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