Casual Friday : Suing Your Neighbor for Copying Your House, Good Influence(r), The IT chair of the year, My Fav Blush, & More

June 21, 2019

We believe we should all love where we live.

We’re a couple of homebodies, working to uncover the home our home wants to be. And we’re so happy to have you here. 




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Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here. 

We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen. 

Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.

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• Earlier this week, when we were all deeply engulfed in choosing an exterior direction for our house, and sharing so many inspiring designs, a follower sent me this article about a couple that sued their neighbor for $2.5 million dollars for copying their home design. (!!!!) It was right after we shared the inspiration photo for our own home that we fell for…

…Which ironically looks kind of like the homes in the article. Eek! I’m not sure how I feel about the whole thing. I feel for the original owners and architect because I’m sure a lot of thought, money, time and effort went into the design. It’s definitely been churning in my head this entire week. Although it happened a couple years ago, would love to hear your take on it!

• Cane dining chairs are classic but they are also kind of the it chair of 2019. Although it’s hard to find one at a decent price, I searched and search and found and then fell in love with this one! (Thinking of ordering a few for our dining room but can’t decide between black and natural!)

• Yesterday we announced our passion project we’ve been working on for the past two years: Good Influence (r). It’s a series of online courses and a community and our way of passing 10 years of knowledge on. Developing courses is intense, but it’s been something we have poured every spare second into (and yes, a big reason we decided to step away from the podcast). Our first course, Working With Brands, is opening for enrollment mid-July for summer semester. Enrollment is only open for 2 weeks before we close it until fall semester, so if it’s something you might be interested in, sign up to be the first to know Good Influence (r). We’ll be sharing more on the Good Influence(r) instagram page.

• I thought I didn’t like blush, but it turns out I’ve just been wearing the wrong color all this time. I tried NARS Orgasm because it’s a cult favorite and I thought, well, if I don’t like this like everyone else does then blush isn’t for me. But this past week I picked up this blush — BareMinerals Gen Nude in Strike A Rose and I’m here to say, I love (this) blush! It warms up my whole face and stays on all day. Highly recommend!

• On a whim, I ordered these double wide, extra long, blackout curtains for Polly’s room (I got Midnight Blue) on Amazon because I was desperate for the sun to stop waking her up so early. They got here last night and we’re hanging them today on stories. Verdict is out, but they have nearly 5 star reviews so my hopes are high!

• If matching sets are wrong, I don’t want to be right. I’m currently living in this short set.

• Lastly, our Semihandmade cabinet doors are on sale for the first time ever and it’s the biggest sale of the year to coincide with Ikea’s Kitchen sale! (They’re compatible, you know). Our line (as well as all other Semihandmade doors) are 20% off with code SUMMER20! You can use them in the kitchen, bathroom, or media cabinets! See a few ways other people have used the different colors here.


What do you think?

  1. Emily R says:

    At least the copied version is done very poorly. You can tell one is an architect designed home with beautiful materials while the copied version is done by a developer with much cheaper materials.

  2. Lindsey F says:

    That article brings up such a weird distinction.. Bloggers as artists creating spaces that shouldn’t be copied (even though you can’t copyright interior design)….. and yet bloggers make money because people are interested in copying them! All the how-to’s, the swipe up links etc… it’s all so we can copy at least part of your style!

    • Julia says:

      That is a really good conversation starter, Lindsey! We never mind when people are inspired by us–it’s why we list all of our sources! I will say, it does feel icky when people copy a complete room and then market it as their own. But, I mean, I wouldn’t sue! Haha

      • Lindsey F says:

        It would be super weird to copy an entire room! When the Fullmers did the prank where they swapped your girls’ photos for their glamour shots, I was so confused because I didn’t have the sound on and missed that it was a prank. I thought they’d 100% copied your family room into their home, and you were just like “watching a movie with the fullmers!”! I was thinking “that’s soooo weird!” I watched it over and over like “omg. they copied almost every. single. detail.!” Then I finally rewatched it with sound and realized it was still your house with just the pics swapped and everything was right again in the world. LOL

  3. Rachel says:

    Would you sue someone who copied your hairstyle/haircut? It seems unfortunate for a neighbor to copy your house, but petty to sue for it. Am I shortsighted or missing something?

  4. Kundia says:

    My neighbor came over for a dinner party after our remodel with an architect. The very next day I got a text asking for measurements of my island and wall with my cooktop. Two days later, she had all her cabinets ripped out. Copying a design is stealing. It is wrong. Whether you’re an obsessed neighbor or not – you’re stealing someone’s creativity. I’m extra sensitive because I’m a designer and it happens in my field. Quite simply, do your own shit. I will say, you’re pulling images for inspiration is very different. I see nothing wrong with what you’re doing.

