HGTV’s Hilary Farr Explains The Cons Of Having An Exterior Door In The Kitchen

HGTV's Hilary Farr Explains The Cons Of Having An Exterior Door In The Kitchen

HGTV’s Hilary Farr Explains The Cons Of Having An Exterior Door In The Kitchen

Yinyang/Getty Images

The kitchen has become an entertaining hub for many homeowners. Because of that, many want the kitchen to be open to other entertainment areas, such as the living room, dining room, or an outdoor space. As was the case for Hilary Farr’s clients on the first episode of season 19 of HGTV’s “Love It or List It.” April wanted to add a door from the kitchen to the side yard to provide easy access for them and their guests. However, Farr wasn’t sold on the idea and immediately turned it down. Though the designer understands why April would want a door to the yard from the kitchen, Farr explains it doesn’t work “Because it interrupts the cabinetry. It interrupts the counter. And it’s just really … bad design.” On top of the issues with the design, adding an exterior door from the kitchen would be expensive. “You’ve got a masonry exterior,” Farr explains.

While a door to the exterior from the kitchen would be convenient for creating an indoor-outdoor entertainment space, it’s not always the best idea for the overall kitchen design and function. Interrupting the cabinetry and countertops can make it more difficult to prepare a meal as it removes what could be essential workspace and storage. Plus, adding a door to the exterior is often a more extensive or more expensive project because of the masonry materials and specialized techniques required to add an exterior door.

Flow is essential

White kitchen cabinets

Yinyang/Getty Images

For Hilary Farr, it was no question to turn down the addition of an exterior door to her clients’ kitchen. One issue was with the potential design. Doors present a natural stopping point, which can look nice as an endpoint but has the potential to make a space look choppy if placed between design elements, such as cabinetry. Continuing the cabinets on the other side of the door can create a disjointed area that feels awkwardly separated from the rest of the kitchen. Doors are best placed at the end of a run of cabinets and only when they won’t interfere with the rest of the design. Use them to separate one space from the other, such as a kitchen from a living room or dining area.

Not only would you lose flow with an added exterior door, but a kitchen would also lose some function. The minimum usable counter space is a minimum of 16 inches deep and accessible from the front. For kitchens under 150 square feet, it’s recommended to have 11 feet minimum of usable counter space. Kitchens 150 to 350 square feet should have a minimum of 13 feet of usable counter space. And kitchens over 350 square feet should have at least 16 feet of usable counter space. An exterior door would mean less counter space and cabinetry, which could make working in the kitchen more difficult and cause issues with storage and usability both in the cabinets and on the counters.

Masonry renovations can be expensive

Patio on exterior of home

Sheila Say/Shutterstock

Many of the clients on HGTV’s “Love It or List It” are working with set budgets to complete a variety of projects around the house. Part of Hilary Farr’s job is to tell her clients when a project they want would take them over their budget. That’s exactly why Farr shut down adding an exterior door to the kitchen; it would have been too expensive for the couple’s budget.

Common masonry materials for home exteriors are brick, concrete, stucco, and stone. Removing this kind of exterior is not as simple as taking down interior walls. Cutting brick can range from $300 to $2,200 while cutting into concrete can cost between $1,300 and $4,500. Because the hole created would be bigger, double doors may cost more.

These prices don’t reflect the cost of materials or the cost of the door, which can add another couple of hundred or even thousands of dollars on top of the labor cost. Plus, because this kind of project would require some structural changes, engineers and permits may have to be involved, which can result in another additional cost. For some kitchens, adding an exterior door may not interrupt the room’s flow. However, cutting into the exterior masonry and installing a door isn’t the best option if you’re renovating on a budget.

Charlotte Gammon

By Charlotte Gammon

Meet Charlotte Gammon, our expert and author. She's our true treasure, as she has got 20+ years of experience in gardening, winery and house design. In early 2000s, she worked for magazine and was in charge of the gaardening section. Later on, Charlotte opened her own designer agency and worked as a designer and decorator. We are happy to have Charlotte with us, as she is our good friend. We value her experience and we're sure you will love the articles she created for our blog.