Emoji house in El Porto

The bright fuchsia two-story home on 39th Street in Manhattan Beach, which is decked with two giant emoji faces, has caused a massive stir in the sleepy neighborhood of El Porto, with locals calling it everything from a public nuisance to a safety hazard. (Photo by Jaquelyne May)

The Emoji House in Manhattan Beach is now for sale.

And that’s not all...more emojis may be on the way. 

The fuchsia house painted with two faces on 39th Street was listed on the market Monday at $1.749 million, amid an ongoing feud between owner Kathryn Kidd and her neighbors over the standout home.

Kidd said she’s selling because of the city’s continued ban on short-term rentals, which she advocates is wrong. 

“Families and children should have rights to the enjoyment of coming to the beach and if I can’t use AirBnB as my platform...I’d rather take my money and invest it in another community,” Kidd explained of her decision to sell.

“I’ll just take my money elsewhere...I am about doing AirBnb to help families and I don’t think the privileged should be allowed the right to special places in the world,” said Kidd who added she rented to those who could not afford expensive South Bay hotels. 

Short-term rentals is initially what kicked off the drama when Manhattan Beach fined Kidd $4,000 in May for operating a short-term rental. The home was painted shortly thereafter to the chagrin of her neighbors. 

But, Kidd added, she also has plans to have artist #ztheart add another emoji to the home sometime this week.

“I think I’m going to do a happy face with a surfboard like an emoji surfing,” she said, noting she is not concerned about whether the paintings will affect the resale value of the home. “Actually my broker thinks there’s going to be a bidding war on this property.”

Realtor Johnnie Stiegler, the vice president of Lyon Stahl Investment Real Estate and the listing agent of the home, said he wasn’t sure how the unique facade or controversy would impact the sale of the home.

“I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, I’ve never sold a property with an emoji on it,” Stiegler said. “I have had a lot of activity and a couple of neighbors inquire about the property.”

Residents of 39th Street have claimed Kidd’s painting of the home was an act of retaliation after she was reported for operating a short-term rental and have since urged the city to intervene. 

But, despite the locals' pleas, the city has been unable to do so due to a lack of legal provisions to define and regulate the painting.

“We’re doing this because we live on this street and while we’re most affected by this mural, the entire town is affected by this mural,” said neighbor Dina Doll. “We’re taking a stand for what we think is right not just for our street but for the entire city.”

The issue of outlining the city’s legal capacity to handle the situation is set to come before the local planning commission Aug. 28. 

“As it stands right now, I think that we need to go through the process to determine what we can actually enforce,” said City Manager Bruce Moe in an interview Aug. 7.

Kidd maintains her choice to paint the home, including any new artwork, is purely aesthetic and not aimed at offending anyone.

“It was more my personal preference...but it was not in a vindictive way. It was not to upset a neighbor or anything,” she explained, adding she has painted other buildings she has owned in the past in bright colors. “I just really think it’s cute. I think it’s happy. I know I’ve been accused of eyelash extensions that I’m picking on a neighbor. I have eyelash extensions.” 

But, Kidd added, she is hoping to make a statement against short-term rental bans with the continued addition of artwork, regardless of what the next homeowner does with the property.

“Whoever buys it may paint it over, may knock the building down, but at least I made my statement,” she said, continuing to describe the statement as: “I would say be happy, be positive, enjoy life and just be colorful. The world should be full of color. And let people enjoy short-term rentals. Not everybody can afford a $2 million home...this is awful that people cannot come and visit such a beautiful place.”

When asked if she was concerned about her neighbors might feel about more emojis, Kidd said there are more important concerns at hand.

“I think they ought to see the bigger picture and really see all the severe problems in our world that should be focused on,” she explained.  “It’s more important for me to make the statement because no matter what I do not everybody is going to be happy.” 

Contact Lisa Jacobs lisa.jacobs@TBRnews.com or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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