Now that you've learned a bit about about designer Claudia Smith and Fig. 2 Design Studio, let's take a stroll through her neighborhood, shall we? Here she takes us into some of her favorite haunts around the Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland area.
Praline and Patisserie Poupon: I'm not a picky eater and am happy anywhere but I have a serious sweet tooth! The best cookies in Bethesda are from a local bakery/restaurant called Praline. Absolutely divine. If you want something less suburban in a more lively area, I vote for Patisserie Poupon in Georgetown. We ordered our wedding cake there and friends and family still say it's the best wedding cake they've ever had!
Cornucopia: For the best sandwiches ever, Cornucopia in Bethesda is delicious. It's not a traditional deli, it's actually just like an Italian grocery store and it reminds of my days in Milan when I was in grad school. Lot's of temptations in a small place. They import everything so it's a little pricey but so incredibly yummy. Plus they serve pignoli cookies. My parents and I go almost every Friday for lunch!
There are a ton of great shops in the area but these are some of my favorites.
Home Rule: A store along the 14th and U St. area. I love the variety of housewares they carry in such a small shop. It's a mini and better curated version of, dare I say, Bed, Bath, and Beyond? Not that there's anything wrong with BB&B, but I feel odd comparing the two! At Home Rule you can find anything from soap and bath mats to curtains and flatware. It's the first place I go to when I need to buy a house warming gift.
L'Eclat de Verre: The bottom floor is a paper lovers dream with gorgeous papers like you've never seen before. It's pricey but so beautiful.
Fifteen Eleven: It's set to open in September, but I bet that Fifteen Eleven, a shop owned by Suann Song of Simplesong Design in Alexandria, will be just as lovely she is. Suann has a great eye and I can only imagine the beautiful pieces she will carry.
Glen Echo Park: Practically in our front yard is Glen Echo Park. My parents took us there when we were little and now we love to take my niece, especially to the carousel! From glass blowing to dance, they offer a variety of classes for all ages.
Great Falls: When the weather is nice we love taking sandwiches from Cornucopia to Great Falls. The views are spectacular and I feel so lucky to have them 20 minutes away. It's funny to think 20 minutes one way and I'm in Great Falls, 20 minutes another way and I'm at the White House!
Upperville, VA and Hunters Head Tavern: Quite a bit further away is Upperville, VA. We take the small roads for the scenic route in the fall to see the trees when the leaves are changing. We cross the river on the ferry and head out to an English style pub called Hunter's Head Tavern. We love it and reminds us of some of our favorite places in London.