(Photos) They rebuilt their house to look like a neighbor's house because they liked it so much… and got sued!
Our house, in the middle of our street!
Jason and Jodi Chapnik, a couple from Toronto in Canada, own a beautiful house worth several million dollars, and they're quite proud of if. Which is understandable. So when their neighbor Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, her construction worker husband and her architect brother renovated a house in the immediate area to obtain the exact same house, the Chapniks were upset. The started legal proceedings against them, as well as the real estate company who made themselves a tidy sum from the subsequent sale of the house, as well as all the contractors who worked on it.
(OK, the two doors DO look a bit similar, but not identical surely?)
Maybe this project needed to be reigned in a bit
It's often said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but it appears that the Chapniks don't particularly agree with that statement. They've asked for $1.5 million in damages, $20,000 in statutory copyright damages, $1 million in punitive damages, and a mandatory injunction on the defendant to change the design of the home.
Is that it? Anything else? You sure? A Snickers bar maybe?
Kirshenblatt denied copying the Chapniks' house, claiming that she was actually inspired by Tudor stone cottages, and supplied a bunch of photos to back up her claim. Then again, if you check out pictures of both houses, there's a real similarity:
(The chimneys could be brother and sister)
(The same blue was used for the windows)
Three years later…
The plaintiff, Jason Chapnik, added that in May 2014, some contractors approached his home and indicated that they "were building a house nearby and were copying aspects of his design." Both houses are located at about 850 metres from each other, so initially the neighbors who knew the Chapniks and their house were the first to make them aware of the copy in progress.
Kirshenblatt also claims to have been inspired by castle Eilean Dogan in Scotland, which appears in the James Bond movie "Skyfall".
(The original house, the copy and the castle)
All's well that ends well
The house was sold for the tidy sum of 3.6 million dollars, 2 million dollars more than it cost to buy. A nice capital gain. The judge didn't have time to make a ruling, since an out of court settlement was reached, because enough time and money had been frittered away on this case. We don't know how much the settlement sum was, but was enough to keep the opposition quiet, a tactic that worked for Michael Jackson vs. a bunch of kids.
Many, less fortunate, people all live in the same house…
This isn't the sort of court case that would happen to middle class or working class people, because society's lower rungs all want the white picket fence, the labrador and the 3 bedroom bungalow. Similar rows of houses are even a thing in the UK, like the streets of Manchester:
(A typical Manchester street)