“When people ask me what I do for a living, I never know how to answer and just tell them it depends on the day,” Stephanie Hornickel says laughing. Hornickel works from home managing a hodgepodge of jobs, and this couldn’t describe her better. As a stay-at-home parent, she spends her days as a visual merchandiser and landscape designer, also creating custom florals. Her tastes vary from English cottage to vintage to eclectic, and she enjoys each day for the variety it brings.
“I hate routine, and when I’m in one, I get antsy and stagnant,” Hornickel says. “I love keeping busy, and I think that’s why I love decorating. It’s not stressful. It’s creating and gives me a chance for some quiet time.”
A mind-set like this is needed for someone who plans to decorate her house with more than 50 odds and ends. Each Black Friday, Hornickel’s husband, Joel, sets out the trees, hangs the lights and brings out the boxes of Christmas decorations; the next weekend is a tradition for the Hornickels where the family hides a pickle ornament and decorates three Christmas trees, two of which are for just her kids and one of which is a themed tree.
This year’s theme took on a botanical feel, and the main-level Christmas tree is what Hornickel focuses on before moving on to the rest of the house. Hornickel says her decorating spurred from her love of design and from her family’s own decorating styles when she was growing up.
“My house growing up was so small, and my mom loved themed trees, but my sister and I wouldn’t allow it because we loved the handmade ornaments,” Hornickel says. “Now, I like to bring in the crazy ideas and fun and with the house all decorated, it feels cozier during the winter months.”
Hornickel has found she also loves the idea of themed trees. But to ensure her two kids get into the spirit of the holidays, she allows them to decorate two smaller trees with hand-me-down ornaments, crafts and gifts.
Most of Hornickel’s decorations are from flea markets or were gifts, crafts or swaps with her sister. Each year, she chooses a new spot for each item. “There is no rhyme or reason,” Hornickel says. “I think that’s also part of being in design is that putting something old in a new place changes the way it looks, and I like that.”