photo: todd selby

Recently the New York Times ran an interactive feature about Osteria Senz’ Oste, an inn 40 miles or so north of Venice whose name translates “Tavern Without Host” or “Inn Without Barkeep.” The proprietor Cesare De Stefani wanted to create a space that “felt like home”, so he trusts people to pay what they wish for the superb local prosecco and salumi he serves there. The piece was photographed by Todd Selby of The Selby, who is known for honing in on specific and unique details of a space.

We were charmed by this image of visitor’s notes tacked up on a wall.”Why don’t we do that?” we wondered: create a wall of visits from friends and memorable times?

We recalled various iterations we’d seen of this idea: our friend Tom Fallon‘s door covered with polaroids taken during dinner parties and weekend visits to his Shelter Island home, and of the chair covered in muslin for guests to write on with markers that we posted about some time ago. These are all, in effect, versions of the classic “guest book”, like the one the legendary chef Fernand Point kept at his restaurant La Pyramide in Vienne, France. You can see pages of it in Ma Gastronomie, a charming memoire of the restaurant and man that revolutionized French cuisine. Our favorite is this “note” from Jean Cocteau:

Even a simple blank book can become filled with memories (and impromptu artworks).

With thanks to Anthony Giglio. 

Related posts: “guest” chair: a charming play on “guest book”
quilts as memory-keepers
keeping a dream book
fast-and-loose dining table via the selby
digital memory archive (photograph stuff then give it away)

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