The owners of Southwest Kitchen recently spearheaded the donation of a kitchen remodel to one lucky frontline medical worker.

After seeing the impact of COVID-19 on the community, Southwest Kitchen owners Mel and Bob Elkins were inspired to offer this kitchen giveaway. They felt that it was important to give back to frontline hospital workers.

Southwest Kitchen was joined by other local Tucson businesses to create this opportunity. Those vendors include Conway Tile Co., Inc., Benjamin Supply, Arizona Wholesale, Showplace Cabinetry, Arizona Tile, and Desert West Cleaning Specialist.

The contest was open to frontline workers at Banner —University Medical Center South, who were encouraged to enter a video of their own kitchen or that of a family member, friend or coworker. More than 100 entries were received.

Matthew Choate, a frontline nurse who has worked at Banner for four years, was chosen as the winner. Choate’s entry for the contest was submitted by his friend, Chrystal Petty. She describes Matthew as a very caring person who has taken some hard hits during the past years. He cared for his father who was dying of cancer, and had to regain his strength following a bout of COVID-19. Presently, he is still working while he pursues a master’s degree in clinical psychology.

Choate’s ’60s era kitchen included site-built cabinets, tile countertops, faux brick and wood plank walls and Saltillo tile flooring. The food prep space and storage areas were inadequate.

The remodeling team’s main objective was creating a better layout, additional storage and a new, modern look.

It was determined that the square footage would remain the same, but the footprint was changed. Relocating a door provided enough room for a new refrigerator and pantry.

The size of the peninsula cabinets was increased, allowing for an added countertop with an overhang for two-person seating, extra storage and the option of designated work stations, like a coffee center.

The project included all new shelving, dual-pane windows, cabinets and LED lighting. In addition, a Samsung stainless steel suite of appliances including refrigerator, microwave hood, electric stove and dishwasher were added. Choate picked out quartz countertops and the paint colors for his cabinets: “oyster” for the uppers and “dusk” for the lower cabinets. Shelves next to the window accommodate a small array of herbs in pots.

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