Author Archives: Brandon Brown

Red, White and New – Celebrate America

The Old is New Again!

StarMark Cabinetry recently named OLD WORLD appeal as a major trend in kitchens and baths. To create this look in your home, incorporate muted hues into your cabinet color. If you aren’t feeling quite brave enough, try a kitchen chair or desk in your room with a splash of rusty red color.
Modern Supply is proud to feature StarMark Cabinetry in the Celebrate Americashowroom.

Nip That Drip!

Drip. Drip. Drip. Did you know the average American household wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water each year from water leaks? Gee whiz! That’s enough water to wash nearly ten months of laundry according to the super smart folks at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Fix a Leak Week

Clean water is our most important resource. Without it, we would all bite the dust! To promote water awareness, the EPA has designated March 18-24, 2013 as Fix a Leak Week. It’s time to replace those drippy faucets and runny toilets with EPA WaterSense labeled products. Good for the environment and your bank account.

WaterSense logoHere are some mind blowin’ facts from the EPA:

· 70% of the earth’s surface is water; less than 1% is suitable for human use
·  Each American uses an average of 100 gallons of water a day
· Toilets account for 30% of indoor residential water use
· Over your lifetime, you’ll likely flush the toilet nearly 140,000 times
· A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water a day
· You can use up to 8 gallons of water while brushing your teeth
· Approximately 5-10% of American homes have leaks that drip away 90 gallons a day or more
· WaterSense products use 20-30% percent less water

 WaterSense ShowerheadsEven though WaterSense products— toilets, faucets and showerheads—use less water, you don’t sacrifice quality or water pressure. Manufacturers like Delta and American Standard have gone all techie and created products that use less water more efficiently. You won’t have to flush several times or be left with soapy hair!

Nip that drip ‘cause every drop counts! Come on in to one of Modern Supply’s seven locations and see WaterSense fixtures that can save you money and water!

 Modern's Millie Signature color

Spring Cleaning Tips

Cleaning greenerIt’s that time of year when I’m soooo over winter and thinkin’ spring!! Can’t wait to open my windows and feel a warm breeze comin’ through those grimy windows. ☺ This year, I’m goin’ greener with cleaning products and using fewer nasty chemicals.

Magical household cleaning products include vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide & Dawn dish washing liquid—the blue kind. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide kills tons of bacteria, molds and viruses. Peroxide works much like bleach without harmful effects.

Do not mix vinegar and peroxide in the same bottle! It creates a chemical that is NOT GOOD. However, for super-duper cleaning you can mist one and then the other. Just don’t mix ‘em! Beware, vinegar can damage marble or other polished stone; use peroxide.

Natural cleaning products

Go green with natural cleaning products!

Baking soda is scrubbing power! Sprinkle on nasty tub grunge, mist with vinegar and watch it bubble away soap scum!

Use these two cleaning concoctions as guides and adjust to your level of yuck!

• Pour equal parts of Dawn and vinegar into a spray bottle and gently shake. Heat the vinegar in the microwave for extra POW!

• One part Dawn & two parts peroxide— remember peroxide has a whitening effect so careful with color!

dawn and peroxide

More miracles!

• Water Rings disappear by rubbing a bit of non-gel toothpaste on it and buffing with a cloth.
• Kill germs on doorknobs with full-strength vinegar OR peroxide and wipe dry.
• Brighten a load of white laundry by adding a cup of peroxide.
• Disinfect kids’ toys by spraying with peroxide.
• Zap pesky fruit flies by setting out a dish of undiluted vinegar.
• Keep the kitty off of a surface by misting with vinegar. They hate the smell.
• Kill grass between patio bricks by spreading salt between them; then sprinkle with water.
• Cut a lemon in half, dip in salt and rub on copper or brass to remove stains (not brass plated).
• Use Vinegar & water for window cleaner and wipe with coffee filters. They’re lint free!

Get your sparkle on! Save money & the environment. Shoot me an email if you have a terrific tip to share!

Modern's Millie Signature color

Chillin’ with Your Home Beverage Center

Sodas, bottled water, vino and brew can use up a lot of space in the kitchen fridge. If you chill a lot of drinks, a beverage center is the answer. There are oodles of sizes and styles to chill your fav drinks…even for kitchens!

Armstrong Cabinets Beverage bars

Design your own beverage bar with Armstrong Cabinets.

GE wine extension racks

GE cooler with wine extension racks.

First, there are small refrigerators available with drawers or doors with full extension shelves. These are suitable for food or bevs and can be stacked if you need more than one. These are ideal for man caves and home theater rooms. Larger sizes even have freezers in case you need to stash some ice cream too!

Beverage centers are designed with shelving to accommodate soft drinks and wine. Larger units may have two sides; a fridge and beverage section with individual temp controls.

