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Toronto couple sues alleged house-copying neighbors for $2.5M

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Justified? Or just coincidence?

An English stone cottage.
An English stone cottage.

Toronto couple Jason and Jodi Chapnik filed a lawsuit against their house-flipping neighbors for allegedly copying the design of their Tudor-style home. The Chapniks sought more than $2.5 million in damages from neighbor Barbara Ann Kirshenblatt, her husband, architect brother-in-law, as well as the home’s real estate agent and contractors. The lawsuit also sought an injunction for the Kirshenblatt-renovated home to be re-redesigned to eliminate the architectural similarities.

The Chapniks claim that their 1935 abode is “one of the most well-known and admired houses in the Cedarvale and Forest Hill neighbourhoods, in a large part due to its uniqueness.” And that the Kirshenblatts’ renovation copied everything from their home’s rough blue stonework to its roofline, paneling beneath prominent eaves, gray-blue window trim, raised chimney stonework, arched front door, cedar-shingle siding on dormer windows, and other details. Kirshenblatt maintains her innocence, citing the many differences between the two homes and claiming the design was inspired by Tudor cottages and the castle from the James Bond movie Skyfall.

Less than a year after Barbara Kirshenblatt purchased a nearby home for $1.6 million and began renovations, Jason Chapnik says that he found her contractors studying his house and that they even approached him, saying “they were building a house nearby and were copying aspects of his design,” according to the lawsuit. Kirshenblatt flipped the renovated house the next year for $3.6 million.

The parties have settled out of court, but it remains a rare case of homeowners claiming copyright over their abodes. See more photos of the two homes from the Toronto Star.

Via: Archinect, Toronto Star