to work when there's a cricket game on at Eden Park. 

The suburb's location and its character-filled houses have led the New Zealand cricketing legend to call Western Springs home for the past seven years. He spent three years in Springfield Road, and for the past four has lived at Roseneath in Western Springs Road. 

"We're just around the corner from the Northwestern Motorway, so the city's really accessible. Mum lives out west so it's easy to get to her, too. Chamberlain Park Golf Course is just down the road, and of course there's Eden Park." 

Martin and his wife Suzanne Taylor can put their little girl Emma, 2, in her buggy and walk to shops and cafes in either Kingsland or Grey Lynn. They've spent a lot of time with her at Fowlds Park opposite their house, feeding the ducks at Western Springs park, and wandering around Auckland Zoo. 

The couple are selling Roseneath because they are amicably separating, and were happy to both meet Heraldhomes at the house to show us around and talk about the pleasures of living there. 

The semi-circular driveway lends the front of the villa a refined air, fitting its early 20th century origins. A 1923 photo in the hallway shows the house among its neighbours on the ridge, with Western Springs lake at the base of the hill and the big brick pumphouse which has been preserved in the Museum of Transport and Technology on the lake's shore. Martin says the photo came with the house and will remain here. 
Once past the front two bedrooms and a modernised bathroom, the old part of the house ends and the remodelled part begins. A dining area and kitchen stretch the length of the house - the dining area opening through French doors to the front verandah, and the kitchen through bifolds to the pool area. 

"You can open all the doors in summer and get a lovely through-breeze," says Suzanne. 

A clever touch was extending one end of the kitchen bench outside, creating an outdoor breakfast bar that can be closed off with bifold windows. A grapevine in the pergola above is sprouting its spring leaves. 
"That grapevine goes nuts," says Martin. "We've made jams and vinegars from all the grapes off it. It's a bit Mediterranean out here, and a bit bachy." 

The attractiveness of the pool and its water feature are unimpeded by a glass wall. 

"I'm a real wimp when it comes to cold water," says Suzanne, "so we heat it to body temperature. We get back from the park and by the time we're at the back door we've got our togs on and jump straight in." 

You can also walk through the master bedroom to get to the pool. Like the kitchen next door, it opens to the rear through bifold doors. 

Next to the pool there's room for an outdoor table and chairs, and a portable spa is in the corner of the deck. 

A cabana out here has housed Martin's cricket memorabilia, but could also be an office or sleepout. There is a bathroom attached. 

Back inside you step down into a sunken lounge, complete with a big gas fire that Suzanne says heats the whole house in winter. This used to be a granny flat and courtyard which Martin and Suzanne converted. A guest bedroom, bathroom, and a wine cellar remain off to one side. 

"It's been a lovely, practical family home," says Suzanne. "I've liked having the character of an old house, with all the practical comfort of a modern renovation." 

Neither she nor Martin is sure where they will go to from here, although Suzanne thinks she might stay in the area that's familiar to Emma. Martin, who now works as an executive producer with Sky Sport, says he'll decide where next to settle once this cricket season is over. He's also busy building a beach house up north. 

"I've enjoyed this house because it sprawls out pretty much on one level, with lots of different areas, but they all interconnect," says Martin. "And it's really well sited - you get the sun in the kitchen in the morning, then you can sit on the front verandah in the evening and watch the sunset." 

Vital Statistics 




SIZE: Land 655sq m, house 196 sq m, cabana 25sq m. 

PRICE INDICATION: Low to mid $1 millions. Auction November 27. 

INSPECT: Sat/Sun 4- 4.45pm. 

CONTACT: Lesley Hawes, Ray White, ph 021 482 799. 

FEATURES: Fully renovated villa with sunset views to the Waitakeres from the front verandah, and a private pool and barbecue area at the rear. Separate cabana with bathroom that could be an office or extra accommodation. Modern kitchen flows to pool area. Gas fire, two-zone sound system, prolific grape vine.