Hot-pink ‘emoji house’ is eyeing a new owner in Manhattan Beach

The emoji house on 39th Street in Manhattan Beach is for sale.
The so-called emoji house on 39th Street in Manhattan Beach is for sale.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The emoji-sporting hot-pink house that launched a neighborhood brouhaha in Manhattan Beach is on the market.

The beach-adjacent property was listed Monday for $1.749 million, two weeks after homeowners and renters in the El Porto neighborhood raised objections to the paint job at a City Council meeting.

The battle between homeowner Kathryn Kidd and her neighbors started in May, when residents reported Kidd to the city for illegally using her property for short-term rentals, such as Airbnb. After Kidd was fined $4,000 for violating the city’s rental laws, the once-beige property was painted a loud pink, adorned with two yellow emoji faces. The unfolding saga was first reported by Easy Reader News.

Kidd purchased the 1931-built duplex in March 2018 for $1.35 million. According to Zillow, the property on 39th Street was listed in December 2018 for $1.99 million, before it was pulled from the market a few months later. Now it’s up for sale again.


Not surprisingly, the listing makes no mention of the neighborhood commotion over the house or its recent external makeover. Its hardwood flooring, countertops, stainless steel appliances, four-car garage and ocean views are detailed instead. According to property data provider CoreLogic, the median sales price in July for single-family homes in the 90266 ZIP code, based on 22 sales, was $3.063 million, up 30.2% year over year.

Some neighbors think that the painted emojis are intended to mock them. A tongue-wagging face with eyes darting in opposite directions sits above another with a zipper across its mouth. Both emojis feature long eyelashes, a characteristic that neighbor Susan Wieland thinks is meant to poke fun at her eyelash extensions.

Some neighbors think the painted emojis on the Manhattan Beach house are meant to mock them.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The artist who spray-painted the design onto the house, known as Z the Art, posted a photo of his work on Instagram in May with the hashtags #TheEmojiHouse and #eyelashextensions. The original caption, which since has been deleted, read: “Are your neighbors constantly ratting you out? Have they cost you thousands in fines? Why risk a case when you can send them a pretty message?”

Kidd dismissed the idea that the emojis were intended to mock anyone.

“I’m trying not to offend anybody,” she told Easy Reader News. “I did it for the purpose of being happy, being positive, and I think it’s cute and quirky and kind of funny, and certainly was a time for the emoji.”

The city’s hands seem to be tied on the matter. City Council members said they have no control over the design of the house. One member recommended that residents consider suing Kidd.


According to MB Confidential, a local real estate blog written by broker Dave Fratello, some neighbors have inquired about purchasing the property. It’s unclear whether new owners would keep the pink palette, but Fratello posits that the timing of putting the house on the market now is perfect for someone trying to avoid a potential suit or further confrontation.

“What you do with a famous property, if your goal all along was profit, is try to sell it at the very moment that everyone is talking about it,” he wrote. “That’s one way to escape an extended conflict with the government and nearby homeowners.”

Times staff writers Alexa Diaz and Jack Flemming contributed to this report.