I've had this link sitting in my draft folder for quite some time. I decided to post it now because I received a couple similar email questions on the topic. The tip is pretty straight forward and has to do with how nested families visibility settings effect their setting in the main family.
Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I will let Jarod explain (he explains it well)...
"In this click saver I want to talk about a nested family issue that recently came up. It had do with a window in an elevation that was being used for presentation purposes. The view was set to “shade” but the window would not display the correct color that was chosen in the material manager.
What was also really weird is it would display correctly in the 3D view so we knew the settings were correct. After checking a half dozen different settings in the view and the family it came down to an off the wall bug with nested families...."
Thanks for the tip Jarod... I hope this helps those of you running into similar issues!