Caruso Family Charities: Nash and Silas

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Nash Ogden is 5. He is a red-headed boy with a big heart and a ton of energy. But he misses his two siblings.

In the summer of 2012, the Ogdens welcomed Nash’s little sister, Dahlia Blue. Dahlia was born with terrible epilepsy that caused a multitude of medical and developmental issues. She was deaf, blind, unable to sit up walk or talk. The Ogden family moved to Denver from Durango to be closer to medical care and resources for Dahlia. In May of 2014, just shy of two years old, Dahlia passed away due to complications with her disease. We never knew the etiology of the epilepsy and she died without a diagnosis. Four days after Dahlia’s passing, the Ogdens learned they were going to have another baby. Courtney Ogden said, “We were nervous but the doctors were reassuring.”

On January 9, 2015 Silas River was born. Courtney said, “He was our first child without red hair, but he seemed healthy and we were so happy.” When he failed his newborn hearing screening, the Ogdens knew something was terribly wrong. In March, doctors confirmed Silas had the same neurological condition that had taken Dahlia.

During this devastating and heartbreaking time, the Ogdens put Silas into hospice care through Children’s Hospital. Then they met Jerry and Karen Caruso. Caruso family charities was able to help cover bills and expenses that were mounting.

“This money was more than a gift because it bought me time with my precious son during his very short time in my arms,” said Courtney.

“Before Dahlia’s birth, I worked as a full-time school teacher. As soon as she was born, I was no longer able to work, as I became the full-time caregiver for my child. My husband is an engineer and even with his job we were unable to pay all the medical bills. We qualified for little to no financial assistance programs. We were sent to collections for medical bills after our daughter died.”

Financially they felt destroyed by the medical system. “Taking care of a dying child is hard enough and then when you add the financial burden it becomes unbearable,” said Courtney.

“Because of the Caruso Family Charities, I was able to stop focusing on the financial burdens of what we were going through and focus on spending time with Silas. Once our bills were paid, we were able to buy a van to take Silas on some pretty awesome trips between hospital visits during his short time with us.”

On February 25, Silas joined his sister in heaven. Silas only lived for 13 short months, but the months were full of love, joy, and excitement. Silas traveled from Colorado to Minnesota, through South Dakota and to Mount Rushmore and the Badlands.

During Silas’s lifetime, Children’s hospital was able to do further genetic testing and found that Silas and Dahlia both suffered from a rare genetic disease with only about 40 reported cases.”This diagnosis, even though it did not give us a cure or treatment options, was a relief to my family,” said Courtney, “We finally had a name to this disease that had devastated our family.”

“I cannot ever thank the Caruso Family and Caruso Family Charities enough,” said Courtney, “The kindness and generosity of this charity are unmatched. I feel so honored to share my story, as I want everyone to know how their donations help real families dealing with real life problems that are devastating. Know that your donation can help take the stress of a family like mine and give them what they deserve. Time with their sick loved one.”

“Not a day goes by that I don’t miss my sweet angels. But as I look back on the pictures and treasure the memories, I am so thankful to have had the time to create the memories. The time was especially beneficial to my son Nash, who missing his siblings every day.”

When donating to charities, you have a lot of choices. But with Caruso Family Charities, the money you donate goes straight to the moms and dads who so desperately need the help. Jerry meets the families and gets to know what their needs are; he is also able to deliver quickly which is so important when your child is living with a life-limiting illness.” Courtney said, “Please share my story. We are real people living in unreal circumstances, thank you so very much for listening and thank you for everything you do for the Caruso Family Charities.”

We wish to thank Courtney Ogden for sharing her story and photos of her beautiful children at our Comedy Night fundraiser this year.

If you or your company are looking for a local non-profit to support, please consider Caruso Family Charities.

The Pros & Cons of 5 Kitchen Island Styles

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When most people think about their dream kitchen, the island typically isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, your kitchen island plays an important role in both the style and the functionality of your kitchen design. It is important to select the island that best fits your home so that you can fully enjoy your time in the kitchen. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of 5 unique kitchen island styles.