    • Tiffany says:

      So….why did you let her do it? Like why give the measurements? Maybe I’m missing something but that seemed pretty in your control?

  5. Annet M says:

    Funny about the makeup name… I’m thinking autocorrect got you good and no else noticed!!

  6. Brooke Pavel says:

    What curtain rod did you pair with these curtains? I think you had linked it on your instagram story, but I’m not seeing it here?:) Thanks so much!!!

  7. Allana says:

    Context: This is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Toronto. The original house is likely worth more than $5M CAD. These owners have the resources to sue!
    To have contractors come by to examine my home to copy it would really upset me. I’m not sure I would sue, but given their investment in the scheme I empathize.

  8. Melissa says:

    Are the curtains more of a navy blue?

  9. Michelle says:

    I’m not sure if i’m the only one, but I always have so much trouble reading your site! The page keeps skipping around/reloading as I read – I think because the ads load unevenly? (This happens on my phone, too.) I really enjoy your posts, but find reading on this site so frustrating. If there’s a solution at my end, please let me know. Thank you!

  10. Bobbie says:

    Interesting that that “on a whim” you purchased the same curtains Jenna Sue just put in her Heights House and posted about it 2 weeks ago…noticing more and more of these “coincidences” around blog land lately.

    • Julia says:

      Ha! I love following Jenna Sue on Instagram but sincerely didn’t know she has these curtains. I posted them on Instagram today and it seems a lot of people have them and love them! They’re great.

  11. Monica Atha says:

    I’ve been a follower of yours for a few years and especially liked your chats on the podcast.

    Lately, the Instagram accounts that I follow seem to have more to do with marketing and influencing than in providing interesting content. I love a good house renovation and look forward to seeing the progress on your new home.

    The program that you have developed and started to promote has inspired me to drop this comment here:

    While I understand that those of you whose primary source of income comes from your sponsors, I’d like you to encourage your influencer followers or students to be sure that their account is not just a form of the dreaded time -wasting infomercials of yesteryear.

    Accounts that used to have interesting content seem to be bombarded with a rambling ad nauseam influencer who is driven to talk about the product their sponsor has demanded they push. It’s not helpful, but rather has caused me to stop following certain accounts.

    Thank you for your fresh and diverse content and your quick and easily identified sponsors’ blurbs.

    • Julia says:

      Our new courses are aimed to especially educate influencers AGAINST a continuous stream of sponsored content. To make that content as educational and inspiring as all of their other content and to aim to please both of their “clients”–the audience and brand.

  12. Venita Dimmick says:

    I have a question about the adorable short set! I noticed they are listed as Tall, but I don’t see an inseam measurement. Would they come to the knees on a 5’4″ semi fit grandma? And is the cute top tummy showing, or does it skim a little lower than the top of the waistband? #Grandmaissues HAHA

  13. Kirsty says:

    Oh my goodness! Can’t believe that neighbour successfully sued. For goodness sake!! The original house is inspired or “copied” from an existing style itself! Cue everyone with a Hampton’s style home suing each other ????????‍♀️

  14. Taylor says:

    Our neighbor painted their house right before they sold it, which happened to be less than six months after we had our house painted. They had their house painted slightly darker, but basically the same! Grrr… Super frustrating. They came over to apologize to us, which was really kind and made me feel better about it, but it kind of made me question how much our HOA cares/pays attention!

  15. Lorraine says:

    Have you considered painting the wood windows rather than replacing them all? Our neighbours had bright teal metal window trim, painted it out black and it looks amazing. More labor intensive but way cheaper fix

  16. Sarah says:

    That house lawsuit is so bizarre to me! It’s not like their house is literally a work of art and so extremely unique like a Gaudí building. It is a known style that is commonly done elsewhere. It’s like doing a DIY replica of someone else’s art. Sure, it’s beautiful, but it will never be worth the same amount as the original. I’d just take it as a compliment and move on.

    • Elaine says:

      We had neighbors pay an architect to design their dream home and then the builder built three more of it in the same section of the neighborhood (literally around the corner. So these are ALL my neighbors) and I totally understand that lawsuit. That’s your intellectual property – the architect’s, the homeowners, etc. that has been replicated with no compensation to you. If they had wanted a house identical to half the others, they would have bought a spec house, not gone custom.

      If not crediting a photo on Instagram is theft, it’s just as bad for the design of an entire house.

    • Mari says:

      I totally agree. You don’t have to have them over for dinner and they’ll probably tire of it anyway.

  17. Bri says:

    Wow, very crazy! Our neighbors went with the same color scheme as us and they are RIGHT next door. Being the only 2 houses in the entire neighborhood with these colors, it does look kinda silly.. I was disappointed, but what can ya do! (Besides sue I guess ;) Our HOA didn’t like it either and now has a new rule in place that you have to have different coloring the than the houses around you, they even asked them to change the color ????

