Just before 2020, you decided to “change your lives” after “years of dreaming, planning, and lots of work”. This decision meant moving from Brooklyn to the 17th- century Catswood Farm in the Cotswolds with your husband Bastien Halard, a designer, and daughters Poppy and Violette Grey. What led you to this decision, and why was Catswood Farm the right choice?
Miranda Brooks: We spent many years looking at houses and farms, from the Catskills to Maryland and all over England. The children, having ponies that lived at my ex-husband’s farm, cemented the idea of England, plus my increasing-with-the-years homesickness for the seasons I grew up with.
A friend told me the farmer who lived at Catswood Farm had passed away, so I wrote a letter to the family but never got an answer. Two years later, I was back in England, saying we were giving up on the idea when a friend encouraged us to drive past. We drove up to the house and knocked on the door. The next day, we were standing in a field – we never went in – and they said, ‘Do you want it?’ Then we saw inside; there was so much work to do.
But it was hard initially. We thought, ‘Maybe we’ve made a mistake?’ ‘This is just going to be too hard a change’. I thought I was just sort of sailing off into what had been my dream. It was also to do with the fact that we were on a building site in the wettest winter in England!