1. Galley

A galley island serves as more than mere counter space. Typically, a galley is utilized for both appliances and storage, with an installed sink, dishwasher, or stovetop burners often making an appearance. Although relatively basic and streamlined, the galley offers a straightforward functionality that fits virtually every kitchen in both size and style. This island is versatile, acting as a table, workspace, or storage area.

If the galley island possesses any flaws, it’s that many homeowners consider it to be boring. The shape is not particularly eye-catching. However, with the proper countertop materials and cabinetry design, your galley island can add a lot of style to your kitchen.

Kitchen Island: Galley

2. L-Shaped

Think of the L-shaped island as the sectional sofa in your kitchen. It offers plenty of counter space, plenty of storage space, and an eye-pleasing shape that makes a large kitchen look quite nice. The extra counter space makes an L-shaped island excellent for entertaining, as you can place countless platters of food for serving. Additionally, you can draw up plenty of bar stools to the counter for casual breakfasts or late-night snacks.

The primary disadvantage of an L-shaped island is that its size and shape can overcrowd a small kitchen. L-shaped kitchens typically work best in larger, more open kitchens with plenty of walking space. Additionally, the large corner tends to eliminate storage accessibility.

Kitchen Island: L-Shaped

3. Circular

If you have the room to spare, a circular kitchen island offers a fun alternative to the straightforward galley. These islands come in both full-moon and half-moon shapes and offer an abundance of counter space. Often, the curved edge stretches out longer than the cabinet base, allowing you to pull chairs around the edge as a permanent seating arrangement. The visual effect of a circular island is unique and striking without sacrificing any counter or storage space.

Working your way around the circular layout can be a little inconvenient at times. Additionally, the curved cabinet space makes it a little difficult to store appliances with straight edges. However, not every circular island features curved cabinetry; some simply offer a curved countertop on top of a standard rectangular cabinet.

Kitchen Island: Circular Kitchen Island: Circular

4. Multi-Level

A multi-level island combines a higher counter intended for dining with a lower counter intended for working. The higher counter works great for casual dining or as a place for kids to do their homework. Additionally, the stacked counters are visually appealing and make an attractive statement in a modern kitchen.

The primary drawback of a multi-level island is its loss of versatility. While it’s true that you can use the eating area for working, reaching between the two levels is a little inconvenient.

Kitchen Island: Multi-Level

5. Furniture Style

Finally, a furniture-style kitchen island combines a beautiful, graceful design with the standard island workspace. This type of island often resembles a side table or even a full dining table. Rather than the standard cabinets and shelves, a furniture-style island might offer one open shelf on the bottom for baskets, pans, or books. This type of island is essentially all workspace and eating space and does not typically feature a sink or stove.

While a furniture-style kitchen island is beautiful and makes any kitchen look stately and elegant, it does carry a disadvantage in its lack of storage space. However, if you already have plenty of storage space in your regular cabinets and pantry, consider the beauty and stylistic element of a furniture-style island.

Kitchen Island: Furniture Style

Do You Have More Questions?

For over 30 years, Caruso Kitchens has created thousands of award-winning dream kitchens for Colorado residents. With over 150 years of combined experience, our skillful designers will help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an interview, call us today. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.

Caruso Family Charities: Chanelle Billot

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Chanelle Billot is a beautiful 4-yr-old girl who was diagnosed with Retina Blasphoma, a cancer of the eye. Her parents Mikki and Anthony exhausted their savings to try to save her eye. But when the tumor began to grow into her brain doctors had to remove her eye. Insurance doesn’t cover her prosthetic eye, since it’s considered cosmetic.

Every year she will have to undergo this painful $4,000 surgery to replace the prosthetic until she’s 25.

Fiori d’Italia, a close partner of Caruso Family Charities, stepped up to help at their Bocce Ball Tournament on April 23. They donated all the money raised to help Chanelle and all the lovely auction items were gifted to the family as well.

