At Home with Anthony Caturano: The chef showcases his passions with bold dining room décor

We hate sitting around a dining room table with nothing to talk about. (That's how divorces start: over silence.) But at the home of Anthony Caturano, chef/owner of Prezza in the North End, every piece is a conversation piece - unless guests are from Greenpeace, in which case it's fodder for an argument. (Possibly a riot.) Caturano is an avid hunter, which isn't exactly up everyone's alley. But whether or not you share his enthusiasm, there's no doubt about his skill at finding both striking and subtle ways to weave his personal passions throughout his décor. Because he travels the world in his big-game pursuits, nearly every item has a story attached. And these tales are slightly more interesting than any that begins "Once upon a time, at IKEA..."

A.Some men are afraid of color, but Caturano's choices are bold and masculine. Walls inBenjamin Moore's Spanish Redare nicely complemented by chocolate-brown trims and furniture. And the table runner, a woven piece brought home from one of the hunter's African adventures, adds some gold and orange in its interesting patterns.

B.Every room needs one piece that packs a heavy-impact punch. Though Caturano's walls are lined with traditional hunting trophies - heads of a moose from British Columbia, an elk from Montana, and a gemsbok from South Africa - one thing dominates the décor. Weighing more than 1,000 pounds and measuring 9'8" from nose to tail, thegiant bearwas taken by Caturano on the first day of an Alaskan hunting trip last year. It was shipped to his go-to taxidermist in Montana, and now it's the room's most high-profile dinner guest.

C.Of course, you can also make subtler nods to your interests with smaller pieces. For instance, grab a drink at one of Caturano's parties, and you might come across thisbottle openermade from a warthog tusk, which he found in a South African curio shop, or this coolglass decantertopped with a silver elk head.

D.Caturano often entertains a full house, from summer pool parties to his latest Halloween bash. And the guy likes his gadgets, so in-wall Bose Lifestyle speakers are planted around the house to pump party music. (The dining room has two.) But you don't need high-tech, high-cost toys to make a soiree special. Consider an easy tradition Caturano started: guests use silver paint pens from the craft store to scribble notes onempty wine bottles. He keeps the bottles - covered in well wishes and inappropriate in-jokes - as souvenirs.

E.If your style is one-of-a-kind, your space should have a similarly unique piece or two. Caturano's mantel holds thefemur bone of a giraffehe hunted, which was then carved by an African artist to depict a procession of animals: zebras, rhinos, and more, oh my! Closer to home, Caturano has had good luck hunting down special pieces at Mohr & McPherson, where he found the dining table's old Chinese wok, a nod to his culinary background. He also displays a housewarming gift from friend and acclaimed Rockport-based artist John Raimondi: a drawing of a gray wolf that fades from dark to light, a reference to its one-time placement on the endangered species list. And isn't it ironic - don't you think?