Some people are easy to buy gifts for...they collect frog figurines or love old movie posters or can never get enough of Pee Wee Herman. With others it's a crap shoot, since you can't keep up with their whims du jour, or maybe they've just acquired a new partner and his/her style defies known categories. Then there are those friends whose tastes run to the simple and refined; their conversations are sprinkled with references to Isamu Noguchi, Eero Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames and Alvar Aalto.
You know you're not going to charm them with something Michael Graves designed for Target, and that Japanese Daruma doll you bought last Christmas in a fit of panic went over like a lead balloon. But now you need worry no longer...there's a store downtown that is like heaven for design geeks and their taste-challenged friends. It's called Canoe, and there's even an online version of the store for those not in the vicinity or who wouldn't venture downtown on a bet.
It's tastefully appointed with a unique selection of design books, hand-blown glass, office accessories and modern design accoutrements for kitchen, bath and coffee table. And they're all offered at surprisingly modest prices, making you look luxe on a less-than-designer budget.
Details: Canoe, 1136 SW Alder. Phone 503-889-8545.