Very special thanks to Micky’s Top Sirloin for not just hosting but donating the venue and the food proceeds. Micky’s helped us reach our goal of raising enough money to cover the surgery. Give him your business.

Fiori d’Italia (flowers of Italy) is a non-political, non-sectarian organization formed to learn and promote our Italian heritage while socializing and having fun.

If you or your company are looking for a local non-profit to support, please consider Caruso Family Charities.

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6 Kitchen Technology Ideas to Include in Your Kitchen Remodel

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If you are in the process of remodeling your kitchen, why not consider adding some time-saving technology? With today’s technological advancements, your life in the kitchen can be even more fun and convenient. Build a modern kitchen using some of our technology ideas to include in your smart kitchen remodel. Here is a list of our 6 favorite kitchen technology ideas.

1. Virtual Assistant

A Google Home or Alexa can make life a lot more convenient in all areas, but particularly in the kitchen. Need to set a timer for the oven or stove? Just ask your virtual assistant to help. Looking for a few fresh new cooking ideas? Ask Alexa to share some ideas. Play background music, keep track of recipes, and more with a virtual assistant located in your kitchen.

2. Charging Stations

Additionally, setting up a few charging stations around your kitchen allows you to keep your phone or tablet open for music or recipes. Or, a charging station located in a drawer keeps cords out of sight while allowing you to charge everything in one consolidated area.

3. Touch-Activated Faucets

You probably know the pain of trying to turn on your kitchen faucet with a hand covered in raw chicken, oil, or dirt. With a touch-activated faucet, a single tap from your wrist or elbow turns the water on, preventing cross-contamination between your hands and the handles.

4. Smart Appliances

To really update your kitchen, consider investing in smart appliances. A smart fridge has wifi and a touch screen, allowing you to make grocery lists, access music, and more. Likewise, a smart oven can be controlled from your smartphone, so you can get it preheating while you are on your way home from work. Motion-sensing trash cans and faucets also make life a little bit easier.

5. Smart Cookware

Have you ever heard of smart cookware? Coffee pots and slow cookers can be pre-set or controlled from your personal device to start brewing or cooking at a certain time. This eliminates the need for you to be present to attend to your pots and pans. Instead, wake up to a fresh pot of coffee or come home to a hot dinner, all with the click of a button.

6. Smart Lighting

Finally, don’t discount the merits of smart lighting in your kitchen. Automatic lighting as well as dimmable lighting help personalize the atmosphere of the room. Don’t forget to invest in an energy-efficient lighting system to save money on your utility bill.

Are You Ready for a Professional Remodel?

For over 30 years, Caruso Kitchens has created thousands of award-winning dream kitchens for Colorado residents. With over 150 years of combined experience, our skillful designers will help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an interview, call us today. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.

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Caruso Family Charities: Cooper Wilson

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Cooper Wilson, an adorable 18-month-old boy, was born with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January 2015. Cooper spent the first 5 months of his life in the hospital receiving chemotherapy and was ultimately in remission. Cooper was able to complete his treatment in May and go home to his parents’ home in Evergreen. In May 2016, Cooper relapsed with AML and was readmitted to PSL/Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. He has undergone two cycles of chemotherapy and must remain in the hospital for 30-40 days during each cycle. Cooper was able to be discharged following his last cycle and will be readmitted the first week of August. As part of his treatment, Cooper needs a bone marrow transplant and will be transferred to Children’s Hospital in late August.

While undergoing chemotherapy, it was discovered that Cooper also has pulmonary hypertension and cannot return to his home in Evergreen due to the high altitude. The family also found that they have mold in the home and are unable to expose Cooper to the infection risk. They are currently on the waiting list at Brent’s Place and Transplant Living Center and are staying at a hotel in the meantime. Cooper’s father Eric has had to take several weeks off of work to be with Cooper during treatment and he and his wife Danielle are feeling the weight of the financial burden.