Perlick beverage center

Full beverage center from Perlick

For the vino connoisseur, some wine reserve models have shelving that prevents shifting and slippage of the stored bottles and glass doors that protect varietals from ultraviolet light. Ooo la la!

A must-have for a full-blown beverage area is an ice maker. Brands like Perlick can make up to 50 pounds of ice per day. That can accommodate a big shindig and a lot of umbrella drinks!

Don’t forget the beer dispensers. After all, it’s always sports time in Tennessee! Available with one or two taps to serve-up two different brews—chilled to a perfect 33-39 degrees.

Perlick beer dispenser

Perlick beer dispenser

Let there be accessories! If there are kids in the house, you can lock-down the adult brews with optional lock features. One of my fav accessories is the martini glass chiller racks. Nothing like a Moderntini in a perfectly chilled glass! There are also drawer dividers, shelving choices, and door options in glass or stainless.

If you’re like me and just adore entertaining, a beverage center makes it sooo much easier. My Modern Supply design peeps can create an entire refreshment center with complete with cabinetry, appliances and all the trimmings. Give ‘em a shout at 865.966.4567. Cheers!

Perlick Ice Maker

Perlick Ice Maker

For more cool ideas, follow me on:

Modern's Millie Signature color


Power to the Baby Boomers!

Baby boomers are the folks born from 1946 to 1964 and are 81+ million strong in the U.S. They account for 28 percent of the U.S population but more than half of the nation’s purchasing power according to a recent study by the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI).

Many boomers are choosing to remain in their current homes as they age. Aging in Place means the ability to live in your own home comfortably and safely for as long as possible. As people remodel their homes, they’re including Universal Design products—a design concept that meets the needs of people with varied abilities. It considers people with age-related problems, people who are tall or short, as well as those with various physical or mental impairments. It also acknowledges that abilities change over time.

American Standard safety shower

A low threshold shower with bench from American Standard.

What Aging in Place DOES NOT mean is that your home renovations have to look institutional!  Kitchen and bathrooms typically require the most alternations. Here are some practical, but stylish suggestions to keep that cozy feel.

Bathroom manufacturers are offering comfortable walk-in tubs, roomy seated showers, stylish easy-to-use faucets and higher toilets to create a beautiful, safer and more comfortable bathroom.

American Standard walk-in tub

American Standard walk-in tub.

• Walk-in tubs come as soaking units with built-in chair height benches and grab bars. Options include hydrotherapy features such as air and whirlpool or pumps for faster draining.

• Walk-in showers are available in several sizes with low to zero thresholds for easy access. There are choices of benches, seats, shelves and grab bars. Most install easily for retro-fit remodels.

Aquatic Accessible shower

Aquatic’s accessible shower with hand-held shower head with slider bar.

• Plumbing fixtures such touch-free faucets and adjustable hand-held shower heads are both available with temperature controls to prevent scalding.

• Toilets heights at 16-17” are taller and safer. Adding a raised toilet seat will add more height.

Delta Bath Touch faucet

Delta’s Touch technology turns on/off easily.

Delta kitchen touch faucet

Delta’s Touch technology saves water, too!








Universal Design options are plentiful for creating a user-friendly kitchen. Evaluate how your kitchen flows. Eliminate tight spaces and obstructions that may, at some time, become a safety issue.

GE oven pull-out shelf

A pull-out shelf is convenient under a GE built-in oven.

Cabinets have a lot of flexibility. For easier access, wall cabinets may be installed lower and base cabinets higher. Include pull-out, roll-out or lift shelving for less bending. Soft close door hinges and drawer glides simplify opening and closing. Deep toe kicks on cabinets will accommodate wheel chairs.

GE raised dishwasher

This raised GE dishwasher eliminates extra bending.

Appliances can be installed based on height requirements. Raise a dishwasher or lower microwaves, cooktops and built-in ovens to accommodate your need. Again, cabinets can be adjusted.

Don’t forget lighting! Our eyes change as we age; less light reaches the retina and the sensitivity to glare increases. Uniform ambient (primary source) lighting and good task lighting is essential. Install dimmer switches for easy adjustments.

StarMark Kitchen Storage

Easy to access kitchen storage from StarMark Cabinetry.

Baby Boomers Flower PowerBaby boomers are the flower children of yesterday who transformed into movers and shakers of change. They continue to influence change and companies are listening to their needs.

Come by Modern Supply’s kitchen, bath & lighting showroom and incorporate Universal Design products in your home. Design your home for today with the future in mind. 865-966-4567

Power to the Baby Boomers!


Hot Kitchen & Bath Trends

The wish-list for kitchen and bath products continues to evolve driven by homeowner wants and, of course, that darn economy. The latest survey says…function & comfort are top-O-list for kitchen & bath remodels. The guru’s at the Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI) conducted the survey. Jeepers…sounds like a new branch of the CIA!!!

