Credit: Simon Upton
Inside Sienna Miller's charming English country cottage
British actor Sienna Miller is no newcomer to the countryside. In fact, she bought her idyllic rural bolthole over a decade ago. The purchase came after Miller's big industry breaks "Alfie" (2004) and "Layer Cake" (2004); a brief but highly publicized relationship with co-star Jude Law and her subsequent anointment as one of the "It Girl"s of noughties London. "It was a time when there was a lot of press attention on me, and I wanted somewhere to escape," explained Miller, in an exclusive interview with Architectural Digest for its annual September Style issue. "I bought the house on a whim -- it offers a sanctuary. I also wanted somewhere where family and friends could gather. It has a nurturing feeling; it is a home with a heart," said the cover star.
"When I heard that Sienna Miller had recently restored and decorated her 16th-century English country home, after leaving it untouched for nearly a decade, I was thrilled to feature it on our cover," Architectural Digest's global editorial director, Amy Astley, told CNN over email. "Sienna has a very natural, personal sense of style, and her charming aesthetic completely transformed the cottage into a warm, cozy, romantic getaway."
During lockdown, the thatched-roof cottage was given a new lease of life by old friend and Miller's first acting employer, Gaby Dellal: a film and theater director with a knack for sourcing one-of-a-kind pieces from reclamation yards and salvaged goods dealers. Though not a professional interior designer, Dellal's own artfully furnished homes in London and Cornwall were enough to convince Miller. "I wanted a Gaby house!" she said.
Much like the actor's renowned sense of fashion, Miller's bucolic retreat is effortlessly chic -- an appearance we now know requires a lot of work. The decor -- an eclectic color clash here (see above: her pink and green kitchen), an antique sink fixture there -- seems like a happy accident but it actually took Dellal a painstaking amount of time. From firing the building's structural beams in order to get the shade of wood just right ("All the beams were black, which I can't bear. So we burnt the black off—it's so much softer," said Dellal) to insisting each vintage kilim carpet be dyed with all-natural vegetable coloring, Miller's home is masterclass in perfectly imperfect curation.
The rooms are a treasure trove of vintage finds, too, from the twenty steel-framed Crittal windows Dellal found on eBay and the Victorian room divider covered in green and purple chintz, to the blue-and-white ceramic inspired wallpaper dating back to the 1950s. Miller, who was living in New York during lockdown, wasn't able to visit the site for 6 months during reconstruction. "I could not believe the transformation—I knew it had massive potential, but arriving to see this meadow in front of the house planted with wildflowers, I started to cry," she said. "And it was all achieved in such a short space of time. Gaby is a true artist. Everything has a story, like the kitchen cabinets that were made from old school desks, and there is a real sense of place—it is an artistic retreat but not in any sense precious. Every time I stay here, I discover new aspects."