First, nothing like a good debate. Second, we're sorry to have been slow to the fray. Maxwell has been travelling and in and out of Internet contact. Moreover, he's managed to get the flu in transit. So, you know, perfect storm. Thus, we're stepping in as a family just to clear up a few facts. And also to thank everyone, both those with kind words and those with thoughtful criticisms or concerns...
Here's the bottom line: the Gillingham-Ryan's primary residence is absolutely their small rental apartment in Manhattan. They live there all year around. That said, they do own, and have for many years, property in the village of Springs near East Hampton. Without getting into all the gory private and complicated details, the fact is the G-R's do have a summer getaway, and that has never been hidden. Indeed, as noted, Maxwell has blogged about this in the past. Given that they are not in the Manhattan apartment every single day of the year, the "365 day" quote from Oprah is not strictly accurate, and Maxwell probably shouldn't have said that. Chalk this up to wanting to please Oprah's producers who liked the line. We also hope that no one is in their apartment 365 days a year; we all need a break.
That said, the apartment is by no means a tax shelter, or any of the other things mentioned. As for the future. Maxwell has said that he'd like to hold on to the apartment, living there for as long as possible. At this point, that's entirely hypothetical. It could be a place for other family members or friends to take over, or the G-R's could decide to let it go. No doubt we will take this discussion of the ethics of rent stabilization into account. For now, we enjoy our home, have a wonderful relationship with our neighbors and the building's owner. We manage to make a few splurges in some places and are thrifty, very thrifty, in other areas of our life. Everyone divides up their finances in different ways, but that what we do with the money we have is personal. The relevant point here is if we walk the walk, and we certainly do. If anything, perhaps we have not shared enough about the difficulties and challenges we face by living here. Pull us aside at an Apartment Therapy event, we'd be happy to tell you.
Regarding the criticism that we're not involved on the site as much anymore: the sites have grown so large that we cannot chime in on every conversation. We're so proud of how the community supports itself, it is vibrant and lively. We are running a few businesses now, we have a new family and we think the sites work pretty well without us most of the time - three reasons why we're not weighing in heavily to the threads.
We have always wanted Apartment Therapy to be a positive, cheerful place. We don't get snarky, and don't encourage our readers to either. There are plenty of other blogs where that is welcomed and supported. It doesn't mean we aren't interested in lively debate. But when commentary gets bloody or delves into anyone's personal life (ours or our readers), it will be stopped.
For the most part, the overwhelming response to the Oprah show, and anything we've ever shared that has come from our personal life has been positive and supportive. We are going to cut back on how much we share from our personal home from now on, but we hope and assume that most of our loyal and new readers come here for a variety of reasons: the design advice, the store reviews, and the inspiration. That's why we started Apartment Thearpy, and that's the place from which we'll continue to present the sites. We are so appreciative of your support, and we value your constructive criticism.
All the best,
Sara Kate, Oliver, and Maxwell