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Goodbye, 'Emoji House' - New Paint Job Closes Chapter on Duplex

May 01, 2020 10:05AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
If you were thinking about visiting one of Manhattan Beach's most notorious tourist attractions, you're too late: The hot pink paint and emojis that made the "Emoji House" famous have been painted over.

The infamous duplex, which sold earlier this year, has been painted a neutral beige color. 

The El Porto house drew international attention last summer when its garish and seemingly revenge-themed paint job drew the interest of curiosity-seekers and tourists. It became the subject of a hot debate about the limits of "artistic expression" on the outside of a residence.

The house went up for sale in August 2019, and after taking several price cuts over the next few months, it finally sold for $1.550 million in March.

Although the new owners apparently want to see the house blend back in with its neighbors, Google still refers to it as a "tourist attraction."

Emoji House Controversy

The nondescript duplex became the viral news story of summer 2019 when its owner painted it a hot pink with bright yellow emojis. 

The story, as first reported by the Easy Reader, briefly went like this: Neighbors reported the owner for illegal short-term rentals (and the owner was subsequently fined by the city.) Apparently angry at the neighbors for reporting the illicit rentals, the owner painted the house hot pink with bright yellow face emojis. The neighbors said that they felt directly targeted by the "shut up" message of one emoji, and in at least one case, personally mocked by the features of another.

The alleged personal jabs intended by the paint job also stirred up a controversy about whether the city could regulate such artwork on a house. Does a homeowner have the right to paint whatever they want on a house? Do neighbors have a right to object? Local real estate blog Manhattan Beach Confidential summed up the debate here.

Curiosity about the house drew visitors to the sleepy street, and the house was featured in news stories from as far away as Jakarta.

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