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See Through: French Glass Doors Connect & Divide Kids' Rooms

How one Tacoma family of five creates private space, shared space, and spaces that combine both



The Bowman family convenes in a common area in their North Tacoma home.

PHOTO: JOSHUA HUSTON

Natalie and Jake Bowman, and their three kids, Violet, 6, Gus, 4, and Faye, 1, have found a beautiful way to cultivate lasting relationships in their family: transparency. Glass, to be specific.

The family lives in a North Tacoma home that was built in 1900. They bought the home with already installed restorative updates and improvements as well as charming vintage details from the original build, including heavy pocket doors with intricate detailing, push-button power switches, classic brass light fixtures, a wood-burning stove, crown molding, carved designs on the window sills, and original hardwoods throughout.

The classic kitchen contains a white Viking range, checkerboard flooring, and white cabinetry. Their large lot (9,000 square feet) allows for lush landscaping, fruit trees and berry bushes, and plenty of space to host communal events like Easter-egg hunts and the annual White Elephant/Karaoke Jam, now seven years running.

Perhaps the home’s best details, however, are the glass French doors between the children’s bedrooms. The open, whimsical feel is reminiscent of the children’s room in Mary Poppins. The kids “rarely close the doors,” says Natalie. “They even sleep with them open. It makes the rooms feel shared, but there is still plenty of privacy for each of the kids.” The open doors allow the kids to run in circles and go back and forth between each other’s rooms, often setting up superhero worlds in Gus’s room and creating neighborhoods and restaurants in Violet’s room. The open doors also offer comfort for parents and kids—Gus and Violet feel secure being close, and the glass door to Faye’s room allows the family to check on the baby without disturbing her. A vintage, built-in baby monitor!

The home boasts four bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor, so the entire family sleeps on one level. Looking ahead, Natalie says, “I suspect there will come a point when Violet outgrows [having her door open] and wants her privacy, but I hope that phase is far in the future. They are best friends right now, and it is awesome to watch them play together.”

They’ve also been able to pitch in with the décor now and then, choosing paint colors for their rooms (white paint with rainbow decals, please!) and helping to rearrange and organize depending on that week’s project or play.

Natalie does admit that she fears a slamming door during a tantrum, but “nothing drastic has happened yet.” The doors will occasionally be closed, but not often. For example, when Violet had a sleepover with ten of her friends, they proudly hung a large piece of fabric over the glass to keep boys out. The fabric, addressed to the girls themselves, read, “No One Belongs Here More Than You.”

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