  18. Holl says:

    This is a tough one. I mean could Joanna Gaines sue everyone who puts shiplap in a home? (It’d never happen of course) The “original” home in no way shape or form is truly an original. Just by claiming the Tudor style it in itself is a copy of another architects work and inspired by designs that came before it.

  19. Sarah says:

    I am all for the protection of intellectual property and it would make me furious if I spent boatloads of money on a quality architect and builder only to have someone come over and copy it all. BUT….this is kind of nuts. You can barely even see the original house from the street and a quick jaunt around the neighborhood via google street view shows numerous houses of somewhat similar styles. These houses are just not the same. The original homeowners’ argument raises so many questions: Are you entitled to uniqueness of architectural style in your neighborhood? When is uniqueness considered an asset vs. a liability? How does lot/location play into that uniqueness and value? If the flip sells for a high price, is that not helping the original homeowners? What defines “neighbor” in terms of proximity? It feels like there’s some kind of personal issue lurking underneath the surface on this one…

  20. Caroline says:

    I kind of get both sides of the house thing. On one hand it’s a compliment, but it can also be frustrating! Our next door neighbors decided to remodel in doing so completely changed their color scheme. Which is fine, but their new scheme is identical to ours, down to every detail so now our modest home looks like an attachment to the large, newly renovated home next door! They even planted the same color and type of plants as us.
    To make things worse, we got a new car and soon after they got the same car. In the same color! I’ve given up at this point. I just don’t get it! I mean, right next door? Compliments aren’t wonderful, but at some point it just cramps your style I think.

    • Kim says:

      That is just sooooo bizarre!! I wouldn’t know WHAT to think!

    • Sarah says:

      Ha! That reminds me of a friend who was dating a guy who lives in a group house, and the girlfriend of one of the other guys in the house would see her in an outfit and literally go out and buy the same thing. So they would all go out as a group and sometimes be uncomfortably matching, but the other girl didn’t seem to care. So weird.

    • Lindsey says:

      That is pretty creepy. It sounds like a scary movie plot.

  21. Victoria says:

    If your neighbor is trying to monetize on copying your house, that’s one thing. If it’s just out of inspiration, that’s different. It would be like if you opened a business, and your business-neighbor is copying your storefront, design, business plans, etc. But that’s a business and monetization comes by default. I’d just make sure your home is insured under some sort of business asset, just to protect yourself and livelihood. It may seem tedious but would be worth getting a lawyer who can tell you your options.

  22. Casey says:

    Okay so I work for a property management company that handles weekly rentals in a big beach vacation area. We had one of our homeowners build RIGHT NEXT DOOR to another owner the same exact house. Like same layout same furnishings same everything. Apparently, he outbid him for the lot and the other owner was very spiteful. So now we have 2 homes in our program that are pretty much the same. ????????‍♀️????????‍♀️????????‍♀️

  23. Andi says:

    The house suing made me laugh out loud! A neighbor of ours down the street (maybe 2 blocks away?) just painted their house a very similar color to ours and went with cedar accents, just like ours. I get so excited every time I see it! Like, yes! You loved our house! Can’t imagine being mad about it…

  24. Michelle says:

    As a person who takes inspiration from a ton of other creative people, as well as a person who also aspires to originality, I can see both sides of this lawsuit. We also had neighbors a block over copy our house color about a month after we painted it. They showed up at our yard sale telling us they intended to do it too. It was annoying but completely out of our control. It wasn’t structural and so we just painted it a new color and moved on. The second color we chose was way better anyway and so it was a blessing in disguise. Of course the second color was not a color anyone would ever readily copy and so we sort of had the last laugh. It’s now bright orange instead of a drab yellow. But it would suck to pour your heart and that much money into your home and have your neighbors copy it. Ultimately, people are just people, some are great and some not so great. The house is not close and I don’t think the copy is meant to devalue the property, it’s just an inspired design from less creative people and stands as a testament that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s up the original owners to work out their personal issues and feelings, which they obviously did by being compensated financially. To some people money is more important. People are just people. It’s an incredible opportunity for personal growth to learn to allow others to be, regardless of their intent. If they had made a ton of them in the same neighborhood, where it really did devalue the property, I think the case would have been much stronger. That would have just be a dick move.

    Ironically, this case, to me, represents what blogging is all about. Blogging creates a culture of DIY copies of well designed homes and lives. It’s how I ended up on this blog TBH. White concrete counters. LOL I think it’s just the times we are living in, less creative, but able, people copying more creative people. It’s been happening since the dawn of time, it’s just so much more obvious now.

