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Stephenie McMillan (real-world)

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"The key to set decoration is noticing the little things."
—Stephenie McMillan

Stephenie McMillian (20 July, 1942 - 19 August, 2013) was the set decorator for the all the Harry Potter films.

Early life

Stephenie was born in Chigwell, Essex, to a toy wholesaler, Leslie Gardner, and his wife, Joan. On leaving Woodford high school for girls, she worked as a secretary in the London office of the architects Stillman & Eastwick-Field. It was there, she often said, that she learned to appreciate space and design.[1]


Stephenie started her career as freelance stylist and spent much time working with photographer Michael Boys on photo shoots for interior design magazines. With the skills she learned there -- how to arrange furniture for photo spreads in magazines -- McMillan segued into decorating for television commercials and then film sets.[3]

Throughout her film career, Stephenie worked with fellow production designer Stuart Craig on 16 of the 28 films she worked on.

Harry Potter series

For a decade, beginning with "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (2001), McMillan dedicated herself to creating on-screen interpretations of author J.K. Rowling's imagination -- Dolores Umbridge's ornate and way-too-pink office, the tangled tower of chairs in the Room of Requirement and Harry's cramped cupboard under the stairs.[3]


Stephenie died due to complications from ovarian cancer at her home in Norfolk, England on August 19th 2013.[1]

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