Edith Macefield’s house sold, to be elevated

Updated: The small house that Edith Macefield refused to sell for nearly $1 million has sold to a local company best known for its motivational seminars. The new owners, Reach Returns, say that they’ll keep the home, but elevate it off the ground in a surprising new development called “Credo Square.”

The plan is to preserve Edith’s home, “keeping the outdoor appearance identical,” and elevate it to the height of surrounding commercial buildings. Inside, the home will be remodeled and used as office space. Underneath, Reach Returns says it will create a two-level open space that will be open to the public during regular business hours. Credo Square will feature plants and flowing water, and it will be surrounded by tiles that can be purchased (for $250 on up) featuring your own name and “credo.”

Here’s a sketch of the project. “The Edith Macefield story challenged many people to ask themselves the hard questions,” says Reach Returns co-founder Greg Pinneo. “The challenge she delivered so resembles the message of Reach Returns that we were compelled to find a way to keep the challenge alive. The home needs to be elevated literally and philosophically.”

Pinneo said he’ll move quickly now on securing the necessary permits, which will involve weighing the house to determine how much steel is required to hold it up. “We’re committed in whole heart to the project,” he says, adding that it’s not as complicated as it looks to build.

The Edith Macefield story has grabbed national headlines since the 86-year-old Ballard woman refused to sell, leaving construction crews to build a five-story development around her. Just in May, Disney used the home in a PR stunt to promote the new animated feature, “Up,” which closely mirrors Edith’s story. And for some Ballard residents, Edith has become an indelible part of our neighborhood’s history. “If someone could turn (her home) into something that brings folks together, that would be a great use of the place,” wrote one My Ballard reader several months ago. “I’d hate to see it just get torn down.”

See also: The inside story of the sale of Edith Macefield’s house

Geeky Swedes

The founders of My Ballard

52 thoughts to “Edith Macefield’s house sold, to be elevated”

  1. I don't get it, how are they financing this thing? Are they hoping to make loads of cash with the tiles they are selling? If you look at their website, a 12×12 tile costs over 2 grand. They seem to already be taking payments for tiles on property they don't own yet with no building permits. I'd be suprised if they had more design done than just these two renderings. I'm not going to hold my breath on this thing ever happening.

  2. I'm speechless….

    I was ready to launch into some witty rant on new vs. old ballard or something, but this is so out of left field that I can't think of anything to say.

  3. I don't know much about Reach Returns, but what an incredible way to get a ton of free PR. I'm sure they will go national with this story and get coverage from both the sale and then completion (along with all the coverage as it goes up).

    It is a neat public space concept. It would be interesting to know if there were land use conditions made as part of the sale.

    Quite a spectacular turn for this story.

  4. I appreciate the sentiment, not that Edith would…
    If it becomes a symbol, what is a symbol worth?
    Open space, two floors, and no parking.
    I doubt the veracity of such an endeavor.
    Educate me, please.
    Donated funds?

  5. Looks like Stuart Smalley and the 12 steppers will love Credo Square:

    A place where the conversation is deep and meaningful
    A place to consider what is important and what others think is important
    A place where people consider and think on the great questions
    A place to laugh and cry
    A place to reflect on what went right and what went wrong
    A gathering place
    A place of reunion with each other and with yourself
    A place to start over and a place to re-affirm
    A place to “suck out all the marrow of life…to put to route all that is not life”

  6. Something seems fishy to me. First of all, the square seems like a ridiculous way to make a profit, now the guy shows up here trying to promote a real estate seminar. Theres gotta be a catch.

  7. Given how Edith herself felt about the house, I'd rather see the house destroyed than exploited like this. Some symbols, even (or particularly) beloved ones, should be allowed to die if they cannot live with dignity.

    Or maybe they could make it a historical landmark so that nobody could mess around with it and it could just be. Is that possible?

    PS-I'm NOT advocating any vigilante harm to the house; we've got enough vandalism around here!

  8. Oh, c'mon, this has to be an April Fool's joke in July. I've seen a lot of stupid things in my life, but this really takes the big finger surprise prize. Edith would laugh her head off if she knew these plans were in the works. Or, maybe just shake her head in disgust, laughing at the human condition. How stupid? I don't even know. Just so dumb it defies description.

