Artist House Tour Series: Featuring Dana Cain and Mark Putt

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Editor's note: Home designer Jeanne Connolly loves to see how creative people put their houses together. In this series, she'll be sharing some of her favorite homes, by taking us inside the unique private spaces of metro Denver.

Denver creatives Dana Cain and Mark Putt bring living with art and music to a new level at their mid-century modern home located in the Centennial Estates neighborhood. Keep reading to see how Cain, an art collector and event planner, and Putt, a musician, add the awesome sprinkles to the top of their "design explosion" called home.

See also: 100 Colorado Creatives: Dana Cain

Westword: What kind of art do you collect?

Dana Cain: I collect all mediums. My collection focuses on local contemporary Colorado artists.

Where do you purchase your artwork?

Online -- I buy pieces that are posted on Facebook sometimes. I shop at galleries in most of the local art districts -- especially Navajo, Santa Fe Drive, and RINO. Those are the big three for me... I also buy out of artist's studios.

What's in your artist toolbox?

Sometimes, I use the invaluable tool of payment plans! Every artist and every gallery will let you make payments on a piece. Prices become less intimidating when you can break them out over six months or so.

What's your neighborhood?

My art collection is housed in a modest 1971 ranch house in the southwest Denver suburbs, near Lowell and Belleview. The neighborhood is called Centennial Estates because the old Centennial Racetrack was here.

Continue reading for more on Dana Cain's and Mark Putt's house.

What are your favorite things about your neighborhood?

Great restaurants to eat brunch every day -- like Lucile's; easy access to downtown Littleton; easy to drive here.

Is there a hidden gem in your neighborhood?

The amazing Alamo Drafthouse Cinema just opened up near here on south Santa Fe. We go there all the time for vintage films, etc.

What's the best local creative resource?

The Toad Tavern is the biggest, best live music venue in south Denver -- around the corner on South Federal. Lots of cool bands play there.

Do you rent or own your home?


Do you create in your home?

My home is my creative vortex -- designed as much for inspiration as for shelter. It is the Dana Cain Events World Headquarters, where I do all of the work to plan and create my events: Denver County Fair, Denver Modernism Show, Colorado Chocolate Festival, Vintage Voltage Expo, Collectors Supershow, Athena Festival. ( See links to all of my shows -- and tour part of my art collection -- at my website) I absolutely love sitting at my awesome Mr. Spacely desk in my pink and orange space office and working at my computer most of the day, with play time mingled in at varying amounts.

Lately, though -- an exciting new layer has been added. I had insisted (in my journals and to my friends) that the universe bring me a creative genius to fall in love with. They delivered on my demand over the summer, when I started dating Mark Putt -- who lived in my neighborhood, ninety seconds away. We fell in love at a crazy time -- right when I was completely submerged in the Denver County Fair and the Denver Modernism Show -- my two big August events. In September, he moved in, and in October, we got engaged. Mark is a song writer, musician, singer, artist, science fiction writer, comic book creator, and comedian. A complete renaissance-style Creative Genius ...and he has really amped up the creative vibe in the house!

Now, the basement is a recording studio. We go downstairs and write songs together. I get to play keyboards and he plays everything else, and we record tracks that he overlaps and mixes into songs. He can even create and edit videos for YouTube. We came up with a new type of act -- The Mark Putt Explosion -- where he performs a multimedia themed show with live music, recorded music, video, comedy and art. The debut show is the Mark Putt Holiday Explosion -- a funny, edgy adult Christmas show -- and I get to be the promoter! I love it so much. I'm having a blast, and have booked him four shows in December so far -- at MCA Denver, the D Note, the Toad Tavern and HolidayHause Arts & Crafts Fair. In February, we'll roll out the Mark Putt Love Explosion, and then in Spring -- the Sci-Fi Explosion ( Watch for that one on the Geek Stage at the Denver County Fair!). We're setting up the website, so people can go in and book the show they want -- based on the theme they need. We plan to roll out about three to four per year.

I'm so excited about this. It's my big new project -- and I really love big, new projects. And getting to create side-by-side with my soul mate is just the best.

Continue reading for more on Dana Cain and Mark Putt's house.

Define your home's style?

My home is part museum, part playhouse, part recording studio. Each room has it's own style, but all of it is centered around my art collection. The master bedroom is done up in New York 1970s. The office is pink and orange space themed. The Space Monkey room is pop art, with an AstroTurf floor. The kitchen is red and white retro.

Continue reading for more on Dana Cain's and Mark Putt's house.

What are you favorite artist touches?

My entire house is about artistic touches, they aren't so much "touches" as "punches." I like the shock and the awe factor when people first see it.

As for the little things, I like my floor coverings (leopard carpet, pink fur and poured poxy, astro turf). I also like my cool lamps, most of which I bought at my Denver Modernism Show.

What inspires you about your home?

I have a core emotional connection with all of the art I buy. Walking through every space in my home, I'm constantly reminded of who I am, the best things about me, the things I love and the things I value. I have a giant painting of the Apollo astronauts in my office, by Charlie Boots. I look at it every day and I want to do great things, big things, heroic things.

What is your favorite piece?

Oh, come on...Wow. That is so tough, and changes with my moods. I'm going to say "Welcome, Stranger" by Mark Penner Howell. It's a huge, eleven-foot-long, giant space monkey. So amazing! It's like it was custom-made for me!

Have you had any design challenges?

My biggest challenge is the shrinking amount of wall space in my home. I need more walls. I think about adding on additions, or maybe popping the top and adding a second floor that's just a big gallery. The collection is pretty tough to pick which pieces go in the living room, too. I want to showcase everything.

What are your guest's reactions?

Guest reactions are my litmus test for people. When someone doesn't react to it, or makes a face, they're out (LOL). Most of the folks I run with love it. And my favorite guest reaction, that I hear frequently is that they are inspired by my collection and want to buy more art.

Continue reading for more on Dana Cain's and Mark Putt's house. Have you repurposed any materials in your home?

Almost everything I own that's not a piece of art was bought at an estate sale, garage sale or thrift store.

What's your best design advice?

Use your imagination and buy all of your furniture second-hand. That's where the cool furniture is anyway. Then spend the big bucks on art. Your house will look amazing.

Visit Dana Cain's website for more information on her extensive art collection. See the Mark Putt Holiday Explosion, live on Thursday, December 19, at 8:30 p.m. at Tennyson's Tap.

Dana will be showing her personal collection at the Arvada Center; the opening reception is on Thursday, January 23, 2014.

When Jeanne isn't doing House Tours, she is blogging on how to create bohemian style with both vintage and recycled materials.

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