Couple Says Neighbors Copied Their House

$2.5M lawsuit was ultimately settled out of court
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2017 5:08 PM CDT
Updated Oct 8, 2017 9:47 AM CDT
Couple Sues Neighbors Over Lookalike Home
Stock photo   (Getty Images / DNY59)

A Toronto couple says their multimillion-dollar home is "one of the most well-known and admired houses" in their neighborhood due to its "uniqueness," so they were quite upset when another house in the neighborhood was suddenly renovated to look "strikingly similar" to theirs. Jason and Jodi Chapnik sued the neighbors involved—Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, her builder husband Eric, and her architect brother-in-law—in a case that was ultimately settled out of court after more than three years, but which the Toronto Star is just now reporting on. The Star has pictures and details of the similarities between the two homes, which are little more than half a mile apart, from matching grey stonework to the same shade of blue paint to similar wood panels on the windows and brown front doors that both feature arched lintels.

The Chapniks purchased their home for $3.8 million in 2006 and did quite a bit of work on it over a period of almost seven years. The Kirshenblatts purchased the nearby house for $1.6 million in 2013 and began renovations, and in 2014, the Chapniks say contractors on the project came to their home and "indicated that they ... were copying aspects of his design" and wanted a closer look. The Chapniks say they noticed the similarities between the two designs right away, and that neighbors and friends also noticed and notified them. The couple filed the $2.5 million copyright infringement lawsuit in 2014; the Kirshenblatts never lived in the renovated home and sold it in 2015 for $3.6 million. The Kirshenblatts' lawyer insists the house was modeled after Tudor-style stone cottages and says "to them, the houses do not look the same." Judge for yourself at the Star. (More strange stuff stories.)

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