The Final Chapter For the So-Called Up House
According to a spokesman for Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios, the charming yellow home that lifts off thanks to a bevy of balloons to set in motion the 2009 film Up is not based on any real residence. But this hasn't stopped people from calling an unassuming bungalow in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle the "Up House." Well, unassuming in all ways save one: Since 2006, the home has been surrounded on three sides by the concrete walls of tall commercial buildings.
Built around 1900, the 600-square-foot was bought by Edith Macefield some many decades ago. Her mother lived in the home while she was abroad in Europe—rumor has it she was serving as a spy for the British Allies. Upon her return to Seattle, Macefield took up residence and moved her mother to a retirement facility. Aghast at the conditions there, Macefield moved her mother home to Ballard, where she died in the house the very next day. After that, Macefield became committed to living the remainder of her life in the home where her mother died, come hell or high rises.
Her refusal to sell as development encroached on her neighborhood turned Macefield into a legend. She reportedly turned down a $1 million offer to sell the two-story home and allow it to be demolished.
Locals began getting tattoos to honor her "steadfastness," a Ballard music festival was named after her, a nearby bar started serving the "Edith Macefield," and a beautiful documentary, part of which you can see below, captured how much she captivated and inspired Ballard-area residents.
Macefield died in 2008. In the final years of her life she formed an intense and ironic friendship with Barry Martin, the superintendent of the construction project she so pointedly and passively resisted. It started with the occasional hello and, by the end of her life, Martin was not only driving Macefield to her hair or doctor appointments, he was scheduling them as well. When she passed, Macefield willed the house to him.
He sold the home for $310,000 in 2009 to a developer whose project fell through. When it went to foreclosure auction earlier this year, the house that could have sold for $1 million failed to attract any bids, although fans from around the country brought balloons to brighten the metal fence out front.
Now, it is listed for sale without an asking price, but listing agent Paul Thomas said a buyer will be chosen this week. Although it's almost certainly destined for demolition—the residential zoning has lapsed—the buyer will need to do more than just match the paltry auction bids. The applications to purchase the home will need to include a plan to memorialize Edith Macefield, and the merit of those memorials will be considered when selecting a new owner.
The now-barren interior of the home can be see in the video from the Washington Post below: