"This is all one big space for them," she says of the indoor and outdoor spaces. "It's one big area for all of us to hang around in."
Living in a modern home may encourage kids to go outside and play—but that doesn't mean they don't love their screens. "One of his first words was iPhone," Melissa says of Patrick. "Isn't that terrible?"
Jamison, she says, "has to earn his technology throughout the day," by helping around the house, eating his meals, and exercising. In return he gets "15-minute tech breaks," where he's free to do as he pleases with the iPad—often playing the game Plants vs. Zombies.
As promised, the openness of modern homes does let parents keep an eye on their kids without much trouble.
"There are not a lot of hiding spaces," Melissa says. "The kids are always out in the open and we can see them wherever they are."
The togetherness that comes with living in a modern home has benefits other than ease of surveillance. "There's more of a sense of being familial in our house," Melissa says. "We all see each other all of the time."
"Because it's a big, open space, it gives them a sense of confidence," she says. "That's what I think. That's what I hope. It's what I'm trying to give them."
The visual openness can also provide surprises—of a good sort—like the time Scott San Filippo caught sight of his mother reading to Dash through several layers of glass wall. "As I looked up and across the atrium, it was such a beautiful sight to see through the glass to the two of them, Dash wrapped in his grandma's arms while she read to him."
"The positive is, you can be anywhere in the house and look across and see where your wife is, where your kid is," Scott says. "There's that sense of togetherness and security, especially when he's young. You can keep your eye on him wherever you are."
But being able to see your child cuts both ways.
"The fact that I can always see them is great," Melissa Beard says. "The fact that they can always see me is not."