Published July 10, 2016
There’s no place like home, there’s no place like … wait, that one’s pretty close.
A Long Island couple says an architect ripped off the blueprint to their one-of-a-kind dream house — to build a carbon copy in the town next door.
Rivka Fortgang, an interior and exterior home designer from Five Towns, and her husband, Seth are now suing to block the mansion on Villa Place in Cedarhurst from being built because it will look nearly identical to their own home on Auerbach Lane in Lawrence, just a mile away.
The Fortgangs “constructed their unique home from the ground up, creating a visually distinctive and unique exterior stucco façade” in 2005 and copyrighted the original architectural drawings under the name “Fortgang Residence I,” according to the suit, filed Thursday in Long Island federal court.
The couple claims the firm Pereiras Architects Ubiquitous and property owners Daniella and Ari Schwartz accessed their exclusive plans in property records last August through the Lawrence buildings department — without their permission.
“There is no doubt that you have accessed and intentionally copied the plans of the Fortgang residence intending to create a replica of our clients’ home and distinctive exterior,” the Fortgang’s lawyer Steven Stern wrote in a cease-and-desist letter dated June 7.