CEO Maxwell Ryan’s Home Is a Showcase of All of Apartment Therapy’s Design Philosophies

published Aug 27, 2020
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Name: Maxwell Ryan and daughter Ursula
Location: Springs, New York (near East Hampton)
Size: 2,500 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years, previous incarnation 18 years

It takes a long time to build a house, but it can take even longer to live into it and document it. I’ve had the incredible luck to be able to live in this house full-time since March, and to finish documenting it by pulling out all the tips and resources I’d missed before. We were also able to make a video, so you can literally walk around inside of it with me (huge thanks to Karis and Christoper for remotely shooting and editing it all).

This house was years in the dreaming and about two years in the making. It was also super fun to do, and I now understand why people who love homes like to do it again and again. To give you some quick background, I bought the house very affordably almost 20 years ago and decided to tear it down and rebuild only after I realized the list of upgrades I wanted and the house needed was too long to warrant renovation. Additionally, my father had just passed away and left me with some money that I thought better to pour into this house than to put into a savings account. The house was my savings, my biggest canvas to create on, AND I got to live in it.

The biggest takeaway from the house is that it was not only designed energy efficiently but also to support human energy. This is done by designing for the maximum amount of “flow” in and around it. What is flow? It’s the most basic tenet of Apartment Therapy’s philosophy, was inspired by reading Theodor Schwenk’s book “Sensitive Chaos“, and has to do with supporting the movement of energy in and around a home.

“Movement is essential to life and unifying forces underlie the movement in all living things. Good design allows for these forces to flourish in the home.”

Maxwell Ryan

Whenever the movement of energy is blocked, it dies. By keeping rooms open with multiple pathways in and around, by providing for multiple exits and entrances that allow passage in and around life supporting energy flows and never stops. As you tour the house see if you can see all the ways in which the design allows energy to flow through the house.

If you want to learn all about the previous house, the tear down and the rebuild, I documented it from the spring of 2016 until the summer of 2017. After that the indoor finishes were slow and painful. I moved in just before Thanksgiving that year:

All the lovely final pics:

Credit: Karis Danish
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The Black House

If you want to know all about the major ingredients, here’s the timeline, additional beautiful pictures taken by Bjorn Wallander for House Beautiful, and the short list of major helpers: