You might take a look at the Blue Sky active 2.1 systems. Add a source and volume control (NHT PVC Pro, for example) and you're done.
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Did you ever mention what amp would be driving them? If you don't already own an amp, any of the actives start making even more sense. Also, if she has space limitations you really need to decide if rear ported speakers are even appropriate for the space. Most need some breathing room behind them.
I didn't feel up to researching the archives of this thread sorry... so here is my vote.. I've had a few small-ish speakers. The most suprising of them all have been my current ones... Canton 200's. Not big (under one cubic ft.) 87db... and just remarkable sound with openess, warmth, resolution, and far better bass than some larger ones I have owned. I paid $200 or so, preowned.
Truly, very, very nice.
Get an Oppo Universal player and connect it directly to active monitors. The Oppos have remote controlled variable volume control, so the two components would create a complete remote controlled system that plays CD, SACD, DVD-A and DVD video. Unless she need a tuner or other source, you would be set with good sound at a very reasonable price.
Or you could go the iPod route and connect it directly to a pair or active monitors.....