  25. EP says:

    Something similar happened to my mom. She bought existing house plans from an architect and had it built on a lot she purchased. This plan was extremely unique for the neighborhood in shape and orientation. After her house was complete the contractor turned around and built a mirror image of her home on the lot directly adjacent. He moved one wall a couple feet and it was white instead of gray, but otherwise identical. I think my mom was more flattered than peeved, and they make a cute pair to be honest. While I wouldn’t be thrilled with an exact copy myself, I think about old neighborhoods of row houses, brownstones, or cottages, and all the homes are very similar. No one cares and it lends a cohesive look to the neighborhood.

    • Ryan says:

      My house and the house next door are mirrors of the same floorplan, built in 1925 by the same contractor. He did change the roof style (we have a hip roof and they have a gable roof) and mirrored the brick colors two (red body with white accent and white body with red accent).

  26. Definitely do NOT relate to suing your neighbors over copying. I want our neighbors to copy us. We live on a street of red brick houses from the 60s-80s and ours is one of the only white ones. I was telling my husband maybe I can send a note to all our neighbors like- “give me $$$$ and I’ll get your house painted for you” haha. It would look SO GOOD.

  27. Rebecca Briggs says:

    I’m pretty sure the home owners wouldn’t have won the lawsuit. My parents used to own a home building company and even if a different company built a house that was nearly identical, so long as they tweaked the blueprint slightly there was nothing my parents could do as far as copyrighting it. These home owners didn’t even copy the blueprint by the sounds of it and you can’t copyright a house style, that’s ridiculous. The contractors probably shouldnt have gone to the original owners and said they wanted to copy it but I’m quite sure the lawsuit wouldn’t have held up anyway.

  28. Candice says:

    I agree that a lot of thought, money, time, and effort went into the design, but nothing about the original house seems particularly unique to me. It’s well executed, but they didn’t invent any of those design elements, or the combination of those design elements. There is enough variation and physical space between the two homes that this feels like a gigantic and petty over reaction on the part of the homeowner. Would love to hear more about your take on it, especially as an artist yourself.

    • Julia says:

      I think it was an extreme lawsuit, but it sounds like the copyers were flippers trying to capitalize on the most beloved house in the neighborhood. I think the original obviously looks worlds better and no one would ever mistake the two. And it doesn’t seem like they were right next door to each other (which would call for more action, I think.) In the article they relate architects to artists and I absolutely agree with that. But in this case, it wasn’t the architect who was suing, it was the homeowner–so I am not sure they have a case or leg to stand on.

    • Kate says:

      Also, in the article the owners of the original home admit to getting “inspiration” from a castle in Scotland. It has to be tricky finding the line between inspiration and “theft” of intellectual property…

      • Melissa says:

        I think it was the 2nd home claiming to be inspired by the castle but clearly it was also the neighbor’s house that seemed to influence their design.

  29. Allyson says:

    We have those curtains, in the same color and LOVE them! They are so dark and feel so thick and heavy. Highly recommend to anyone on the fence about them!

  30. KWu says:

    Good luck with the blackout curtains! I’m obsessed with trying to get my son to sleep in a bit more, haha. If those don’t work out, it might be worth looking into the BlackoutEZ window covers or DIYing something similar. They’re basically just thick pieces of vinyl cut to fit the window exactly and attached with Velcro on the sides, so the light leakage is much less than with curtains that stand a few inches away from the window itself. Kind of a pain to roll up during the day to get some light, but very effective for us.

    • Zan M. says:

      Oh, how I wish those had been around 14 years ago! I was so desperate for my child not to wake up with the chickens and to sleep longer than 45 minutes at nap time, I took THUMB TACKS and tacked both sides of the curtain to the window molding, chip clipped them together in the middle, then stuffed blankets across the top of the curtain rod. Every single day. Every single nap time. Mama’s severe sleep deprivation called for ingenuity. And it worked!!

  31. mandee says:

    The link for the chair just takes you to the general chair page on wayfair.

    • Julia says:

      Wayfair loooovvvessss to mess with links as soon as they get traffic. I have no idea why. I found them somewhere else and updated the link. Try this.

      • Mara says:

        So weird!! I searched cane chairs on the Wayfair site and found the ones you referenced near the top of the search. I’ve never met you but once I saw the photo I said, “I bet this is the one Julia likes”, I guess I’ve been a reader long enough to know!
        Ps: they are pretty but do they pass the long dinner comfort test?!

      • Renee says:

        I had cane chairs with a similar edge and they were so uncomfortable to sit in for a longer period of time, the sharp edge cuts into the back of your leg.

      • Cici Haus says:

        I think it’s an issue with the chair itself because even if you search it on the site the link doesn’t work. Totally vote natural though!

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