I love the style and simplicity of traditional French kitchens. Forget fitted units and marble topped work surfaces, it's all about free standing units. A buffet in one corner, an armoire in another. Here in the UK we tend to confuse French armoires with wardrobes, resigning them solely to the bedroom. However, they are a hugely versatile piece of furniture, equally at home in just about every room of the house.
Most kitchens in France will have an armoire, serving as a larder cupboard or as general storage. They work as a fabulous focal point and can be painted to suit any scheme. The internal shelves mean that they are great for food, china and pots and pans.
The really great thing about authentic French furniture is that it is Tardis-like, often offering surprising amounts of storage. It's ideal in a small kitchen, where space is at a minimum, for maximizing cupboard space without having units on every wall.
French buffets make wonderful kitchen units. In a really space limited kitchen the bases are excellent for providing work top space and storage. These usually have a long internal cupboard - ideal for pots and pans and for hiding ugly microwaves!
In a larger kitchen a Buffet de Corps - a 2 part buffet, will do the same job as raised kitchen units but look so much more sophisticated. These often come with with upper glazed cupboards, ideal for storing food or china and glass ware.
Ali Stokes is the owner of the UK based online boutique Dazzle Vintage Furniture. The website specialises in selling authentic French furniture and accessories which have been imported from France.