The fav style choice remains casual or transitional followed by contemporary. Mixing kitchen counter-top materials like granite and stainless or a reclaimed surface is trending. FYI…some of the new recycled materials are marvelous!

Armstrong Cabinets Sage and Vanilla Cream

Armstrong Cabinets finished in Sage & Vanilla Cream

Starmark recycling cabinet

Recycling center from StarMark Cabinetry

Consumers’ kitchen wish-list:

• Islands
• Roll-outs, pull-outs & pull-downs
• Drawers instead of base cabinets
• Energy –efficient appliances
• Mixing materials, surfaces & finishes
• LED lighting
• Recycling areas
• Computer charging station
• Multiple ovens & dishwashers

kitchen islands for every style

Kitchen islands in every shape, style & finish!

The ultimate shower with the Brizo RSVP shower collection

The ultimate shower with the Brizo RSVP shower collection.

Consumers’ Bath wish-list:

• Furniture style vanities
• His & her vanities
• Super showers
• Customized storage
• Heated floors
• Private toilet areas
• Water-saving fixtures
• Soaking or jetted tubs

Bathroom furniture vanity from StarMark

Furniture style bathroom vanities are hot! This is from StarMark Cabinetry.

Furniture vanity with double sinks

This Star Cabinetry furniture vanity features clean lines and double sinks.

Betcha’ your must-have list includes a couple of these! Stop by a Modern Supply kitchen, bath & lighting showroom and bring your wish-list. We’ll put our creative thinkin’ caps on and design a kitchen or bath that will make you happy, happy, happy! Don’t forget…

Tell ‘em Millie sent you!

Modern's Millie Signature color

Go Tankless!

Water Heating so Advanced…it’s Simple

Murphy’s law will prevail and your water heater will die at the most inconvenient time. Like when the weather’s frigid and you’re in the shower! Water heating is the second largest energy user in the home after heating and cooling. Perhaps it’s time to explore energy-efficient tankless technology.

Navien installation

The Navien tankless can be installed in much smaller spaces. Photo and installation by Brogdon Plumbing, Knoxville, TN

Tankless water heaters provide an endless source of hot water and can cut energy costs up to 30 percent per year if usage remains consistent. Traditional tanks can develop rust and scale build-ups. A tankless unit does not store water so you’ll have fresher, cleaner water. They’re wall mounted and require less space too.

Here are a couple of key factors to ensure your tankless water heater happiness!

• Choose a plumber that can size the tankless water heater to fit your water usage. Things to consider include the output (gallons per minute) of shower heads and appliances that may be running simultaneously. Correct sizing is key!

• A tankless unit provides endless hot water while reducing energy costs. However, families often extend their shower time which defeats the energy-saving goal. Word of warning for families with teenage daughters!

Navien installation 2

Another installation by Brogdon Plumbing.

The plumbing pros at Modern Supply are frequently asked about tankless water heaters and recommend the Navien line for natural or LP gas use. Navien’s new NPE Premium Condensing units are more efficient than non-condensing brands. Installation has been simplified by Navien’s ability to use one-half inch existing gas lines. This makes it an ideal choice for tank replacement.

Without getting too techy, here’s how the Naviens work. Condensation is created inside of the condensing heat exchanger from incoming cold water cooling the hot gases inside the unit. The stainless steel condensing heat exchanger then traps the condensation and uses the heat that would be lost in a non-condensing unit. This results in a 98 percent heating efficiency. Two stainless steel heat exchangers provide longer life expectancy and are highly resistant to corrosion compared to copper heat exchangers. The heat exchangers carry a 15 year warranty.

Navien’s ComfortFlow technology eliminates “cold-water sandwiches” and issues of minimum flow rate. An insulated buffer tank and recirculation pump accelerates hot water delivery.

Compare Navien tankless water heaters

Mike Brogdon, owner of Brogdon Plumbing comments, “We’ve been installing Navien tankless water heaters since Modern Supply started carrying them. They are easy to install, service and are extremely efficient. We have many satisfied Navien customers.”

For more information about Navien tankless water heaters, stop by one of Modern Supply’s seven East Tennessee locations. Talk with our pros and visit You’ll thank yourself when you step into the shower!

Budget-Friendly Cabinets

Made in the USA

Kitchens are the heart of the home and used for so much more than preparing food. They’re a gathering place and often an extension of the family living area. People today are staying in their homes longer and are remodeling to suit their taste and lifestyle and not just for resell value. Statistics show a kitchen remodel has the largest pay-back of any home remodel.

Vanilla Cream, another new Armstrong finish

Armstrong’s Vanilla Cream for a cozy, country kitchen

A lot of factors may influence the decision to remodel. Are your kitchen cabinets beginning to fall apart? Are dated appliances at the end of their life? Want to open-up the area by removing a wall? Need more storage and better traffic flow? All great reasons!

