Here's how to make your home as happy as can be with a brand new door.

Handsome Retreat
A petite woodworking shed is a new addition to the property and underscores the farmhouse effect. Meticulous details, such as copper drainpipes and the painstakingly crafted wood siding, add to its appeal.
| Credit: Photo: Alison Miksch

If a house could win a Miss Congeniality award, it would always go to the cottage with the Dutch door. There's something uncannily optimistic about these charming divided doors. Leaving the top slightly ajar is like your home's way of saying that it has a glass half-full mentality.

This year, I've been on a quest to give my own house this huge dose of happiness and I'm here to tell you that it hasn't been the easiest front door makeover to pull off. While there are resources a plenty for the common, solid front door, most Dutch doors live solidly in the hard to access world of custom designs. Determined, I did some digging of my own and I found some accessible Dutch door sources.

The Door. I went with this pre-hung, windowed top Jeld-Wen version. I knew that I was going to paint it a snappy green color so I did my homework to find an unfinished wood option which cut down significantly on cost. There are a lot of other semi-custom, made-to-order Dutch door options, but for the cost and sake of my timeline Jeld-wen was the best option for me.

The Hardware. Since the door is split in two, hardware can be tricky for those not well-versed in front door entry sets, deadbolts, and those funny looking triangle things that were showing up in all of my "dutch door hardware" google searches. Jessie Isom at Brandino Brass set me straight this morning. Opting for a stocked, pre-hung Dutch door simplified my hardware options tremendously. All I need is one knob set (Picture the round or square door knobs mounted on a small backplate, not the big and pricey handle sets that are typically found on front doors); a deadbolt; and one slide bolt that connects the top and bottom of the door so that they can close as one. The slide bolt is the easier and more updated version of that tricky triangle latch. According to Jamie, it's also far more secure. Since my door comes pre-hung and pre-drilled for hardware, I wasn't able to use some of the pricier (and more complicated) hardware companies like Frank Allart. It's lovely stuff. Take a look, but fret not! Choosy as I can be, I found two unlacquered brass options that are both attractive and feel nice and weighty in my hand (a key thing!) by Emtek and Fusion Hardware.

Jessie estimated that the all the hardware wouldn't cost more than $250 – not something to sneeze at, but something that's in my ballpark.