03/27/2014 02:03 pm ET Updated May 27, 2014

The Impossible Art of Gift Shopping for Architects

If you think that men are hard to shop for, try shopping for an architect. They're notoriously fussy about the things that they want, use, display and otherwise select to be part of their lives. I have first-hand experience with this unique breed of human because I married one. Though, that doesn't make me any more qualified to shop for one.

So, how are we normal laypeople supposed to crack the code and maybe even cause them to crack a smile with the gifts we give? I went straight to the experts at, the World's most visited architecture website, for some answers. I spoke with Karissa Rosenfield, their US Editor, who said, "Gifts that stand out to an architect are those that are beautiful, unique, inspire creativity, educate and streamline any overly complex aspect of daily life." Ok, that's a lot to think about. And,I'm still confused.

So how exactly can we hone in on that even more? Here are a few tips from Karissa:
  • Be observant
  • Stalk their Pinterest boards for ideas of what they like
  • Be sure to follow exact instructions when they admit to admiring a specific item
  • You can never go wrong with mid-century modern

And, if you're in a pinch, Karissa suggests scooping up something that they can use to perfect their craft like a pocket sized sketch pad for moments of inspiration. In general, architects like things done with intention and merit so a finely prepared meal or cocktail will also impress them. You can give them a gift-certificate to a restaurant with creative and well-executed cuisine or a cocktail book for them to perfect their skills at home. For a more romantic option, prepare a fine meal and cocktail combo at home.

One thing that I've learned from my husband is that architects like to get specific and obscure about things. A broad topic coffee table book about design will do nothing for him. But, a book about the grains of different types of wood or an encyclopedia of sailing knots will be referenced more times than you can imagine.

No matter what you give, make sure that it is well designed, simple and useful if you want it to be appreciated by your favorite architect. They might be anal and hard to shop for, but they just want life to be beautiful. That sounds lovely to me.

Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert and contributor to the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Associated Press, Fox and Friends, TODAY in NY and many more..

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