Maker Monday: An Aspire Exclusive Interview With John Randall

A New York native with a background in biology, biophysics and neuroscience, John Randall is the well-known craftsman behind these incredibly inspired home furnishings. Randall founded his full-service woodworking company, Bien Hecho, 15 years ago and can be seen all around the concrete jungle, with pieces in the Wythe Hotel and Brooklyn Navy Yard. The heirloom-quality furnishings are fully sourced, designed and finished by Randall himself, leaving you with an unforgettable piece in your home or something you’re tempted to steal right out of the hotel lobby. Introducing this week’s Maker Monday, John Randall.

This handmade credenza was designed and built by Bien Hecho. The simplistic lines and intentional choices of wood including, Baltic Birch, Butternut, Ipe, all harmonize creating a beautifully balanced piece.

Andrew Joseph: What would your dream project or dream client be right now?
John Randall: A landowner commissioning an outdoor sculptural object I recently designed.

Andrew: If you weren’t a designer, you’d be a ….?
John: An entomologist.

Andrew: What’s your favorite cocktail?
John: Tijuana Twist from Dick and Jane in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Sadly discontinued but lobbying efforts are underway.

If you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, head over to Le Crocodile at the Wythe Hotel. This art deco space was inspired by Brasserie and features Bien Hecho finishing touches including five large antique glass mirrors hung above the bar.

Andrew: Are you a good cook? If so, what’s your specialty?
John: I love to cook but would consider myself average. The most requested dish (when having guests was a thing) was for pizzas from homemade dough and cardamom creme fraiche waffles.

Andrew: Style (or design) icon?
John: The late Wendel Castle, he deftly blurred the distinction between art and craft.

Andrew: Best advice you’d give your teenage self?
John: Buy two pairs of all the sneakers you buy, put one pair in the attic at your parents’ house and don’t touch them!

Andrew: A book that everyone should read?
John: Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

The only thing better than a handmade wooden door… is a secret one. This solid oak double doored entryway has a hidden service door and adjacent paneling to match the grand transom above.

Andrew: Favorite tea to decompress, and in what mug?
John: Fresh lemon balm from my window box with mint and honey, in an old family A.R. Cole mug from the ’60s.

Andrew: Go-to quarantine read?
John: Foreign Policy magazine, a bit of escapism from our national woes by way of international relations.

Andrew: What do you find yourself daydreaming about most these days?
John: The architectural qualities of snow.

Andrew: Which 20-second chorus do you sing while washing your hands?
John: The Congos “Fisherman”.

The final element to complete the newly built lake house designed by Architect Associates, is this Bien Hecho commissioned large solid walnut sofa. This sofa is not only comfortable but highly durable and weighs over 1000 lbs.

Andrew: What about your design style has shifted this quarantine?
John: I’ve been drawn to whimsy, as if to counterbalance the seriousness of the past year.

Andrew: What did you rediscover about yourself during COVID?
John: How much I love collecting records. Physically owning music and no screen involved – a win-win.

Andrew: What’s your new favorite pastime?
John: Propagating succulents at home with my wife.

About Bien Hecho | Founded in 2006 by John Randall, Bien Hecho sources specialty, historic, sustainable, and reclaimed lumber to create heirloom-quality furnishings for residential and commercial clients. Bien Hecho designs and builds interiors that enhance and respond to the history of the spaces it works with. The timeless furniture designs are a staple for detail-conscious clientele who have an appreciation for elegant and sleek craftsmanship and can be seen in the Wythe Hotel, Brooklyn Navy Yard, and 1Hotel. Bien Hecho will launch e-commerce in Spring 2021. For more information, visit

Andrew Joseph is a regular contributing editor for aspire design and home magazine. See more of his work here.

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