I think you just have to figure out what works best for you and make it happen. It sounds like you have the design all worked out. I opened the end of the bench by the door. I framed the panel that I cut out and put it back on with hinges and a catch to make a door and we use the space for extra bottled water and shoes.
I have installed some electronics in the center of my pass-thru storage for a rearview camera (described here
) so I don't need to access that area very much but I still have considered opening an access door to that area as you describe. Be sure to post some pictures, I'll be interested to see how it comes out for you.