Sometimes the grist of our news comes crashingly fast—as in the story on page 18, You Can't Keep a Bad Boy Down, Morton Sharnik's account of the Dick Tiger-Joey Giardello contest in Atlantic City the other night. More often the news must be sought out, and in some areas many small, seemingly unrelated events disclose a pattern when they are assembled and evaluated. We consider the early spotting and continuing coverage of trends as much our business as the reporting of games or fights. Consider A Four-Level Igloo for Fourteen by Senior Editor Fred R. Smith, beginning on page 44.
Smith reports one family's approach to what used to be called "the little place in the country." In the 1960s the "little place in the country," now professionally better known as the year-round vacation house, or the "second house," or the leisure-and-sport house, has grown into a billion-dollar industry. There are more than a million vacation houses in the nation today, and the number is increasing by 100,000 a year. We believe such a story has a special place in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED because so many SI families (research suggests one in every nine) already own vacation houses or the land on which they may build one.
The $30,000 vacation house described in this issue—for skiing in winter, golf and riding in summer—was selected by Smith and his staff colleague, Associate Editor Lee Eitingon, because of the practicality, beauty and imaginativeness of its architecture and planning. And because its essential principles can be applied not just in West Dover, Vt. but in ski country anywhere.
News of leisure-house trends and examples of fine design in execution are part of a story that began some years ago in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. Accent on the A Frame (SI, Nov. 21, 1960) brought word of a breakthrough in handy, economical construction of a family ski chalet, something less costly and ambitious than this week's West Dover house. Because American families are building themselves new kinds of places on or near the water, we engaged New York Architects Peter W. Webb and Kenneth Mitchell to design The Perfect House on the Water (SI, Feb. 12, 1962) for those who like to fish and cruise. Last winter we described in Happily Alone on Frazer's Hog Cay a breathtaking escape house on a private Bahamian island. Shipshape in the Beach House last summer told of new decorating materials for walls, floors and furniture covering that resist fading, salt water, sand and mildew. Houses That Unsquare the Cube (SI, July 29) took a happy look at the beach houses designed by Andrew Geller.
December 16, 1963
The leisure-and-sport house is a dream assignment for the architect because it gives him a chance to experiment with new ideas and to create atmospheres different from those of workaday living. "The elements one works with," says Andrew Geller, "are sunlight and space."
Architect John Black Lee of New Canaan, Conn., who designed the ski house in this issue, is an ardent skier himself. But give him summertime or a winter excursion South, and he'll head for sails and salt water. One of his present active honors: chairmanship of the Racing Committee of the Darien (Conn.) Sunfish Yachting Association. Skipper Lee, and thousands of other readers, should find particular interest in another trends-make-news story in this issue—Set a Sail on a Surfboard by Staff Writer Hugh Whall. Beginning on page 35, the story describes the zooming popularity of the gutty little Sunfish and its sister craft, the Sailfish.