The biggest remodeling concern is budget. A justified concern since large, show-stopper kitchen costs can soar. However, they don’t have to! By taking a hard look at your must-have’s, deciding which things you can live without, and choosing the right products, your remodel can be within reach.

Armstrong Cabinets - Slate finish

Slate gray, one of Armstrong’s new finishes

Cabinetry and hardware account for approximately twenty-nine percent of a kitchen remodeling budget according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Modern Supply represents several cabinetry lines; each with their own niche, price range and design options.

Armstrong Cabinets are made in the USA and offer a wide range of semi-custom, fine quality kitchen and bath cabinetry. We know and trust the Armstrong brand to deliver exceptional craftsmanship and value. With three lines, more than 20 finishes and 23 door styles, there’s beauty to meet your budget.

Armstrong Vanilla Cream and Sage

Great mix of finishes! Armstrong’s Vanilla Cream & Sage.

• Allwood™ is Armstrong’s top-tier construction features that are found in custom built cabinetry.
• Premier™ Series construction is finely crafted with quality and affordability. It offers a budget conscious choice that doesn’t sacrifice style or quality.
• Origins Series combines the durability and value of the Allwood construction with the environmental benefits of sustainable, low emitting materials.

Armstrong Cabinets Onyx finish

Armstrong’s classic Onyx finish

Based on your budget, you may add options such as dovetail drawers, soft-close drawers and soft-close door hinges. Armstrong also offers glass and aluminum doors, moldings, light rail and finish glazes. Pull-out shelves, lazy susans and base cabinet organizers offer easy access. Keep it simple or spice it up! It’s your choice for Armstrong accessories!

Visit Armstrong Cabinets web site

Buy American Made Sinks!

Hip Hip Hooray for American made Elkay Manufacturing! Elkay filed petitions that initiated an investigation by the United States Department of Commerce against Chinese imported stainless steel sinks that were selling from 54.25 percent to 76.53 percent of the U.S. sales price. Yikes! It’s hard to compete against cheap!

ELKAY e-dock sink

Elkay’s e-dock sink with magnetic holders

The U.S. Commerce folk’s preliminary decision in September 2012, requires Chinese competitors to pay cash deposits on stainless steel sinks imported into the U.S. Amounts range from 50.28 to 76.15 percent of the customs value of the imports.

Elkay accessory sink

Elkay’s accessory sink

This is a gi-normous win! This ruling helps to protect U.S. jobs. Elkay is America’s number one selling stainless steel sink company with 3500 U.S employees.

Most of these Chinese sinks are cheapo’s made of a grade of stainless steel inferior to Elkay’s. The lower the stainless gauge number, the thicker, which helps reduce scratching & noise. The ‘ol “pay for what ya get” rule is dead-on here!

Elkay Slim Rim

Elkay’s Slim Rim is great for replacing old sinks

This Fed ruling will make the imports more in-line with American-made pricing. Before you go shellin’ out your hard earned bucks on a swanky new stainless sink, ask where it’s made. Buy American made and let the bucks stop here!

Shop by Modern Supply’s Lovell Road showroom and take a peek at Elkay sinks. They have fab sinks in every shape, size and configuration. My design sistas will be tickled pink to help.

Read the complete Elkay Press Release.Modern's Millie Signature color

Modern Supply Wins Industry Marketing Award

Out-of-the-Box Marketing Concepts Appeal to Retail Consumers

Modern Supply Company, a kitchen, bath, lighting and HVAC distributor, has been selected as the winner for WIT & Company’s WHAM (WIT Honors Achievements in Marketing) marketing award in the E-marketing & Web Campaigns category for their blog, Kitchen and Bath Blab. The blog continues to brand Modern’s Millie as their virtual spokesperson sharing design trends and product information. WIT is a national member-owned organization of approximately one hundred independent plumbing, heating and cooling wholesale distributors.

Modern Supply Marketing Award

WIT Marketing Award – Pace Robinson, Modern Supply CEO (left) with Morris Cregger, WIT President

“We’re very pleased to have won the WHAM
e-marketing award for our blog and to be recognized among our peers,” states Pace Robinson, Modern Supply CEO. “The blog was created to help expand our consumer reach and awareness for Modern’s Millie, our fictional spokesperson. The blog was the next step in our social media initiative.”

“Modern Supply definitely deserved to win the e-marketing award,” Sabrina Hawthorne, WIT Marketing Coordinator, comments. “Their branding strategy is unique and creative…for this industry and overall.  When they introduced Modern’s Millie to their market, they successfully implemented several out-of-the-box endeavors including their Kitchen and Bath Blab blog.  Congratulations, Modern Supply!”

The announcement was made at WIT’s 2012 Fall Networking Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona.

For updates – including product news and current trends – visit Modern Supply’s website, as well as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.