    She didn't care about sustainability. She didn't care about putting it to the man. She didn't care about new Ballard vs. old Ballard. She didn't care that those of us who were born in California came to Washington, bringing our liberal ideals and New Age credos. She only cared about living out her life in the tiny little house she grew up in and nursed her mother in; she simply wanted to die in the same place her mother died. Those who are putting ideals into her memory, shame on you. This is truly a travesty.

  9. Those are some good points, but I think it's perfectly fair for Ballardians everywhere to imbue the house with meaning that Edith may not have; for better or for worse, her story is one of resistance to a lot of us. Furthermore, if Edith wouldn't have given a hoot, and you think we should respect that, then stop giving a hoot whether people are a little too inspired by her!

  10. Five minutes on the Google revealed this about the Reach Returns dude:


    Seattle Times, Wednesday, February 26, 1997

    Loan-Scam Operator Is Sentenced

    SEATTLE – A Seattle-area entrepreneur who ran a real-estate loan scam has been sentenced to 13 months in prison and a $20,000 fine.

    Gregory Pinneo, 38, was among four people sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge William Dwyer in a so-called “no money down” real-estate-financing scheme.

    According to federal officials, Pinneo led the operation in which banks were told that cash down payments were being made on residential property purchases, persuading the banks to lend the balance of the loan. In fact, the buyers were given only promissory notes called “silent second mortgages.”


    According to a couple of local real estate blogs he uses a sob story about his time in prison in his “motivational” seminars, complete with fake crying.

  11. Yeah, touching story. I seem to recall Greg Pinneo went to jail for something or other related to his chosen profession…

  12. Oh and all of you nay sayers?

    This is a heck of a lot more positive than what the alternative is. Which is the house being leveled, and the space being taken up by the building that now surrounds it.

    You people have no respect.

  13. Edith would want it to be left alone.
    If you folks want a tribute to Edith, pay off the hounds, just leave it alone.
    Can somebody say what it would rent for?
    But somebody will tell ya 'what it's worth', yeah.
    Be at rest Dear Edith.

  14. Where is the lying here? Where is the delusion? Everybody has to have the same take and feelings about the Edith MacField story and what they take from it? So Edith didn't give a hoot about making a statement; she just wanted to finish her life in that house. I get it. That doesn't mean I can't also see in the story a person resisting larger forces that many feel are harming Ballard. Really how is that so crazy? There is a similar issue in literature, which is what a book (or poem, whatever) really means. The answer is not that it means whatever the author meant for it to mean – that's certainly something to think about, but it doesn't rule out other equally legitimate interpretations of that art (the Intentional Fallacy). And so it is with this story here: Edith may have seen things in a much different way than do the people who think of her as really symbolic of resistance or whatever, but that doesn't rule out looking at her story in other ways too.

    And, again, I say: If you're such a stickler for living by the letter of Edith's own beliefs, then lighten up and stop giving such a hoot about how people interpret the situation; she certainly didn't. It might really be said that you, being such a stickler about what other people think about the house, are really less in line with the 'true' spirit of the house story than we are! Relax, man.

  15. This is really the thing I hate the most about the real-estate bubble. Any idiot who stumbled into it during the boom thinks they are gods gift to business, when in reality they just won the lottery. Read the guys bio, he spends most of his time scuba diving and divising bumper sticker philosophy slogans and yet I'm suppose to take career advice from him!

  16. Damn

    I wanted it torn down and turned into a parking lot for Mars Hill Church. Maybe out of respect for “New Ballard” it could be turned into a Meth House with a Graffiti Wall.

  17. This Pinneo person was convicted of a big money real estate scam. This sounds too weird that all of sudden, he's changed his way of doing business?
    This new buyer is already selling tiles? And he doesn't think he'll need permits? Sorry, but once a scammer, always a scammer!

  18. They must be reading this thread. The picture has been changed and no more red eye. Wonder if they realized a sloppy picture that wasn't cleaned up tells something about their professional style?

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