I don’t know that you give yourself enough credit for the appearance and respect for small touches. Elementary quite clearly draws from many macOS ideas, but you guys have also filtered out the incredibly stupid elements to show real, conscious decisions in functionality.
I absolutely despise Finder and find it monumentally more difficult to use than Windows Explorer. Many basic actions you can access through the context menu on Windows are not present on Finder and require obscure keyboard shortcuts or variable-length mouse presses (take renaming, for example). Additionally, Finder “save-as” windows show different sidebar folders from a full-fledged Finder window, which can go from subtle to incredibly irritating rather quickly. None of these issues exist in elementary.
Your unwavering support for slight-gloss is also a testament to this. While I was once a huge believer in the concepts of flat-design, I now think it’s been a disaster and interface design peaked in 2011–2012 before mass adoption of the fad took over (while you guys never budged). Nothing about Windows or macOS stands out as visually appealing anymore. They’re both clean, generally usable but also exceptionally boring to look at. The fact a small team of Linux developers paid attention to this speaks volumes for your measured decisions.