Eric and Danielle are committed to Cooper’s frequent medical care and have remained at his bedside throughout each hospitalization. Caruso Family Charities was there to help too. We immediately provided assistance to cover hotel expenses and are removing the mold from the Wilson home.

If you or your company are looking for a local non-profit to support, please consider Caruso Family Charities.

10 Expert Kitchen Design Tips

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Are you interested in redesigning your kitchen but don’t know where to start? The kitchen remodeling process can seem overwhelming at first, but once you break it down, it becomes both fun and rewarding. Consider our list of 10 expert kitchen design tips to produce your dream kitchen.

When applying the following tips, make sure you keep a detailed journal of your decisions, budget, and vision. It’s easy to forget small details in the big picture, so write your plans down as you work through the following process.

1. Begin with the layout.

Every great remodeling project begins with the layout. Even if you can’t draw, try sketching your ideal kitchen layout. Keep the work triangle in mind, which refers to the 3 points between your sink, oven, and refrigerator. Everything in between those points is your workspace. Maximize your layout for storage, walking space, and statement pieces (like a high-quality kitchen island).

2. Integrate into the rest of the home.

Unlike a bedroom, which is typically distant and closed from the home’s living area, your kitchen should integrate into the rest of the home. After all, your kitchen plays a huge role when entertaining company, connecting with your family, and overall daily living. Ask yourself how well your current kitchen integrates into the dining area, living area, etc. What changes would you like to make to create a more open, inviting space?

3. Pay special attention to lighting.

High-quality, energy-efficient lighting makes all the difference in both cooking and entertaining. Always invest in more lighting, not less, and consider installing adjustable lighting for ambiance.

4. Choose materials based on both function and beauty.

The layout of your kitchen is extremely important, but so are the items you place inside. Carefully select countertops, backsplash, flooring, cabinetry, etc. based on both durability and design. Your kitchen storage and appliances should function efficiently and look great doing it.

5. Invest in a quality kitchen island.

Your kitchen island acts as your primary workspace, so consider what style best fits your needs. Do you want it to function as an extra eating area? Are you short on storage space and need maximum cabinetry? Would you like your sink or stovetop to be located on the island? Whatever you decide, plan ahead so as not to disrupt your layout.

6. Remember that cabinetry is key.

Though rarely the first consideration of any homeowner, your cabinetry possesses the power to make your kitchen look fresh and modern or old and outdated. The style draws the eye and helps tie the rest of the kitchen together. Additionally, because your cabinets carry so much weight, they should be made of durable wood.

7. Place appliances with maximum performance in mind.

It is generally a good idea to think through every possible problem when deciding where to place your appliances. For example, is your refrigerator placement going to block the natural walkway of the kitchen every time someone opens the door? If your oven is located far away from your kitchen window, it might be difficult to ventilate excess smoke. Carefully consider the optimal placement for each appliance before committing.

8. Think ahead regarding storage and counter space.

Likewise, consider how much storage and workspace you need before installing your cabinetry. If you only have a few dishes, it isn’t a big deal to cut back on cabinetry. However, if cooking and baking are full-time jobs to you, chances are high that you need the extra counter space.

9. Select a focal point when decorating.

Like your bedroom or living room, your kitchen needs a decorative focal point. A statement island, unique cabinetry, or even geometric flooring can all draw the eye and create a stunning focal point.

10. Don’t be afraid to call a professional.

Finally, make sure you call a professional for help with the big stuff. A full kitchen remodel is a huge undertaking made far easier with the help of an experienced designer and contractor.

Are You Looking for a Professional Kitchen Designer?

For over 30 years, Caruso Kitchens has created thousands of award-winning dream kitchens for Colorado residents. With over 150 years of combined experience, our skillful designers will help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an interview, call us today. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.

