The Best Materials for a Luxurious, Family-Friendly Home in Lake Charles | Louver Shop of Louisiana
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The Best Materials for a Luxurious, Family-Friendly Home

**This article is a guest post by Susan Hill, the principal of Susan Hill Design Group, and appears here and on her website. Enjoy!**

“This is why we can’t have nice things…” Have you ever noticed yourself thinking these words before? It’s a frequent phrase tossed around amongst homeowners, and if you’re a parent, maybe you’ve whispered the words yourself as you found another Picasso-inspired Sharpie work of art on your living room wall.

Lots of families believe that in order to accept the messiness of life and all its moving parts, the decor of their home has to waste away. Today, I’m going to dismiss this myth permanently!

As the principal at Susan Hill Design Group, I can tell you with full objectivity and years of experience: you really can enjoy nice things. In fact, the ideal nice things will both look good and endure concerned toddlers, sporty teens, shedding pets, and a cluttered spouse all at the same time. Here’s what I advise…


1. Quartz for Countertops

Quartz is a very resilient, man-made surface that is a great option for countertops in a busy kitchen. What does quartz have going for it?

  • As opposed to granite, quartz will never need to be sealed and is comparatively maintenance-free.
  • Its heavy-duty strength matches concrete and won’t chip or crack.
  • Quartz looks high-class and keeps its sheen for quite a while.
  • It appears like natural stone, with veining, swirls, and patterns similar to marble or granite, and an assortment of colors ranging from browns, blacks, blues, reds, and creams.

Your kiddos’ spilled lemonade (or your spilled red wine…) is no problem. Effortlessly wipe it clean with soapy water, and there's no etching or staining like you’d face with marble.

Above: When this family of five contacted us about creating an interior design for their modern-style, new build in Charlotte, we knew that multiuse, family-friendly spaces and sturdy materials were a top priority. Quartz was the best choice for their kitchen. The space is light, airy, and great for meal prep, homework help, family life, and easy cleanup. Style isn’t compromised at all, am I right?

Pro Tip: When picking out your slab, be sure to stick with quartz that is manufactured in America or Europe for the strongest quality material.

2. Performance Fabrics for Upholstery

Not that long ago, performance fabrics were usually reserved for outdoor use only. Now, we employ performance fabrics in lots of ways and in rooms you’d never think of. The same qualities that make it ideal outside — resilience, stain resistance, fade resistance, and water resistance — are really practical to keep indoors too!

What items can be generated in performance fabrics?

  • Sofas
  • Chairs
  • Bar stools
  • Rugs
  • Window treatments
  • Even pillows!

Where do we like to incorporate performance fabrics?

  • In heavily used areas, like a dining area, entryway, mudroom, or living area
  • On decor where kids and pets gather
  • In any spaces with heavy sun exposure (to avoid fading)

The cherry on top? Today, there are many different types of fibers being used to create new, innovative fabrics that are more sustainable. Recycled water bottles are being blended into fabrics and PET fibers are woven into rugs that feel sooo lush and soft to the hand but clean up no problem. I’ll guess you would never know it if you were standing on a PET rug!


Above: Performance fabric was our number one pick when decorating this family-friendly home. On the left, we dressed up this sunny spot with fade-resistant fabric that will keep the cushions looking their best. Right, a bench capped with a durable, stain resistant cushion and throw pillows delivered an inviting area to tie shoes or organize a backpack to prep for the day.

3. Washable Paint for Walls

In my view, washable paint is a no-brainer! A home loaded with activity will swiftly have an effect on your walls: smeared fingerprints, scuffs from dropped shoes and bags, splattered food in the kitchen, a rainy-day game of chase in the halls, and a wet, full-body shake from Fido all leave their marks in place. And who has time for constant re-touching?

Strong, washable paint will come clean with a soapy scrub and substantially extend the life and beauty of your painted walls. So, which should you choose?

  • Eggshell, satin, and semi-gloss are superb, wipeable surfaces.
  • If a matte finish is your favored look, there are more choices becoming available as well. Ask your designer or paint professional about your favorite colors.

Above: You could be amazed to know that this soothing office space is hidden away in a hectic household. For the built-ins, I opted for this charcoal-tone satin paint with a peachy neutral on the wall. It feels soft and stylish, but you better believe that it’s scrubbable…just in case.

4. Cordless Coverings for Windows

I adore traditional drapery, but for families with young children, I usually gravitate towards cordless window treatments that won’t present a risk for toddlers who like to explore their surroundings. What do I prefer as an alternative?

All these choices provide privacy, light control, and are simpler to clean than fabric curtains. And, you can make quick and simple adjustments to keep them out of reach of little hands. They also come in a variety of color, construction, and finishing options so that compromising style is never an issue!


Above: In this contemporary, family-friendly home, we helped design the black-framed windows to bring the outdoors in. As a child’s space, we decided on “barely there” roller shades for privacy, fast cleaning, and a minimal look that complements the architecture of the home.

5. Site-Finished Hardwoods & Tile for Flooring

I’ll offer up a little secret: site-finished hardwood floors, in any species of wood, are quite easy to maintain. Site-finished requires that the wood is shipped to your home raw, from the mill, installed in your home, and then sanded and finished to your precise specifications.

If this feel new, guess again. This is the way hardwood floors have been installed for hundreds and hundreds of years! Here’s why I love it:

  • Site-finished floors are flexible and easy to maintain
  • They look and feel smoother than pre-finished floors
  • They can be refinished over and over again, giving you the freedom to customize them in many different ways.

On the other hand, tile is your “BFF” (best flooring friend) when it comes to any wet space, such as mudrooms, laundry rooms, and bathrooms. Tile cleans up well, withstands stains, and is tough and sturdy. Just take care to choose a non-slip, non-skid material by looking at the “wet coefficient” — this will keep it safe for everyone, of every age!


Above: When pets are an essential part of the family, hardwood floors are the best choice for toughness, ease of use, customization, and maintenance. Site-finished floors are actually really forgiving, making them an ideal choice in a new build.

Final Tip: Lean on the Experts

Now you understand, right? You can have sophistication and a space that meets your life's needs! When planning your new home, renovation, or refresh, consider the stage you are in now and how your needs might evolve over time. Then, reach out to the experts for help! Who should you call?

If you’re building or renovating, an interior designer is your greatest resource for designing a home — top to bottom — with materials that look good, function for your family, and are built to survive. If you aren’t searching for a full solution, just pieces here and there, talk to the specialists in their respective fields: window treatment pros (like Louver Shop of Louisiana), your local countertop stone and paint suppliers, etc. There is no substitute for experience!

Until next time, I hope you get a little (or a lot) closer to a home with you at its heart.


Susan Hill is the owner and principal of Susan Hill Interior Design Group, where they believe in homes that support a family’s lifestyle and stand the test of time. For 20+ years, she and her team have served Charlotte, NC, and the surrounding areas with custom home design, construction management, and complete interior furnishings.