September 2009

Binth Studio

by Cat on September 30, 2009

As promised, today we’re taking a look at the studio space of Linnea, Peter, and Suzanna of Binth. Linnea is also giving a little glimpse into what a day-in-their-life looks like. I was amazed to hear that Peter created many of the piece in the studio and we’re not just talking about a shelf or two, but the conference table, chairs and yes, the kitchen cabinetry! Such a beautiful space to inspire their beautiful products.

Tell us a little bit about your studio…

Our design studio is located off the Fulton Market area in Chicago, Illinois. Peter Dunham is the designer behind the look of the space. Peter has worked with private clients as well as corporate design companies such as Herman Miller, as an interior and graphic consultant. Peter is also an incredible woodworker and has designed and built many of the furniture pieces and architectural elements in our space. His use of reclaimed woods, unusual material mixes and attention to craft make our studio a unique and inspiring place to work in. Our design studio and much of Peter’s work on it, will be featured in the Fall Issue of CS Interior Magazine.

What’s a Day-in-Your-Life Like?

We often have 3 or 4 different projects going on at once here. Right now Peter is working with a client as an interior consultant and furniture designer for a new home they purchased. A lot of his time is spent in the shop – below our studio Peter has a full woodworking shop that he has run for the past 10 years – designing furniture pieces and architectural elements. His time at Binth is spent on art direction and creative concepting and when we go to print, Peter is the production supervisor – his eye for detail and craftsmanship is key to the final look and feel of all our products.

Suzanna works full time as a creative director for an advertising agency in Chicago, so her time at the studio is limited to evenings and weekends. She likes to come in the afterhours to work on concepting new product and marketing strategy. Right now she and I are working on a wedding suite for a couple in England – it’s been a fun project as they are huge playing card fans and want to use imagery from our Joker Playing Card Deck as inspiration for their invitations.

I tend to run the day-to-day operations at Binth – making sure orders are getting put together, keeping track of email correspondence and helping out wherever I can in the office. When I am not involved with administration work I focus on creating illustrations for upcoming lines or for whatever project we are working on. Right now, aside from the wedding commission, I am working on illustrations for our next book and a calendar for Binth. When I have time, usually in the later afternoon, I’ve been working on sculpting the figurines for our spring release. This has been a much bigger project than we thought but I’m having a blast working on it as my background is in sculpture and it is fun to get back into it.


Chairs around conference table: Eames DCW

Lounge chair in Suzanna’s office: Eames Lounge

Painting in conference area: “Moonlight” by Anna Kunz

Conference table, shelving, office desks, kitchen cabinetry & architectural elements: Peter Dunham


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Our Booklist: But Who Will Bell the Cats

by Cat on September 29, 2009

Children’s author Cynthia von Buhler has just come out with a new book, But Who Will Bell the Cats. What I found most intriguing was how she chronicled her amazing DIY sets in the making of the book and the upstairs/downstairs world within the castle. It was truly a family affair with her mom sewing the props and her dad helping out with construction! To see how Cynthia built the incredible sets for her book, click here.

“In addition to having written this story, I was also the painter, sculptor, interior decorator, mason, gardener, and plumber of the sets. The rooms were built by hand from wood. The stone walls were formed from plaster. The floors are handmade from inlaid wood, mother-of-pearl, and plaster. The characters were painted in oils on gessoed paper, then cut out and placed in the sets. I photographed the scenes with a Nikon D300. This working blog gives you a glimpse into the process of how I created the sets and characters. I made this blog for my editor and designer so they could view my progress, but now I have opened it up for all to see. Enjoy!” – Cynthia von Buhler

Cynthia at work on the exterior of the castle where the characters live.

Cutout window panels for the bedroom. Her mother sewed curtains and a bedspread
out of vintage fabric.
A wing chair in the library.

Do I see a miniature shrimp cocktail sitting on that plate?

Vintage wine labels served as posters in the wall of the mouse’s room.

Cynthia created the mini ping-pong paddles while her mother sewed the net.

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Giveaway: Binth

by Cat on September 28, 2009

I’m sooo excited because it’s a happy Monday for everyone… Today’s giveaway is a special offer to all Designing Mom readers from the talented designers at Binth! We just *heart* Binth (remember Kira’s post about their adorable posters in her nursery?). They’re here today to share their latest products and later this week I will be posting up a little look inside their gorgeous studio.

And the special offer you ask? Just go to their site and order any of their stationery in the next two weeks and you will recieve FREE imprinting/personalization (see an example below). Just submit your oder and then send them info via: Their cards are so great for parties, baby showers, announcements, even personalized stationery from your little one, don’t miss out on this opportunity!

Tell us a little about Binth:

Binth is a design studio based in Chicago, IL. The principals are: Peter Dunham, Linnea Gits and Suzanna Bierwirth. We have created award winning work for large corporations and design companies. We came together as a group in 2005 to establish the company based on our mutual respect and enjoyment of each other’s work.

Tell us about the popular baby line at Binth:

This is the fastest growing division of our company and one we all thoroughly enjoy designing for. Our children’s division began with our designing what was to become the Binth Baby Book and has gone on to include our posters (Binth Alphabet & Numbers) , our Binth Matching Game as well as a full line of children’s cards and art prints. We are creating an ABC book for the spring of 2010 as well as reprinting (for the 4th time – yeah!), our Binth Baby Book, and due to popular request, we will be releasing the 4th Edition of this book with a new color cover as well as the classic green bunny. Our goal with all our products, but especially our children’s products, is to create original design with quality, integrity and an eye for longevity – both our Binth Baby Book and our posters have already been called “classics” by Cookie Magazine, Blueprint Magazine and many of the parenting design blogs – a great compliment!

Any new exciting products you’re coming out with?

For the spring of 2010 we are introducing a small line of limited edition white & black porcelain figurines. We have a series of birds, poodles, rabbits and chickens – attached are two clay models (these are not the final figurines, but working models for the cast) to give an idea of what the figurines will look like.

We also introduced our Ready-To-Hang, single letter prints in June of this year and have had a great response from our customers as well as press. Look for them to be featured in the October issue of Parenting Magazine.

Thanks for sharing Linnea! We’ll be back this week with a tour of their studio…


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Make: Journals

by Cat on September 28, 2009

by Designing Mom Jackie


4″ x 6″ index cards

2 or 3 pieces of 8.5″ x 11″ graph paper (or any other scrap paper)


pencil or butter knife

optional: computer printer or rubber stamps

1) If you want text on the cover of the journal you have a few options. You can hand write it, use rubber stamps, cut out letters/words from magazines/newspapers, or simply print the words/images directly onto the index cards directly. I used clementine font for mine and after a few tries, got the formatting perfect.

2) Fold each piece of graph paper into quarters and cut along the fold lines.

3) Place the pages together and fold.

3) Use a pencil or butter knife to create a consistent crease with all the pages.

4) Fold your index card in half and smooth down the left hand side with your pencil/knife.

5) Bind the book together with a standard stapler. I suggest three staples – one on each end and a third in the middle. Make sure the the smooth side of the staples are on the outside of the book so they don’t catch on anything.


* For another variation on this project, readers can check out these postcard journals from Design Sponge.


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Binth Giveaway

by Cat on September 25, 2009

Stay tuned Monday for a special offer/giveaway from the talented trio at Binth!

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