Sophia Dolif - Caruso Family Charities

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Sarah Dolif is a single mom to two beautiful little girls: 6-yr-old Bella and 3-yr-old Sophia. Sophia was born with Holoprosencephaly, a rare disorder where the embryonic forebrain fails to sufficiently divide into two cerebral hemispheres. This results in severe skull and facial defects and can be life-threatening. Doctors don’t know what causes this genetic malfunction.

Sarah does her best to make ends meet but struggles under the pressures of medical care and everyday living expenses. Caruso Family Charities stepped in to help pay several bills, so she can feel a little less pressure and spend some time with the girls.

Upon meeting the family, Jerry was also concerned about Sophia’s sister Bella. Oftentimes, when a parent must focus so much time and attention to caring for a sick child, the healthy siblings suffer the loss of attention or play dates. Bella is lonely, as she gets very little interaction with others.

Caruso Family Charities helped with expenses but also by enrolling Bella in dance lessons in May. In just these summer months, she has blossomed into a fantastic tap dancer and has gotten rave reviews from her teacher, Stephanie Parker. Her first dance recital was August 20th, and Bella’s new friends Jerry and Karen Caruso were there.

If you or your company are looking for a local non-profit to support, please consider Caruso Family Charities.

Sophia Dolif - Caruso Family Charities

Sophia Dolif - Caruso Family Charities

5 Benefits of Engineered Stone Countertops

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Whether you are remodeling your entire kitchen or simply making a few updates, consider the importance of your countertops. Not only should they be beautiful, but they should also be functional. Enter engineered stone countertops! What exactly is engineered stone, and what are its advantages? Let’s talk about 5 benefits of engineered stone countertops.

What Are Engineered Stone Countertops?

First things first: what is the primary difference between engineered stone and natural stone? While natural quarried stone is durable and sturdy, its porousness poses a serious problem to kitchens. Quarried stone soaks up moisture, making it susceptible to staining and crumbling unless sealed annually.

In contrast, engineered stone mixes quartz with resin, forming a tightly-packed, moisture-resistant material. Additionally, granite and marble can be used. Long-lasting and durable, engineered stone offers resistance to stain and chipping without excess sealing.

What Are the Benefits of Engineered Stone Countertops?

So, should you include engineered stone countertops in your kitchen renovation? Homeowners who make the switch to engineered stone countertops notice the following 5 benefits.

1. Easy Cleaning and Maintenance

The smooth, slick surface of engineered stone makes cleanup easy. Your countertop will not soak up food, drink, or cleaner. Instead, wipe everything off neatly without worrying about drying it. There is no need to use a special cleaner on engineered stone.

2. Long-Lasting Durability

Engineered stone is specifically designed to be durable, even against nicks and scratches from wayward knives. While we certainly do not recommend taking a steak knife to your counter, you can count on it to resist scratches during daily situations. Likewise, engineered stone stands up well against weight and dings from kitchen objects.

3. Difficult-to-Stain Surfaces

Spilled wine? No problem. A leak in your coffee pot? Don’t worry about it. Again, the engineered stone does not share the porousness of natural stone, meaning stains rarely occur. Nor does liquid cause long-term damage to the inside of the countertops.

4. Resistance to Heat

Additionally, the high percentage of quartz within engineered stone protects the countertops from heat. While natural stone is slightly more heat-resistant (due to the lack of resin), engineered stone does a great job as well.

5. Many Styles to Choose From

Amazingly, you don’t have to sacrifice style for functionality. With the right kitchen designers and renovation company, you can choose from countless colors and styles of engineered stone. This allows you to fit the theme and style of your kitchen as well as your overall home. Finish your kitchen remodel with counters that you love!

How Can Caruso Kitchens Help?

For over 30 years, Caruso Kitchens has created thousands of award-winning dream kitchens for Colorado residents. With over 150 years of combined experience, our skillful designers will help you create the kitchen of your dreams. If you have any further questions or would like to schedule an interview, call us today. We are located in Lakewood, Colorado, and serve the entire Denver Metro Area.