Meet Our Family: Joni Scalzo & Liz Johnson

Joni and Liz, our holiday decorating team

Joni Scalzo and Liz Johnson, the creative duo behind our holiday decor, spread cheer one season at a time. Seemingly overnight, each of our cafés has been transformed into a winter wonderland with frost-dotted windows and pine saplings, jewel-toned ornaments and bows of greenery.

“I love decorating for Macrina,” Joni gushes. “It’s organic and creative. And I’m always surprised by the little things that can become everything. We’ll find one little thing that we’re inspired by, like an ornament, and we’ll take it apart and tweak it and turn it into something different.”

Joni’s mile-a-minute, inventive spirit is not only inherent, coming from a big, creative family, she has nearly three decades of experience with Nordstrom. During her tenure, she worked her way into its visual department, a place that has turned holiday merchandising into an art. Joni credits Nordstrom for teaching her everything she knows, including finding ingenious opportunities in each decorating challenge.

“We always have a plan but roll with everything that comes up,” she says. “If I forget a pumpkin, we’ll make it out of something else. We’re pretty organized and methodical but sometimes we’ll do something that we like better than what was planned. It just always works out.”

The day after each holiday, she and Liz begin brainstorming for next year. They find inspiration in the glossy spreads of Country Home and Coastal Living and on the shelves of World Market, Anthropologie and West Elm. Subtlety is key for keeping our customers and staff happy while infusing our cafés with a bit of festive flair, but Joni and Liz continue to wow everyone each season. They can’t help but let that spirit spill into their homes as well.

“I get really excited about the decorations at Macrina and then they’ll show up at my house!” chimes Liz. “Like those wooden disc cutouts; I put those on my Christmas list. Or burlap; I got excited about burlap a while ago, so I took framed pictures and wrapped the mat in burlap.”

Liz admits that being a full-time decorator can get a bit hairy (and dirty) at times. She recalls finding herself covered in spray adhesive and strips of birch after decorating for Thanksgiving. But, she says, it’s totally worth it.

“It can be exhausting, but when you’re done it’s the best feeling. It’s a high!”

And with that the two fall into step, discussing decorating plans for the next holiday: Valentine’s Day.